ENVY AMONGST WRITERS

· When the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head ·

October 5, 2017 0 Comments

It’s no secret at all, writing is an awfully lonely and extremely challenging endeavour. It demands incontestable commitment and dedication coupled with hours of frustration to bring together thousands of small, contained words that form sentences which frequently end up collapsing on top of each other. Paragraphs barely ever go as planned and words disappear from your mind the moment you are finally motivated to sit down and dedicate a few hours to writing.

Writers are immensely competitive and even though it’s an established fact that writing communities can be enormously supportive and crucial to any writer, there is and will always be underlying tension amongst writers. It is an undisputed fact that publishing contracts will not be made available to EVERY single writer who is devoted to and enthusiastic about getting the next best seller out there. In our modern era, platforms are readily available to just about any writer since standard practises in the past have changed so drastically that anybody can write a book and self-publish it with an effective and affordable print-on-demand system in place. But, this too, has paved the way for truly appalling writing. It has taken away the anticipation and excitement of enjoying a decently written book. Good books are now getting lost underneath the dreadful ones since self-published books are flooding the market, thus creating tension and bitterness amongst writers.

Writing communities are established primarily to support writers in their endeavour to get out the book they had been working on and writing for years. Along with thousands of others, I too, was seduced into joining a handful of online author communities in an effort to increase and improve on my writing skills. Unfortunately, envy amongst writers seem to make way for irrefutable tension amongst community members. Writers are ego-driven and extremely emotional. Envy is rampant amongst writers and it makes absolutely no difference as to whether one is starting out or whether one has mastered his writing skills. Writers are brutal to a point where “newer” writers tend to withdraw from the groups that were initially designed to provide much-needed assistance for them. It is a known and accepted fact that a good writer MUST be fluent in his or her chosen language. They must possess the know-how and aptitude to construct sentences in a satisfactory manner. Unfortunately, when writers pose questions on any aspect of writing, they are blasted for their lack of expertise and blatantly criticized for their poor writing skills. Most resentful writers refuse to concede to their emotions. They are ashamed to acknowledge that the green-eyed monster had reared its ugliness. Is it perhaps because the accomplished writer demands nothing less than perfection from the next writer? Or could it be possible that a writer’s success may be threatened by another writer which leaves them feeling as failures and entirely worthless at the same time?

It is generally an extremely bitter pill to swallow when other writers diminish something that we have worked extremely hard on. More than anything else, bewilderment typically overwhelms us once our work is discarded as nothing more than junk. It is important to consider the fact that envy can also mean that you have succeeded in accomplishing something that could pose a threat to someone else’s success. Writers are ALL different in the way they write and what their chosen niche is. There will ALWAYS be a far superior writer lurking around the next corner. Criticism born from pure envy can be viewed as a fierce and necessary motivator. If we never compare our work to other writers, we will never improve as writers.

Envy amongst writers frequently comes from another writer who believes that someone has achieved certain success that was in no way at all, warranted or deserving. It is a tremendously competitive industry when we consider the reality that there are only a handful of traditional publishing contracts available for a selected few. At the same time, we write in the shadows of really great and accomplished authors. Authors that have firmly established themselves in the industry and are continuously bringing new books into the market as though they have an endless supply available at the drop of a hat. It is extremely daunting for any newer writer who is committed to establishing him or herself in this fast-paced industry. Established authors could no longer be bothered by all the nitty-gritty of the industry … they’ve “made it.” They now have the time and the money to write as it pleases them. They have gained an adequate amount of experience throughout the years to finally appreciate their target audience while the simple appearance of their names on their book covers inevitably sell their books.

Emerging writers are initially eager and thrilled to “hit the scene” as they carefully devise tactics and clever little schemes to find their place amongst other writers. It is almost as though the wind gets taken out of their sails when they realize that there is no black or white in a system that often cruelly exploits their hard work while crushing their dreams in the process. Writer groups are meant to assist and support ANY writer, new or established, but instead, they recklessly insult and discourage other writers who are desperate for guidance. These same groups advertise that they are there to help writers build a target audience, instead, it frequently ends in a vicious battle between writers.

The important thing to remember is that it has all been said before, just not the way you intend to say it. Write because its fuelled by passion; write because you have so much going on in your head that you MUST give life to the stories that have been occupying and invading your mind. Write, because you MUST. Write because nothing else makes sense if you don’t. Let the story take over and lead you as you begin your journey. Write that book and discard the work of any other writer who came before you. Ask for help when you need it, you may. Write because you MUST and ignore any criticism or opinion that is formed from envy. Learn to identify the difference between constructive criticism and good old-fashioned jealousy. Write, because that is who you are. Create your own little world and live there while you tell your story. Abandon those who wish to see you fail. Dream of holding your book in your hands and be proud of all that you have accomplished, whether or not your work is picked up by a fancy publishing house. Write, because you MUST.

Alice VL

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