WRITER’S ENVY: EVERY WRITER GETS IT. HOW IT HAPPENS.

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jun• 11•19

Now I do have author envy and I’ll tell you about it in a minute.

In the distant past I went to writer’s conferences; international, national, regional and local. I often went to writer’s retreats where we talked about our work. I sometimes even set up conferences myself for a group of writers in my home or a local venue.  All it takes for envy to seep in is one successful writer in the group, or a chat in the lobby at a conference with an author who has ten books to your none or one. You’re not there yet so you start feeling bad, perhaps a little depressed. Next, you get all dressed up for the banquet with the featured speaker who has 50 or 100 books~all best sellers. Later perhaps you’re in the lounge for drink with your friends and roommates. You’re thinking you are less than as a writer. Your feelings start spilling out on the way home. Envy and depression set in until you have some distance from the meet. You get back to your own work with a sense of uncertainty.

I HEAR YOU

First know this: A major conference is gonna have a household name as the keynote speaker to draw writers, readers, book buyers, agents, editors and publishers to the meet. It’s nothing on you. Two. You  cannot replicate the keynote speaker’s success because he or she has been writing and producing longer.  Keep in mind those writers also had a first book before they had the second or fiftieth. They also have assistants, some have researchers, some have typists, some have a half dozen proof readers. And very often, someone is bringing in  a pay check to keep the household going while those first few books are in the works.

While under contract I still had to do all of the mommy chores. You probably do, too. I also once had to cope with a husband who wanted attention and didn’t give squat about my writing.  As an indie author I didn’t have a virtual assistant until 2019, a long seven years after I set myself up as an indie author. Learning the basic ropes took above a year. I still don’t know the tech stuff and have to hire it.  Am I envious of an author with thirty or fifty books to my ten or so? No, I am not. Here’s why: I know my limits. I also only type 30 words a minute. I’m soon to be in my eightieth decade. If I live long enough, I might publish two or three more books. Another thing I don’t do is compare my work output with another writer. I’m composing my books the way it suits me and my lifestyle. It ain’t about the number of words typed a day–it’s all about what those words say and if they move the story along.

Having read thousands of books in my lifetime, I know what a hook is. Every agent and editor is gonna tell you, you gotta have a hook to grab the reader in the first 10 seconds. Guess what: The actual hook is the book description. Write a terrific book description and your reader will stick with the story as it unfolds. I loathe those false hooks that start: Henry didn’t know it, but today was his last day on earth. I am so not interested in Henry.  I mean, golly, he’s gonna be D.E.A.D. Better hook: The killer stood on the sidewalk watching through the window as thrice-married Henry ate his last breakfast on earth. Now I’m interested in the killer and perhaps I’ll learn poor Henry had a secret life. I do know as the investigation unfolds I’m gonna meet all of his ex-wives.

So what is my writer envy? Every single author who writes about food or puts recipes in her book.  Or blogs about food with beautiful depictions of the plate in a blog.  Shame on me because in another life I was the Food and Beverage Director of a major hotel chain.  More shame, because I know food and I’ve known executive chefs. The only few tips I can offer, is once opened, such as cottage cheese,  store the container upside down in the fridge. It will last days longer.  If you burn beans or rice in a pot, boil the burnt junk with a cup of vinegar for five minutes.  And always keep a Phillips head screw driver in your cutlery drawer to tighten those loose handles on pots and pans. If a knob on a lid splits or breaks, buy a wooden drawer pull and screw that to it. Don’t forget a rubber washer between the top of the lid and the knob. Lasts for years. That’s it.

Now a treat. Just click on the OWL to claim a FREE Amazon.com gift code for an array of complimentary books from eNovel Authors I hope you will enjoy. First click gets the gift code. Help yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@Jackie Weger. Thank you for visiting. Comments Welcome. Delighted if you will add to the discussion.

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9 Comments

  1. I can’t think of a single author who doesn’t have writer’s envy. Glad you’re feeling better. The books can’t be redeemed in my country, but that’s okay. I’ve already got it. Thanks for all the help you’ve been to new writers like myself.

  2. Robyn M Ryan says:

    You nailed it, Jackie! Each author has a unique style, different writing pace, and varied experiences. Alll can suffer from writer’s envy, but it’s a distraction from your own goals. Great reminder!

    ~ Robyn

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you for commenting, Robyn. The long and short of it, is I’ve always been too busy to get involved with envy. I admire success, but have always known I had to work with what I have and the $$ in my own wallet. I don’t envy an author who is making thousands or millions because they ain’t gonna give me any of it. It’s theirs, they earned it. Part of our writing experience and success is the work ethic and what we’re willing to sacrifice to produce a book, such as dining out less often, bypassing that $5 cup of latte and avoiding impulse shopping. I oft times I don’t want to afford a new watch or a Dior nightgown as opposed to saying, “I can’t afford it.” Because I can save that $$ to buy a book service I prefer.

      I feel awful for aspiring contracted and new indie authors because they often expect instant success. That is so hard to come by.

  3. laurieboris says:

    I can relate, Jackie! I remember being so envious of writer friends whose spouses brought in the paycheck… who were getting agents and publishing deals and book tours. Then I started to realize that just because they were successful didn’t mean I couldn’t be! I still get a twinge once in a while, then I remind myself how far I’ve come.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Laurie: Your comment resonates with me. At my very first writer’s conference at a university, I was tipped off to bring soft drinks, wine, a coffee pot, decent snacks and invite the lesser speakers, agents, editors and select writers to my room as a hospitality suite. I put a sign on my door and word got around. I told writers–no pumping your ms. Here’s what I learned. Many mss are bought because a good agent or acquisition editor saw a story in the raw work. Sometimes a keen editor could shape the book, other times a ghost writer was hired. Some editors are first readers…these are super talented people. I can quote verbatim what one first reader/editor complained about the mss on her desk by a household name to this day. A good bottle of wine loosens tongues. We seldom know how many revisions a ms goes through to the final product. But, the publisher is committed and gets the job done. I also know one writer given a contract, refused revisions, the contract was cancelled and she had to return the advance. No envy there. I hope you don’t suffer it, but from now on, I hope those twinges might be arthritis.

  4. Linda Lee says:

    Great perspective and wise words, Jackie. Writing is more about meaningful content than the number of books one has penned. Everyone has a different definition of success; we need not measure ourselves by someone else’s standards.

    Thanks for the post. Shared.

  5. srmallery says:

    Perfect, Jackie! It particularly resonates with me at the moment, as someone who feels she takes forever to write a book and is tired of reading about authors who claim to write one book a month! Geesh… Thanks muchly. Will share and tweet. xo

  6. Of course we’re envious; we’re only human. But your tips on saving pots is a perfect example of the reason why every post you write is such a treat 😀

  7. P. C. Zick says:

    It’s difficult to overcome but so worth it. Thanks for writing about it.

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