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Envy and the Writer

Envy and the WriterI’ll be honest. I’ve met the beast called envy. Have you? Envy can strike anywhere, any time, and a savvy writer will be prepared to do battle with it. Here are a few scenarios:

You and another blogger start your blogs at the same time with similar focus. Theirs takes off and thrives while yours languishes.

You and another author publish at the same time in the same genre. They are at 75 reviews a month later while you are still struggling for 10.

You’ve worked on a difficult passage all day, go to writer’s group, and read the amazing, polished prose of another member.

Envy can find us even when we are content. I think, for today’s writer, it is the footprint of the scarcity mindset, but even adherents to the abundance school of thought can find themselves face to face with envy.

Remind yourself that we all walk different paths and things will happen for each of us at different times.

Put blinders on. Commit to non-comparison. Set clear and attainable goals and don’t look up from them.

Remember that things are rarely equal. Genre, style, voice, and trends are all factors in gaining traction with books, blogs, or any other form of online life. It takes time to find your readers.

Learn from others who are doing well. Be happy for them and know that your turn will come.

Understand it’s a normal human reaction. Acknowledge it, deal with it, and move on.

One of the things I like best about the indie community is the high level of support for other authors, the willingness to collaborate or combine efforts, to recommend each other’s books, and the general belief that there are more than enough readers for all of us (and they read far faster than we can all write). In other words, we aren’t competing with each other.

That helps combat envy like nothing else.

We’re human. We’re going to experience it at some point. Be gentle with yourself but tough on envy. Then get back to work.


What is your most effective method for dealing with feelings of envy?

7 thoughts on “Envy and the Writer

  1. Heh heh, envy is most certainly a four letter word 😉 I think you are right Robyn, this is one case where being stubborn and putting the blinders on really does help.

    And when that doesn’t work, I call upon the words of a wise doctor:

    “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Suess

    I remind myself that whether I have one comment or 42, whether there is a single reader who consumes my offerings or hundreds, I am the only one who can write what I write, and that is sometimes exactly what I need to keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other – for the pure and unadulterated love of writing 🙂

  2. Aaah…I land in my Inbox and the Universe leads me to this ah-mazing post! As a chronic sufferer of envy, your message will help keep me grounded today! #HUGSSS

    Thank you, Robyn

    LOVE you

  3. THANK YOU FOR THIS! And it came at just right time. This line in particular spoke to me: “Put blinders on. Commit to non-comparison. Set clear and attainable goals and don’t look up from them.”

    I know this to be true – and I write about it all the time – and yet I have such a hard time putting it into practice.

  4. Terrific, Robyn. Envy and its evil twin, Jealousy, hurt writers. You’re doing the work and it WILL pay off. However, I know writers who envy and complain about other writers’ success, but aren’t doing anything to make it happen.

    BIG difference.

  5. Oh yes, I deal with envy all the time. I have a friend who is also a writer and she is doing very well. I am happy for her. But I also wish I had what she has. I just keep telling myself that I have to keep working and maybe one day things will work out for me too.

  6. Thanks for the reminder. It’s hard to not compare ourselves to others, but not doing so sure helps peace of mind. (Happened upon your post from a Twitter account – can’t remember the source – but glad I did!)

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