Lessons Learned

How to Tame the Green-Eyed Monster

May 27, 2013

envy-insideLet’s just say, for argument’s sake, that you cringe every time you hear someone got published. Or maybe you can’t stand it when another writer is so prolific that it seems as though she farts lengthy chapters while she sleeps. Perhaps you have this love/hate relationship with your favorite author. You want to be just like him but you curse his very existence, especially when he has another best-seller on Amazon.com.

Sound familiar?

Ah, yes. We’ve all had encounters with the green eyed-monster: jealousy, envy, or dare I say…bitterness?

Jealousy falls into the insecruity zone. I often get envious when I don’t feel confident about what I can do and I focus on what other writers, authors are doing that I’m not. The problem with insecruity is that it is easy. It takes virtually little effort to look at someone else’s hard work and jump to the conclusion that he or she is better than you because of X, Y, and Z. What you forget is that person had to do HARD WORK to get where they are…and guess what? You can do it too!

Now, that requires effort.

First, you’ve got to be willing to get past your insecurities. Have confidence that you can put a few words together and articulate a feeling, a plot, or an idea. The more you do it, the more confidence you’ll get.

Second, stop looking at other writers and authors for a while. You can’t concentrate in a room full of cranky cats in heat can you? The same goes for writing while comparing yourself to umpteen other writers who are farther along in their process than you. Stop the comparison cacophony and just focus on yourself for now.

Third, watch your thoughts. You MUST be the guardian of your mind because if you’re not then you’ll be letting in all kinds of crap. Put up a screen door and only let in what will move you forward in you writing. Thoughts like, I’m stuck, I’ve only written 1,000 words today, I don’t know how to write dialogue, I don’t have any time, need to stay out for good. Whereas thoughts like, I will write from my heart, Whenever I get something out of my head an onto the paper I’ve accomplished something, I’m 1,000 words ahead of where I was before, can stay because they’ll train your mind for other good thoughts.

Fourth, give yourself the attention you gave other writers. Pat yourself on the back when you have done something like write. Just the fact that you did it is amazing. Realize that you are just as capable as anyone else on this planet on writing and completing your work. There is no magic pill. No connection to the uber muse. It’s just confidence, practice, and a stubbornness to not stop until you are done.

That’s how I tamed the green-eyed monster. And if I can do it, you can too.

Are you jealous of other writers when they accomplish something big? What one thing can you do to tame your green-eyed monster? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!


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  1. After I read one of my favorite authors I inevitably compare myself to them – and then stupid self doubt takes over EVERY SINGLE TIME. Thank you for this much needed advice!

  2. Very helpful. But you have stirred my pettifogger into life – well, his version of life.
    I reckon that envy and jealousy are different. Envy arises from one’s own feelings of lack, and is to do with hating and – keeping to basics – wanting to destroy the possessor of the envied qualities. Jealousy is hatred of a relationship from which one feels excluded.
    What do you think?

    1. LOL! We all have talents, right? I would agree with your definitions of envy and jealousy. As a writer, I think I suffer from both from time to time. Envy is obvious but with jealousy I hate the relationship a lot of successful writers have with their readers. I want that too. Do you ever feel that way?

      1. If I were a writer, I can imagine that I would envy successful ones. But I’m not. Envy is alive in me – just not that particular object. ( I’m inclined to envy the young – until I think about all life’s difficulties which they cannot foresee and have still to encounter.)

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