We have all heard of the saying, “Grass is greener on the other side of the fence”. As writers, we toil away at our computer, struggling to find the right words, to create dynamic characters and a plot that keeps the pages turning, but it falls flat. Then we happen to notice all the great books hailed on the New York Times bestseller list or someone we know lands their first book contract. And then we get stuck. Sometimes we throw a pity party…other times we get a little visit from the green eyed monster.
Turn envy into energy and more words
In the Art of War for Writers this week, Bell includes several paragraphs from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird on the topic of jealousy. I loved her voice in this piece. I think I’ll have to check out her book. She points out the three sides of envy.
- Positive: You are not zombie
- Negative: It messes with your head and it can keep you from being productive
- Poisonous: “an undeserved attack on another person”
When, somewhere, somehow, we’ve lost our focus and all we can see is the rich, green grass on the other side of the fence, we have to remind ourselves how the grass gets so green in the first place. Hard work, time, effort, watering, sunshine & loads of poop. You know, that smelly stuff that helps things grow. The ol’ fertilizer of the times past. I digress. 🙂
Several years ago I was throwing my biannual pity party, or maybe it was a little more like quarterly then, and I remember being discouraged. My ignorant brain thought I was supposed to create a masterpiece without all that hard work and gnashing of teeth. Maybe there was something wrong with me, maybe I didn’t have the talent. Maybe if I had what all those other people had like…luck? And then I had this news flash. Duh! When we look at those published novels, we don’t know the amount of effort, time, and tears that went into getting it like that. It’s so easy to look at another’s progress and become jealous, because we are not where we think we should be. We got to let go of the “shoulds” in our life and just be. Do. When I find myself struggling with a tad bit of envy, I have to step back and readjust my lens. I need to focus on the path before me, my priorities and goals, and not worry about missed opportunities or the next person who is doing what I want to do. Be faithful in the little things and we will be trusted with bigger things. If you get a chance check out Rachelle Gardner’s post on the Green-Eyed Monster. It’s a little refreshing to know we’re not alone in our envy.
“Do not waste the remainder of thy life in thoughts about what other people are doing.” ~Marcus Aurelius
So, what say you?