I just realized that the title of this post might be a bit misleading.  The Oxford English Dictionary says that envy is “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck”.  This is completely not directed at anyone in particular; this post is all about my weird little musings, because I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s going through something like this.

And in case you’re confused, I don’t mean that this is a tutorial on how to create envy or make people envious. Quite the contrary. I mean that envy can be inspiring if thought about a little differently.

Specifically, with these great gals!

In 2011, I had my first opportunity to go to a writer’s convention. It was RWA Nationals, and it was in NYC, where it’ll be again in 2015. For the first time, I’d had the chance to be with high numbers of other people with little voices in their heads telling them things that they just had to write down. The camaraderie of being with other writers–some who I’d met online and never thought I’d meet in person, and others I was just lucky enough to meet, period–was wonderful. They were supportive, and interested, and curious, and, for the first time in a long time, I felt like I belonged somewhere.

Anyone want to get me one that grows $100s?

I should also say that has been my only real opportunity to go to one due to the ridiculous cost of flying halfway around the world.

So, for the past three-plus years, I’ve had to watch vicariously through social media as my writer friends have enjoyed going to the RWA conferences or the RT Booklovers Convention, or various others, having a ball and posting pics, and getting to talk about the people who live in their heads to their hearts’ content.

I want to make it clear that I’m not envious of anyone in particular; it’s this general sad feeling of being left out. And while even when we live back in the states I’m sure I won’t be able to hit all of these up, it’ll be nice to have the chance to.

But just in case you didn’t think I was being enough of a Debbie Downer or was done throwing myself a little pity party, there’s more to this green-eyed monster.  Part of the conferences is getting to talk about the books everyone has published, and I’m not quiiiite there yet as an author.  Am I proud of my fellow writers?  You bet your ass I am!  Do I love talking about their books?  Abso-frickin-lutely!  And I’m going to be genuinely happy and promote them and help as much as I can, because there’s that camaraderie I mentioned above–it’s tough enough to write a book and promote it on your own–even with the help of a publisher if you’ve gone that route–so it takes a village. Apparently a village of people who hear voices in their heads, but that’s not the point. This has nothing to do with other writers specifically–this weirdness is all me.

But all is not lost…here’s where the inspiring bit comes in.  The next time I go to a conference, I want it to be as a published author. For instance, I don’t want to go to RWA 2015 (if I do actually go…hopefully!), four years after my initial one, still at the same stage I was in 2011. Will it be okay if I’m not published by then, or if I’m in the process of querying/negotiating, or self-pubbing something? Yes, but to be honest, I’ll be disappointed in myself if I don’t have something of my own to show for it.  Something I can point people to on Amazon or wherever to say, “I wrote this.” I’m using my experience-envy to inspire myself to kick my own butt and achieve my dream. Because, though some people write solely for themselves, my dream is to make stories for others to enjoy as well.

There’s a psychological component to goal-sharing–that if you make it public, it’ll serve as motivation. I did that successfully last year with NaNoWriMo (I shared my daily word output and total word count on my FB page), and I’m hoping this will be as effective.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings, and please, if you have a moment, leave me some words of encouragement below in the comments, because I think I might need them.

xoxo Sarah

5 Comments

  • These are valid feelings! The publishing industry is a high-speed, pressurized place where a lot of authors are crazy-prolific. When I first attended an RWA conference I felt the same way. There was this surge of energy. I could talk to other authors for hours about our shared passion – writing! It was like this loud, internal voice said, "You've found your tribe!" And the support we give one another is crucial. There is no competition, just camaraderie. I like how as a romantic suspense author I don't have to be "on" all the time. Like a show performer, you feel like you have to be entertaining on a daily basis (which is the tap dance of promotion and marketing). There's a wonderful feeling of hand off when you can recommend and fellow author who writes the same genre. As Grace Burrowes says, "There's enough for everyone." There are millions of wonderful romance readers who want to have a great story to indulge in while you're writing your next novel.
    It took me three years to get my book self published, and it was a challenging experience. There were plenty of times when I thought it'd never happen, when I chastised myself for taking a break. After going through it, I hold a great respect for all writers. It's hard work! But in the great words of Susan Kaye Quinn,"Stories don't expire." Keep plugging away at it and you'll get there. I mean, there are TV series now coming out based on books from decades ago. That's a testament that it doesn't have to be fast, it just has to be GOOD. And you've got great in you, sweets. When it's ready, it's going to rock! 😉

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