Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Curse of the Writerly Friend

I know, I know. That sounds like a really bad title. Give me a few minutes, okay? Okay.

So there's nothing better than having writerly friends. They get you, really get you. They understand the voices, the dreams, the nerves, the disappointment, the highs, everything. They party on the ledge with you. They jump when you jump. They offer a parachute when yours doesn't open. They critique, support, laugh and buy dessert at lunch.

There's nothing better than writerly friends.

At the same time, they're part of The Curse. Don't get me wrong, I love ALL my writerly friends. To pieces. And then some.

But sometimes not knowing is priceless.

Here's what I mean by that. We're all on a journey towards publication. And the most important thing to remember is that your journey is absolutely unique. We cannot journey down the same road, even though the destination is the same.

I know this. Believe me, I repeat it to myself every time I hear about someone who's seen their cover, gotten a sneak peak at their book trailer, has a book deal and can shout about it, has a book out already, whatever whatever. And I really am happy for those writerly friends. I'm on the roof, screaming and partying with them. Truly.

Again, don't get me wrong. But sometimes it's easier not to know how fast/slow a book sold. How fast/slow someone got an agent. How fast/slow the art department is at Bloomsbury/Sourcebooks/Penguin/Delacorte.

At the same time, I'd totally feel bad if I didn't know about the journey's of my writerly friends. And thus it's a Curse. This cyclical Curse wherein I find myself repeating "My journey is my own. My journey is my own."

Does any of this make sense to anyone but me? Yeah, probably not. It's probably just the monster in me trying to reconcile internal demons on my own road toward hell publication.

Does anyone else have this Curse? (please say yes, please say yes, please say yes) Is it easier not to know sometimes? Do you feel bad when you don't know, though? If so, you have The Curse. My condolences. *wink*

113 comments:

Jen said...

I understand completely, sometimes you'd love not to know so you still have that hope filling you up inside, however the waiting can kill you especially not knowing how long the wait will be, so sometimes knowing that it could take months is worth while, to help the stress level.

Nothing is perfect, but at least while you wait you have the writerly friends there to back you up and keep your spirits high!

Matthew Rush said...

As much as I am so happy for people when I hear things like "I queried for two weeks" it does kind of suck because you CANNOT put those kind of expectations on yourself. Sometimes a unique set of circumstances simply comes into play and there is no explanation.

I really feel you on this one Elana, thanks for being so honest and pointing this out.

magolla said...

Yeah, I'm there with you, Elana.
How dare she get the agent/contract/editor before me! I've been working at it longer/harder/more dedicated to the craft than her.
I wrote about this on my blog awhile back. Some writers have a straight road, they know what they want and go get it. While others, moi, have a curvy path that tends to need backtracking when it goes into a dead end.
I've learned to enjoy the journey and not envy others (well, I keep it secret). I know they've worked hard to get there because I've been with them every step of the way.

Girl with One Eye said...

I'm jealous when I here a writerly friend is querying, even though my book is not even finished yet. I'm still jealous but I am excited for the and I can't wait to find out what happens. It's a catch 22 for sure.

kimysworld said...

Elana, this makes perfect sense to the way I feel - you described it to a T! I have this morbid curiosity to know what/when/who/how fast, which then leads to well what about me, my when, my who, my how fast? I am always happy for their successes and it makes me proud to know them, yet I want those successes too. Then when something good happens to me and they are bummed, I feel terrible! But you know what? It's who we are that we feel so much. I wouldn't want it any other way!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Ha! I get this. It's hard not ask people how long their editor is taking, what's going on with the release, if they've seen their cover yet, etc. etc. Sometimes it makes me feel better and sometimes it just frustrates me!

Aubrie said...

It's really hard not to compare yourself! I'm on my FOURTH book querying agents. Some people get it on their first. Oh well.

Don't worry, your book is awesome and it will sell.

:)

I'll be in line to buy it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes I feel the same. My path to publication is going to be LONG in part because I'm learning from mistakes and because I work full time & have a family.

