Lots of folks lately writing about professional jealousy. I don’t suffer from it and I’m not just saying that. Jealousy happens when you are not living up to your own expectations and having fun with your own writing. Then you start to look at other people and wonder what they’ve got that you haven’t. If you stay focused on your own writing, you don’t have this problem. Easy as that!
Of course, it’s never really quite as easy as that. Writing is such a complicated and fragile thing. Given the choice, the last thing we would do is commercialise and monetise something so fundamental to our wellbeing. It’s a skewiff, wonky old world, and if you get wound up from time to time it’s hardly surprising. In fact, it would be bizarre if you didn’t. A lot of writers are a bit bonkers in the noo noo and that’s to be expected.
But. There are things worth getting worked up about, and then there are other things. How well or badly another writer is doing falls firmly into the category of ‘other things’. It’s a waste of time and energy and creativity we could be directing towards our work.
Writers don’t always like one another, for a variety of reasons, but we at least ought to aim for mutual support and appreciation wherever possible. Indulging in jealousy, rivalry, and competition is negative and counter-productive. Far better to make friends with people who may be able to help you out someday, than to be a git to someone who could one day be in a position to crush you underfoot. And there’s simply no point in wasting time fuming about another writer’s success when you could be sitting down and getting on with your own work. Innit.