No matter how much one tries to hide it, we all have a jealous side. If someone tries to convince you that they don’t have a jealous bone in their body… Well, to put it blunt, they’re delusional. No one is immune to the green-eyed monster. As I meet more and more fellow writers, I’ve come to the conclusion that envy is a fickled emotion.
I’m surrounded by published authors. Granted, they’re all self-pubbed, but still… When I see their printed books in their hands, it’s never long before the green-eyed monster comes to town. I could have my book published too. In fact, I would have had it published a long time ago, if I had chosen the self-pubbed road, but I chose the traditional road of queries and agents for a reason. Almost every single one of my friends who are self-pubbed complain about the same thing: that they aren’t making any sales, that they have no idea how to go about marketing their books.
When I hear these comments, my envious streak quiets down for a while. Marketing scares me entirely. At least with the traditional path, I’ll have the guidance from professionals on what to do to help promote my book(s).
Then Jealousy’s cousin comes for a visit: Self-Doubt. What if I don’t have what it takes to write something that will actually sell? I’ve put so much into this venture, but did I make the right choice?
I gave up on a career in research to follow my passion and dreams, to become a full-time writer and freelance editor. I have found myself working on some amazing stories that I can’t wait to see published, but constantly sitting behind me is the green-eyed monster and its self-doubt cousin, ready to lurch when I least expect it.
On this journey toward publication, I have managed to meet some amazing people, some of whom I’m proud to call friends. We’re there to support one another through this emotional roller-coaster that is the publishing industry. When one of us gets a request for more materials, I’m right there with them celebrating. But I’m also wielding a bat, trying to beat down the green-eyed monster — and failing. And when a client informs me that they’ve gotten requests for fulls, after completing the latest round of edits based on my recommendations… That green-eyed monster doesn’t just sit there waiting to pounce; it grabs me by the throat and pulls me from my chair.
Why can’t that be me? Oh, that’s right… It’s not me, because I haven’t finished my own manuscript yet; I have yet to send out a query. And there he is again — Self-Doubt. Do I have what it takes to actually finish this manuscript and make it shine like a precious gem?
A friend of mine has rightly pointed out that if my clients are getting requests for partials and fulls after completing edits based on my suggestions, then it must mean that I’m a good editor. Testimonials from clients tell me that I have a good eye for a story. That reasoning does make me feel better, but it still doesn’t entirely keep the green-eyed monster or self-doubt at bay.
But Jealousy is a multi-headed beast. I have had one of those already published writers, whom I’m envious of, tell me that they wished they hadn’t been in such a rush to become published. They wish they had stuck it out on the traditional publication road like me. And there are others who have told me that they envy the fact that I have “quit my day job” to become a full-time writer and editor. And there are others still that wish they could have the life I lead, complete with the two screaming teenagers in the background. (However, when my daughter starts in on one of her famed tantrums, my friends quickly backtrack and say that they don’t envy me at all. Instead, they just tell me to breathe.)
No doubt, as I continue down this road toward publication, I will have many visits from Jealousy and Self-Doubt. I just have to keep reminding myself that anything worth having takes time, effort and a lot of hard work.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2016