How NOT to Be Jealous of Other Writers

I’m going to write something that makes me very uncomfortable to admit but it’s very true. I used to be very jealous of my husband, Brendan Hay, and his writing success. I couldn’t be happy for his success because I thought I would never succeed. He’s a TV writer, who has written on The Daily Show, Simpsons, Robot Chicken, etc. When we would go to parties, people would “ooh” and “aah” over what he worked on.

When they would ask me, I would mumble, “I’m a writer too.”
“What do you write?”
“Plays, some magazine articles.”
“Anything I would’ve read?”
That’s when my self-esteem would plummet. My plays were never published and my magazine articles were some pieces I had written online.

What I’m trying to say is that many times as a writer, or as a creative in general, you compare yourself to who is around you. Friends, writers you admire, famous authors, your own husband. It can get you down. If you let it.

The day that I started working on what I wanted to do, write for magazines and revise my young adult novel, is the day I stopped comparing myself to Brendan. The day that I stopped thinking, “Why am I not successful?” and started thinking instead, “What do I love to write?” that’s when things changed.

I pinpointed what I wanted. Wrote it down, then pursued it. Instead of being upset every time Brendan succeeded, I was happy for him.

It’s easy to feel bad about yourself as a writer. Every time a magazine pitch or a play of mine was rejected I used to sulk about it. I thought it was a sign that I shouldn’t be a writer. Now, I realize that I’ll get rejected many more times than I get accepted. That’s just part of being a writer.

Stop comparing yourself to Joe Smith or Susie Somebody. You are unique. You have your own voice. Your own things to say.

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I share what I do every year to set those writing/career goals and how I achieve them!

Until then, write on!

16 Comments on “How NOT to Be Jealous of Other Writers

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention How NOT to Be Jealous of Other Writers « Typecraft -- Topsy.com

  2. Lovely, lovely. Thank you for your honesty. Yes jealousy creeps in once in a while and I guess you can’t help it. But that is great advice, that’s what I always do, instead of moaning about someone else’s success I focus on how to make the conditions for mine. Very true.

    • Thank you Ollin! Appreciate the feedback and for always writing such thoughtful comments to my posts. It’s easy to slip into the green-eyed monster but better to just focus on yourself.

  3. I think this post comes from your heart and it says so much about what a wonderful, honest, funny and smart woman you are. I believe you’re a very talented writer, with lots of great ideas and enthusiasm, and you’re much better looking than Brendan! 🙂 What’s up with the comparison with Susie anyways?
    Susie Cegarra

  4. Thanks for this post, Jennifer! It’s so important not to compare our journey to someone else’s, and your advice about focussing on what we love to write (and then writing that!) is right on the mark. 🙂

    • Thanks Abby! I think it’s easy for us to look at somebody’s career and envy them, but somewhere someone is envying your career. All we need to care about is what we’re doing and achieving. And you are lovely as well.

    • I believe Abby said “lifted me slightly” since she’s very tall and we all know Jenn, as cute as she is, is still shorter than Abby 🙂
      I like the comparison with “Bill somebody” better than “Susie somebody”.
      You ladies, busy thinking of somebody’s jobs, are missing big time on working on a “real office”, finally. Miss you both!

      • Haha. I just haven’t found high heels tall enough to compete with Abby. And we miss you too Susie Q. But I bet you don’t miss us stealing your chocolate.

  5. “You are unique. You have your own voice. Your own things to say.”

    As true as this is, and as many times as someone might tell you this, I find it takes a long time to learn. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    • Thanks for reading Phoebe! That one sentence there is something that took me about my whole writing life to learn. I have to remind myself continually that I am my own voice, and to trust myself. So thank you for reminding me that it takes a long time to learn.

  6. What a wonderful post, and so true. I really admire your approach to your writing career–to pinpoint what you want and then figure out how to get there. I think most people can identify with the jealousy part, but how many people actually decide to do something about it!? Your honesty and your dedication are incredibly inspiring.

    • Thank you Lara! Some times it’s hard to admit the jealousy but once you do and move on, you can focus on yourself. Thank you for reading and writing such a thoughtful comment. I hope readers are inspired to find what they truly love and pursue it.

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