Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Unseemly Jealousy

I am absolutely green with envy at the moment. Green, I tell you! I'm listening to Joshilyn Jackson's A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty while I'm driving all over hell and back in northern California. It is so good that it's making me almost seethe. It's funny and smart and absorbing and so full of emotion and love that it's nearly overwhelming.

Not only is it flipping' fantastic, she's reading it and doing an awesome job. Some people have too much talent.

This is exactly EXACTLY the kind of book I want to write next. I am so jealous that she is already.

Professional jealousy is a topic that comes up on occasion in writers groups. It can be a really destructive force. In this case, I'm really hoping it's a positive one. I don't want anything bad to befall Joshilyn. In fact, I want her to keep writing so I can keep listening and reading. What I want is to take this book, rip it apart into little tiny pieces and figure out how she did what she did so that I can do it, too.

So anybody you're jealous of? Has it been a good thing or a bad thing?

P.S. Maureen, look at me getting the paragraph breaks in their correctly like a big girl!!!!


Stephanie Doyle said...

I am jealous every day as a writer! And happy to be so because it means two things - there are people out there writing better than I am - which makes me a happy reader.

And because these people out there who are smarter and more talented - and I want to be them - they make me work harder.

Jealousy and competativeness are usually taboo words in writing. And in the wrong connotation can be icky. If you know someone on the bestseller list - and you're jealous of that - no good. If you're competing with someone to sell more books - no good. Those things like numbers and money are out of your control.

But if you want to compete to work harder, writer better and push yourself creatively - that's just good for everyone.

Sorry - rambling now. Didn't sleep and don't feel like working today.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Eileen I am professionally jealous of your ability to get paragraph breaks in!!!

Professional jealousy can either motivate you or eat you alive and every day it could go either way.

That book sounds awesome, Eileen, I'm adding it to my list!!

Eileen said...

Exactly, Steph! I want to be that good. I don't want her not to be good.

Like I'm sure Molly doesn't want me not to have paragraph breaks. She just wants to have them, too!

Maureen McGowan said...

Aw, look at the paragraph breaks. You're all growed up. ;)

And I so get what you're saying. The jealousy can come from lots of different places and when we feel it, we can take it different places.

I've been jealous of better writing, worse writing yielding more success, whatever kind of writing getting more recognition... Lots of things.

I think the trick is not to let ourselves get bitter, but to find a way to shrug it off if it's something we can't control, and to work harder if the jealousy comes from thinking someone's doing better work.

For me, sometimes when I read a really great book, so good that it baffles me how they did it... I just want to curl into a little ball and quit. But then it passes. ;)

Eileen said...

Ah, the bitter. That's when it gets bad. I do think it comes from books we think are not well-written having huge success. Or, at least, that's one place.

So far Joshilyn isn't making me bitter. I did have a little bit of the "curl into a ball" moment with it, but decided to turn it around.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Maureen, I can be jealous of better writing, or worse writing getting more success, but in the end, I hope I can brush it off...

At least I try to...

Stephanie Doyle said...

See I think it's mind boggling when worse writing meets with the success - but I don't think we're jealous.

While sure the money is great - I think it's more about trying to figure out whatever the magic is so we can you know... steal it.

Stealing... another taboo word in writing!

Anonymous said...

Well, I sometimes read something so well-written and I so wished I had written it but I know I couldn't write it in a million years and so then I just feel drained and figure, why bother? So, not sure that's jealousy... but there are other books I've read that I wished I'd written and try my darndest to write them. That's when I might be jealous - when I think I have a shot at writing it.

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