Friday, February 8, 2013

Writer's Envy

I have a third cousin who looks exactly like me, except he is younger and thinner. Did I mention that he also has an Emmy award for writing? Writing is a profession that can lead to envy, but we all need to get over it as quickly as possible.

No, I don't know why the receptionist in your office is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, rather than my darkly comic legal thriller or your southwestern science fiction romance. I do know that that asking her, "How can you read that crap?" is not going to help advance the book industry.

We need to concentrate on our own craft rather than expend energy on worrying about others. I submitted the same first twenty pages of a novel to three different contests, and it didn't place. I showed it to professional editor who told me that perhaps those first twenty pages would be more exciting if someone was following the main characters as they went to seemingly random places. I thought about that and realized that she was right. I added three paragraphs and four lines of dialogue, and voila the book is coming out next week.

In these days of declining literacy, every book is a potential loss leader for the industry. It's like the washing machine that Sears sells under cost, in order to get the consumer inside the store to buy underwear. The receptionist reading Fifty Shades of Grey, is reading at least as opposed to playing on Facebook over the lunch hour. That means there's a chance that the next book they read will indeed be my darkly comic legal thriller or your southwestern science fiction romance. If they aren't reading at all, there's reading could indeed be lost forever. As long as people are reading, we all benefit.

Just because you envy someone, doesn't mean that they are happy. My cousin the Emmy award winner soon got divorced. Another writer who I had also admired had the same thing happen to him. Just because someone has achieved literary success, doesn't mean that they have life success.

So, let's all be positive, and concentrate on the craft rather than base emotions. If you work hard, someday, somewhere, someone will be envious of you!


  1. H. Beam Piper who wrote Little Fuzzy and a bunch of really great books committed suicide facing financial ruin. The list of great authors like Robert E. Howard of Conan fame, Earnest Hemingway and others is really long and very sad.

    1. I think we all want to be on that list...However, the "Three Cups of Tea" guy just checked out, so perhaps it's just as well.