Hey, Jealousy

I may be revealing WAY too much of myself here, but I think this is a topic too often shied away from.

Last night we watched Amadeus for the first time in years, and I found myself identifying, rather uncomfortably, with Salieri. Okay, so I’m not ready to burn other people’s creations or challenge God over it, but this week, particularly, I can understand his frustration, his “Why not me?” attitude.

Like Salieri, I’m not without my own successes, even on the day I heard the news that had me wanting to beat my head against the wall. Some days it’s just hard for me to see when someone else is making multiple sales.

Like Salieri, it’s one person whose success digs under my skin. It’s not that she isn’t deserving, because she works damn hard. And she may want it even more than I do, though that doesn’t seem possible. But she hasn't been at this as long as I have, and it just doesn't seem fair (I know, I know, I tell my kids, "Who promised you fair?")

Like Salieri, what rankles more than that person’s success is the adulation she gets from others. I don’t know why that bugs me more than the rest.

If I don’t watch myself, I’ll end up Salieri, known for nothing but bitterness and jealousy, my successes long forgotten. Most days it doesn’t bother me. But this week….

I don’t even deserve a picture of Gerry.

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Anonymous said...


Paula said...

I can sympathize, Mary. Jealousy is a natural human emotion, and the fact that you're able to recognize it in yourself and deal with it rationally puts you ahead of about, oh, 80% of the rest of us. ;)

I'm highly competitive by nature, so when a certain chapter mate of mine was racking up the contest wins going and coming, I decided that rather than stew in envy, I'd put my stuff out there, too. I started entering contests and eventually finaling in them and winning them. One of the contests led directly to my first sale.

So rather than beat yourself up (or deny yourself Gerry, heaven forbid!), just channel that envy into energy. Write a few extra pages on your WIP. Brainstorm a new book idea. You know as well as I do that you're close, close, close to that sale, and when you finally do sell, I have no doubt that you'll be selling books two and three at a time.

Frankly, I'm envious of your output. I'm a snail by comparison. Now I have to go channel that envy into something constructive, darn it.


Stacy Dawn said...

Oh yeah, I know what you mean. Then I start feeling guilty for being that way and quickly proceed to count my blessings. This usually takes me out of the green monster and more thankful than before.

April said...


I have to say at least you know and acknowledge that this is happening.

I think we ALL do this from time to time. I have a certain writer friend in my life who is an absolutely fabulous writer. Very prolific, very talented, and she is getting published a LOT in the e-markets. A market I don't even have a desire to go on at this time, but I still feel jealousy creep up. It's silly really, I know that. But it happens and I can't change it.

I think it's perfectly normal , as long as we acknowledge it and don't let it rule us. And as long as we keep it in check and remain kind LOL

Trish Milburn said...

I really don't have anything to add since the others have given you wonderful advice and comments other than I know how you feel. I think every single writer has that one person who, for whatever reason, where we're fixated on their career, their successes, and we feel jealousy that we don't normally toward others. I think a lot of it comes from that part of us that feels like we're worked harder, worked longer, etc. But Like the others said, if you recognize it and deal with it, you're so far above and beyond the people who let the jealousy eat away at them and can't enjoy their own successes.

Anonymous said...

(((((Mar))))) You are human, dear one. As are we all. I'm happy with where I am and what I've achieved...but that doesn't stop me from time to time thinking green thoughts. Be kind to yourself, Mar...then back to work on that heckuva great ms.

BTW...you've got an agent. I don't have one! You have someone who already SEES that you have it going, and believes in that enough to take you as a client. It's a proof that I think you shouldn't forget.


Shesawriter said...


Like everyone else has said, at least you recognize it. Some people don't even know they do this. So you're ahead of the game. Whenever I begin to even feel a fraction of it, I withdraw. Most of my green feelings are turned inward. Not necessarily directed at the person as much as they're directed at me for not doing something right, or not being as talented or as lucky and fortunate. I'm weird that way, I guess. But then women in general are very hard on themselves as a rule.

Remember this: Nothing happens for nothing. Everything happens for a reason. I like to think I'm in control of my life, but I also have faith that there is Somebody else in control and He's the ultimate puppet master. :-) Sometimes that's a comfort, and others times it's damned frustrating. :-)


MJFredrick said...

Wow, you know, I was very nervous about posting this. Even though I know it's commonplace - I've had grousing sessions with other writers (and sometimes I find it odd who they're jealous of) - but I know it's not something people like to admit. I was almost expecting "there, there" kinds of posts, and I'm glad I didn't get any ;)

Paula, actually, when this person came on the scene, she was also finalling in a LOT of contests, and I said, well, damn, I've been doing this longer, I'm as good as she is, so the competition did push me in the right direction. LOL on being envious of my production. Actually, this year I only wrote one new book. Did a LOT of revisions, though.

Stacy, you're right about counting your blessings. What a great way out of a funk.

April, I know just what you mean. There seemed to be a lot of sales in the blogosphere to an epub the past couple of weeks, and while I don't see that as the best route for me (I don't think my books are something people would come to epublishing for), I still felt that niggle.

Trish, interesting thought about every writer having that ONE writer we compare ourselves to. I wonder if that's true.

Tanya, I think a lot of my stuff is turned in on myself too. Like if I'd worked harder, taken this more seriously, that could be me with her successes, and that may be part of what drives me now, makes me afraid of missing a single opportunity.

JoAnn, thanks for being my cheerleader as always. You've already gotten quite the earful!

Anonymous said...

{{{Mary}}} And I think you're normal. Admitting the jealousy just makes you human. :-)

Gina Black said...

Late to the party here...

The thing is...when I've been jealous (it always takes me a while to realize) I don't really want what that other person has, be it their success or their house or their job or whatever...I want my version of it. And what that usually means is that there is something lacking in my life that is attainable that I'm not focused on. Somehow I'm denying myself of something I need and want.

Once I've figured that one out I'm back to being okay again.

Hope this makes sense. I haven't had my tea yet. ;)

Stephanie Feagan said...

It's across the board, Mary. I recently joined a list of published authors, many of them well known names (and yes, it's intimidating) and someone posted a comment about reading RT, and how lousy she always feels after looking at it each month. I was astonished at the number of people who said they never, ever pick it up, that it's poison to any author because from the look of things in RT, everyone else is selling like gangbusters, uber-popular, stinkin' rich...

I'm talking about some writers we've been reading for ages - said they won't look at RT, sometimes not even to read their own reviews, because it leaves them feeling so inadequate.

I think that's the feeling you have, more than actual jealousy. You feel inadequate, wondering what you're doing wrong, what she's doing right, and why you can't catch a break when it appears she's caught all of them.

Every single writer feels jealousy, in some form or another. Whether it's inadequacy, or competition, or plain old envy, it bites us all.

No way should you apologize for that, or feel guilty. It's part of what keeps you in the game! Now go kick some ass, girlfriend!!!


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