Friday, June 12, 2009

Probably preaching to the choir here...

Something happened this past week that made me think back a few years. Had a good writer friend who was part of a big group where nearly everyone in it had made their first sale...then the next five or ten or however many. Anyway, they were all good writers, but her star shone just a bit brighter than everyone else's. She wasn't aware of the back-stabbing going on (or maybe she was and just had the good taste and good sense not to mention it). One author in particular made comment that she didn't understand why this one woman (we'll call her Author X) was getting such big advances, way bigger than hers and everyone else's.

I thought okay, tacky...probably a bit of professional jealousy going on, but still TACKY. It was like one high school girl saying "I don't know why the boys all like HER when they could have ME to fawn over."

Thing is, it still goes on. A lot. And it's sad, to me, when one of us can't be genuinely happy for someone else when they make that big break, when they sell to someone we've wanted to sell to, or when they get the big advance. But then maybe I have it all wrong--I feel we're in competition with ourselves, not with each other.

Back to Author X. She had it rough during that time. One of her siblings died, and she wound up raising this sibling's children...children, not child...children. She and her husband fought over her successes, and they wound up divorcing. She had health problems, family issues, all that good stuff, yet she still wrote what publishers and readers loved, and she remained a steadfast friend to the rest of us. Not once that I'm aware of did she ever use her disabilities and liabilities in mail to her editors or her agent. Not once did she complain about not being treated fairly. It's BUSINESS - and she kept everything on a professional level.

Not once did she stop writing, even when she got the blues, when others in her family passed away, when the tornadoes hit and she lost her home, needed surgery, couldn't pay the bills, needed new clothes or better transportation. Okay, you get the drift by now. She was a pro. She had a job, and she showed up for work every day.

So I look at her, and I look at another friend who is having this problem with professional jealousy (okay, actually there are about three who are going through this, and none of them know one another - they just share the same dilemma...remaining friends with back-stabbers). And I wonder why it is so many writers think that the way to get ahead is to make catty remarks or on the flip side to kiss so much ass. Do they really not see that kissing ass only garners them one thing...a bad taste in their mouth?

Instead of feeling "less than" around someone who succeeds, IMO we should support them and work on our own issues, discovering why we're not The Chosen Ones or what we can do to make our writing (and...ahem...ourselves) better.

I'm as guilty as anyone else - caught myself yesterday saying something snippy about someone TO a friend of hers. The woman (I felt) had used me and was using others, and I bitched. Come to find out, she's hurting. She's going through a divorce, her writing career hasn't taken off as she'd thought it would, and she's now working for a publishing house she once claimed she was too good to write for - that HAD to be rough on her to approach them. Do I still feel the same? Sure. Only I'm a little more humble and grateful that it's not me living her life. I have another day, another chance to get a few things right. No professional jealousy on my part, but a whole lot of unneeded bad karma. So color me sorry today that I let my arrogance cash checks my ass was ashamed to cover.

Anyway, hope this day finds all of you happy and healthy and at least a little mindful of your thoughts. Garbage in, garbage out - it's the GIGO effect.



At 9:08 AM, Blogger Gretchen said...

A nice reminder. We should all remember that what goes around comes around.

Love ya,

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

back atcha


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