While I'm happy for all my friends who have a quick path to agent & publication, sometimes it's a bit hard to see that it's not me. I don't think it means we're not good friends to feel that way. It's just that we're awesome too & our stories aren't getting recognized quite as quickly. It's off to work for me.

Slamdunk said...

That is where your readers with limited talents become important--glad I can fill that role and simply cheer everyone.

Deni Krueger said...

We are, in a sense, competing with our writerly friends for publication. So when we see them cross the finish line ahead of us and get the shiny medal with their book cover on it, we automatically assume we've lost. We're: slower, not as good, not working hard enough, whatever other downer description you want to put here. But that's not true. When my kids go to track practice and complain they are slow, I remind them track isn't always about winning the race...it's about doing your best each and every time you run. If you give up, well then, the race is over. But if you keep trying...you will get better every time.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

yes. My journey is my own. My journey is my own. ;)
~ Wendy

Theresa Milstein said...

EVERY writer must feel like this. Well, every writer but J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer.

I love hearing about a journey that was hard won, even if I feel the tiniest bit of jealousy because they are where I so badly where want to be.

But the ones where it all seems to fall in their laps, ugh. Right now, there's someone who edited her WIP herself. Quickly. No critique group. And she's getting lots of requests for partials and fulls. LOTS. AND she got a call from an agent asking her to do more work on it. I'm sure any day now she'll have her agent.

Obviously she's done something right. But I need so much more help to get a polished product and still... no agent... no publisher... no book on the shelves... no NYT bestseller... no awards... no accolades.

I just have to have faith I'll at least to get the first three at some point.

You're on your way.

MissV said...

The Curse applies to everything. When you're starting a family, you're thrilled when your friend gets pregnant but you wish you were too.

When the babies are born, you're happy when your angel starts rolling over and babbling...but there's always someone else whose child does it sooner, faster, better.

You've got a job you love. Your friend has a job that sends her to exotic places or pays an unbelievable salary.

There's always something.

We just gotta quit the comparisons already. It's human nature, I think, but our journey is our own...and I guarantee there is someone out there who is envious of all that you have/do.

Jayne said...

The Curse! (dum-dum-dummmmmm!) It looms like a Hammer Horror dracula (i.e. badly, with a wonkly cloak) over my writing life. I think it is human nature to be excited for someone, happy for them, and yet at the same time feel a little pang of pressure on our own work.

But to be honest, when I hear of someone that has battled and come so far in their journey - when these people make it my heart sings for them, as I am so glad hard work pays off, as I work hard dammit!

Candyland said...

Ohhh man. It's not just you. As happy as I am for my friends finding success, it's hard knowing what I'm going through, wondering "where's my success?"

It doesn't mean you're any less happy for them, but because your journey is different, it's sometimes hard to see the bigger picture.

Charity Bradford said...

I so get you. It's like being pregnant at the same time as your best friend, due within 2 weeks of each other (she being due 2 weeks AFTER you), and she has her baby a week before you.

You are happy for her, and yet you hate her for a moment. Why do I have to stay pregnant when she gets to move on?

Yeah, it's like that.

Maribeth said...

We are all like this! I sure hope that means we're ok. If not, we are at least in good company.
I would venture that these feelings don't just have to do with writing but with life in general.
Mary
Giggles and Guns

Janet Johnson said...

Totally know what you mean. Yay for them! But why can't I do that, too? Totally. But I'm with you. My own journey. I can (have to?) accept that. :)

Tara said...

Yep, totally get it.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Oh, yes, I know this affliction well. I think it's pretty natural to feel this way but we have to remember that it really isn't a competition.

I'd rather know and have the support of my writer friends than not know and go at it alone.

Erica Chapman said...

Totally know what you mean. I'm sure even those writerly friends are feeling it about whatever part of their journey they have not accomplished yet. It will never end.

I guess that's just what we signed up for ;o) It's rough, for sure. But. In some ways, it keeps me motivated. Great post!

Bethanne said...

Sometimes it's hard to see how the writer's life is/can be just like real life. I think part of that--right now--is that we're all so connected by the internet, by blogging and forums where everyone and their mother's cousin is announcing that next big step in the journey to publication.

