Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Friday, August 3, 2012

What To Do About Envy and Jealousy? Writerly or Otherwise?

Envy? Jealousy? Such ugly words. What do to about it? And we've all been there, some of us little, some of us a lot. We work hard at our craft but are getting nowhere only to keep picking up published books that we think are rubbish. Perhaps the writing is mundane, or there is no plot, or the characters are boring, or the setting falls flat. Gut reaction: how in the world did this drivel end up getting published? Simply because some gatekeeper's gut had the opposite reaction to your gut.
Mind numbing for one might be mind blowing for another.
And also the gate keeper thought that this particular book would sell. 'Thought' is the operative word here because no one really knows what in the world will sell. Vampires falling in love and solving mysteries might be a good bet but even then, really, even there who knows!!
I know. It's not fair. It's not fair at all. And because of the amount of subjectivity involved, the publishing industry is particularly unfair. And yet, whenever I come across a book I'd like to flush down the toilet, I never the less have a great respect for the author. Because. The author had the discipline to sit there and write the entire thing despite any misgivings and doubts she/he may have had. Because we all have them- first time struggling writers and veterans who don't know what to expect in this fickle publishing climate. I know the biggest cliche is write because you have to, but this is the ultimate test I pose to everyone who tells me they want to write:

Imagine you will never get published, never ever ever: Would You Still Write? 


mary glickman said...

Great blog,Sonia. In the 35 years it took before I was published, I know jealousy was something I had to deal with and move beyond and you're right! there's only one way to do that: write because you have to, because it's what you do. As soon as I stopped thinking about market and writing what pleased me,I got lucky. What does that tell you? I still envy others tho -people more talented than I, smarter than I, thinner than I - that can't be helped and maybe keeps me honest. But jealousy? Ugh. Not good.

mary glickman said...

Meant to say "and STARTED writing what pleased me". Ah, authors. Never enough proof-reading; changing stuff til the last minute and beyond! :-)

Drunk on Ink said...

Revise! Revise! Revise! :)
Lol at 'thinner'-- I have so much to say about thin and thinner! But really one can be too thin- a thin that is clearly a hallmark of disease. I'm really not the jealous, envious type, but every once in a while the unfairness of it all makes me see a horrid green.

mary glickman said...

I'd say age would get you over that, Drunk on Ink, but I have no idea how old you are. Really, think ZZZZZEN. When they said it's the journey not the destination, I think they were talking directly to artists. Nothing makes me happier than being "in the work". The rest: pre-pub, post-pub is anxiety to the max. And you can't even bitch because then folk say: Wasn't this the life you wanted all those years? Double Oi.

I was once too thin. Fell down and broke the only good tooth in my mouth.Oi. Is that why it's so hard to lose weight now?

Drunk on Ink said...

Mary- Drunk On Ink is me, Soniah! LOL. It's the name of this here blog:)very tough to not worry about anything else:(
as for weight loss-- I think conventional dietary advice is all wrong for many people i.e. cals in and out, and frenetic exercise.

mary glickman said...

Well, freak me out. Gotta get better ar readig comprehension. I've been way too thin, a bit too fat. What's interesting is how people releate to you in either condition. Young people wre nice to me when I was way too thin. I'm invisible at a bit too fat. Curious, no?

Anjali said...

Great post! I am jealous/envious all the time, but thankfully, it motivates me to work harder.

And thankfully, because of self-publishing, I'll never have to wonder whether I would write if no one else saw it...

Shikha said...

Great post, especially the question you pose at the end. We've had a lot of discussions on this, and in the end, its always one writes because they have to scratch that creative itch. I've never been too hung up on publishing, but after I lost out on being included in a very prestigious poetry anthology because of no book, it made me reconsider. That, and turning 40 ;-)

Drunk on Ink said...

Anjali- glad jealousy/envy motivates you to work harder!! What's the secret? - for so many it just drags them down :(
Shikha- the end question. Sigh. Would you still write, but what about revising? ::))