Today's quote comes from Carrie Vaughn, author of the critically acclaimed werewolf series, Kitty Takes a Holiday, Kitty Goes to Washington, Kitty and the Midnight Hour, and Kitty and the Silver Bullett.
Years ago, I read a book by Bonnie Friedman. That book was Writing Past Dark: envy, fear, distraction, and other dilemmas in the writer's life. Unfortunately, I don't have it on my shelves, and the library's one copy is out on loan. But I can still recall that "aha" I had at Friedman's honesty. Is there a writer alive who hasn't been, at one time or another, envious of the another writer's success? I've envied famous writers, as well as members of my critique group. I've imagined what it would be like to have adulation and acclaim--or even just a publishing contract."Don't compare yourself to others. There will always be someone who writes faster, or slower, or gets a bigger advance, or better advertising. Everyone's career and writing process is a little different. Follow your own path."
Envy is a drag. It's a sin against belief in an abundant universe. It is exquisitely toxic and can drive you mad. But, if you follow Carrie Vaughn's advice to "follow your own path," and use envy not as a scourge but as a spur, you can do the one thing that all writers must do: work harder.
Envy ("invidia") is one of the Catholic church's Seven Deadly Sins. Its opposite virtue is kindness. If you find yourself feeling envious, perhaps the best thing is to be kind to yourself. We are all on different paths.
What do you do to combat "writer's envy?" I'd love to hear your strategies.