But look beyond the writers to the career driven individual wanting to make partner [and why does it seem that everyone else is making partner first?], or that young woman who has been dreaming of getting married since she was 12 [and if she hears about another friend tying the knot in this decade...so help her, she won't be responsible for her actions!]...

It's out there. Would I call it a curse? Probably not, but I think we're all tetched with it. It's human nature. ;-)

Georgiana said...

You. Are. Not. Alone.

For me, it's hard to hear someone complain about how picky their editor is about this or that. Or any other complaint that has to do with publication. It'd be like me complaining about my husband to a woman who desperately wants to be married, or complaining about my kids to someone who has none. That type of thing. YES, I love to celebrate with friends, and I believe God teaches us something through that, but I'm probably the wrong person to complain to about publication stuff because sometimes it hurts my heart.

Mary McDonald said...

I totally get THE CURSE. I so want all my blogging buddies to get agents, to get published, and to be bestelling authors. When one has success, I'm thrilled. But, there's also that part of me that feels like the penniless kid with her face pressed to the window of the candy store.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ha! This is why I love to read your blog. You are so honest and hilarious. Yes, I get it.

Piedmont Writer said...

It's great when they get good news, sure, but there you are/I am sitting in the same place wondering, when is it going to be MY turn. I so get it.

Steena Holmes said...

You heard that deep sigh of mine this morning, right? You must have ;)

Yep, I get it.

Part of me can't wait for my writerly friends to have their dream come true - and part of me wants us all to go through it at the same time. Pray it's at the same time.

Christine Fonseca said...

I totally hear ya!!!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

This theme seems to be running through a lot of blogs this week (maybe I'm noticing, though, because it's something I need to hear).

Heather Sunseri posted about doing/writing only what she can do/write.

Serenity Bohon posted on THE HELP, mentioning that she was jealous of the book (wishing she had written it), then realizing it was the story only Katheryn Stockett could have produced.

Our journeys are our own. Our stories. The speed we take, the number of days we write, the number of words we produce. What happens is we panic and somehow think what we're doing isn't right. If it is working, then it's okay. And that should be enough.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Yep, I have the curse as well. I'm always thrilled to hear of my friends' successes. But here's another malady...I'm reluctant to share my good news because I don't want to seem boastful, nor do I want my writerly friends to feel bad because them seem stuck. I've been there, believe me, I know how it feels. Though, I need to remember that hearing success gives others hope. It is a cycle, isn't it? Hmm.

Stacy said...

Awesome post, Elana. I have to remind myself often that my journey is different than anybody else's and that's okay. I'll get there, in the way and time I'm meant to. But you're right; I do like to know about others sucesses too.

Kristi Faith said...

I am so there with you.

WindyA said...

Ha! You and I must be on the same brainwave. I totally was just explaining this to the husband the other day! Love love love hearing about good news for all my writerly peeps, but ... yeah. I totally get you.

Lydia Kang said...

Well said Elana, and you're not alone. There will always be people who wish they were you (agented) and you wish you were (gazillion-copy-selling author).
It's so hard to separate out your own journey, but it must be done.

Indigo said...

Totally get this. I know I'm delighted to hear someone found an agent/is getting published. Then I'll have moments of "Egads!" That's one more book out there that isn't mine. On the other hand it's encouraging, giving me a glimpse into the possibilities. (Hugs)Indigo

Stephanie Thornton said...

I definitely understand. I love reading the stories of writers once they land their agent or sign their book deal. But then I always find myself comparing my journey to theirs.

I have to take the Buddhist point of view- it's not the destination that's important (ha!), it's the journey. I'm learning along the way and that really is the most important part.

catwoods said...

Love your honesty. It's refreshing to hear others voice what we carry deep inside ourselves.

Hi. My name is Cat. I have The Curse.

I love feeling giddy for my writerly friends and genuinely do. Their successes are almost as special to me as my own will be someday.

What makes my Green Eyed Monster come out is knowing the stats. Publisher A gets 400 ms a month. Accepts five a year.

Seriously? What chance do I have if my bestest writer buddy just snagged one of those spots?

Then I kick myself and chant: everything happens for a reason and it's just not my time.

