Of course, there’s another kind of green eyes that isn’t so rare–the green eyes of that monster called jealousy. Now, I know I’m poking around in a touchy topic. Jealousy is, well, it’s embarrassing. It makes us feel small, immature and vulnerable. Nothing pretty about that.
Jealousy is an especially sensitive issue among children’s writers. It’s been my experience that we are an exceptionally supportive bunch. We’re not “supposed” to be jealous of one another. But if we’re honest with each other and ourselves, jealousy happens to all of us, me included.
I can’t for a second claim I’ve got a permanent muzzle on my own green-eyed monster, but maybe some of these observations will be helpful to you. Well, I mean, not you, but maybe that jealous, less mature “friend” who needs this advise.
It’s not that you want the other authors to be unsuccessful. It’s just that you want to be successful too. Isn’t that it? Other authors have worked hard and deserve to be recognized. And you darn well know it. The miserable part is waiting and believing your turn is coming, the same way those other (blankity-blank) people believed, and worked and waited.
I used to think that it was only unpublished writers who felt jealous–you know, jealous of those who were being published. But I’ve since learned that’s not the case. Published authors can still be jealous of other authors for having higher Amazon rankings, better book deals, more agent attention, cooler awards or accolades and on and on. The lesson? If you opt to stay on the jealousy train, it’s gonna be a long ride.
Cut yourself some slack if you feel jealous of celebrity authors. I consider this a kind of jealousy loophole. While there are a thimbleful of celebs who can truly write for children, it’s clear that most are relying on their name to sell books. Instead of feeling jealous, I try to console myself with the idea that celebs help to keep publishers afloat, and if those publishers have a healthier bottom line, maybe they’ll have a little extra cash to take chances with lesser knowns like me. (That’s my theory anyway.)
Try to avoid the “why not me?” sink hole. A brain wrapped in layers of green goo can spit out some pretty skewed thinking. For example, we want to attribute someone else’s success to nothing more than luck. Now, luck may have played a role, but it’s likely the object of your jealousy had been working for years so that when fate/luck/happenstance happened, they were ready to take advantage of the opportunity. (Hmm. That was pretty smart of them, wasn’t it?)
Let me challenge you to churn that jealousy into motivation. Rather than let your jealousy sap your creative energy, let it ramp up your focus, drive and productivity. C’mon kid. Dig deep, quit whimpering and create something to provoke jealousy in someone else.
And hey, wait up. I’ll join you!
You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars. ~ Gary Allan