Why Envy Will Keep Us From Writing

By on November 16, 2015
Why Envy Will Keep Us From Writing - Writer's Life.org

There are many reasons writers don’t write. We procrastinate, worry, or seem to run out of things to say. However one reason that perhaps is less common than these is envy. Many writers suffer from writers envy, and when the green-eyed monster strikes we perhaps, at the time, don’t realise just how negative its effect can be. Envy is an unpleasant trait under any circumstances, but if we let writers envy consume us it can actually stop us writing altogether. So why will envy keep us from writing, and what can we do to change it?

Understanding why

The first step towards taking control of your jealous feelings and using them to your advantage is to understand why you feel that way in the first place. It is difficult to admit that you are feeling jealous - it is an ugly emotion. But if you can then you can start to understand what catalysed it in the first place. Jealousy usually springs from our own anxiety, and a sense of uncomfortableness in our own skin. We are jealous of others because we believe they have done better than us, so it is our own shortcomings that are the problem, rather than their success. Concentrating on our own goals, working on them and striving for our own success is far more productive then angrily moaning about someone who has already got there.

Accept it, and use it

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If you catch yourself feeling jealous then explore it a little further. You are jealous of the success of one of your peers? OK that’s fine. Instead of beating yourself up about it and allowing it to slow you down, use it as motivation to do better, and learn from it. What did that person do to achieve their success, was it hard work or luck? If it was the latter you might just have to accept that some people do just get lucky. It is not ‘unfair’ it is just life - how about the hard work route? Believe it or not that works for people too! If you want it enough and have a positive attitude there is no reason why you shouldn't achieve all of your goals.

Be gracious

If you are jealous of someone else's achievements, congratulate them. You may secretly be thinking, ‘why them and not me?’ but going up and talking to that person might just answer that question. It is easy to create a false persona to fit around those we are jealous of, we tend not to like them for no other reason than they have achieved something that we also want to achieve. Making them into an actual human being by talking to them makes it harder to do this, and you may end up feeling genuinely happy for them after all. 

Have no fear

People can end up rather afraid of their jealousy, which can mean they avoid situations where chances of feeling that way are high. You might find yourself suddenly too busy to go to that writers group you used to enjoy so much. You might even get yourself so worked up because of jealous emotions that you feel you may as well give up writing forever. Whatever you do, don’t let jealousy win.

The thing to remember is that jealousy happens to us all. You are not a bad person if you feel envious of someone else’s achievements,  it means you have ambition. Just remember it is how you handle your jealousy that counts, so learn to live with it and use it, and if you can’t do that, then simply let it go.

Bethany Cadman -contributor

Bethany Cadman -contributor

About Bethany Cadman

Bethany Cadman is an author and freelance writer. Her highly anticipated debut novel 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers' is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback. You can find it here - http://tinyurl.com/z47t8qf

3 Comments

  1. Pamela

    June 25, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    hey Bethany,
    I really enjoy your articles in the writer’s life. Some things I hadn’t even thought of…at least I know what to look out for . Thanks Bethany!
    Pam Hall

  2. Darren Michael Thompson

    February 20, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I am glad that you approached this topic because it is the one thing that I always guard against. I was telling a colleague just the other day that I have to be careful because it is said that writers read – well, I don’t! Understand, I used to be a highly productive reader – but then stopped because when I found a book that I could not put down, it took me into the depths of my own despair. Instead of getting rid of my book collection, I began to read them differently – not allowing myself the pleasure of indulging in the character – but skimming instead; studying the author’s technique and honing in on things like dialogue and transitions, tense and voice. I only take snippets and ‘read’ when I am looking for something specific. In this way, I am able to transcend envy into something more useful but am always on guard.

  3. Brian

    July 22, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    “…not to like them for no other reason then …”
    “You might even get yourself so worked up because jealous emotions that you feel you may as well give up writing forever.”

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