Then I'm back to feeling warm fuzzies again.

~ cat

Valerie Geary said...

"My journey is my own"--Something I repeat every day. Also: Remember to feed the cat. :) Great post!!

Carolyn V. said...

I totally have that curse! Especially lately. But I really am excited for all my writer friends, just a little jealous from time to time. "My journey's my own, my journey's my own," *saying under breath*

That Rebel with a Blog said...

I'm so new to the publishing game that I've yet to succomb to The Curse. I'm still in the Get It Written mode which is accompanied by the God, I'm Such a Newby and These Guys are So Far Ahead of Me That I WISH I Had the Curse curse.

That Rebel, Olivia Herrell

VR Barkowski said...

My CP began to query, scored an agent and a three book deal in under two months. I was/am thrilled for her. I might have been jealous if we wrote the same sort of books. I certainly wish my sub-genre was as marketable as hers, but yes, my journey is my own.

What bothers me is that I know she feels bad because I'm still struggling. And because she feels bad, I feel bad. She should be doing nothing but celebrating her successes. In a way, I feel like I'm letting her down. Does that make sense?

lisanowak said...

I definitely have the curse. I hate that I can't keep my thoughts on my own journey, that I continually undermine my emotional well-being by dwelling on other people's success, and that I succumb to jealousy, but I think all that's only human.

Write Chick said...

I totally get "The Curse" and I think it applies to everything in life, not just writing.

For instance, your friend gets a brand new boat and two four-wheelers, whilst you drive around a beat up Ford Tempo you can barely afford payments on. You are happy for them, while at the same time thinking "Well that sucks!"

I'm going to adopt this mantra for my whole life. "My journey is my own." I love it. Great Thought of the day.

Tere Kirkland said...

You're right, Elana, we all do have to travel our own path, but yeah, I'll be the first to admit that I get frustrated when I see my writerly friends finding agents and getting pubbed, while here I sit, juggling my own work and trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

It can be downright demotivating until I get back to enjoying the journey, the craft. Which is what really matters in the first place.

Good post.

Southpaw said...

It makes total sense.

Carol Kilgore said...

Oh yes. I have it, too. It takes many forms. Yours. VR's. Sort of like my own. One day I'm up. The next, I'm flat on my rear. Writing is one thing. Publishing? Ai-yi-yi!

Stephanie McGee said...

I'm probably in early onset stages of it. Not all the symptoms have presented themselves as yet, but it's probably festering there waiting to strike.

Sigh.

Hugs.

Sara B. Larson said...

Oh I definitely understand! I have to remind myself of this constantly. I'm SO excited for the successes of my writerly friends, but it can be hard not to get down on yourself when your own journey isn't flying at top speed like theirs. My journey is my own, my journey is my own... ;-)

Elana Johnson said...

Whew. I'm feeling strangely validated. Thank you! And I so agree that it applies to just about everything in life. I need to remember all the good things I have in my life, and stop focusing on what I don't have yet.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I get all excited when I hear of someone I know getting a book deal. So happy. Then I heave a great sigh and wonder when it will be my turn. I will get a turn right? Then I start to wonder if I ever will and I get a tad green around the edges. Then I have to heave another great sigh and reassure myself that one day, hopefully, I will get my turn at bat. Then I return to my deep appreciation for my friends and share in their excitement at being published.

Corinne O'Flynn said...

Oh Elana... and now you are in my head! My own demon is the feeling that I have come too late to the party. I feel like I have so much work ahead of me and there is this tidal wave of writerly friends' manuscripts that will fill the place I envision mine should be. It is so hard! I was thinking about this yesterday while bouncing around the Spreading the Awesome list (yeah, thanks for that Elana... ;) and then I read something that set me right again, from an editor/instructor.

"Write what you are passionate about. Don't be concerned with the latest trends of fads. Allow your inner voice to shine, and young readers will respond.."

It is really hard to write all alone in my office feeling that the rest of you are far ahead of me in the book regatta, I am still tying my sail.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, my gosh, YES!! I celebrate from the rooftops when others hear the good news. I NEED to know it's possible, that it really does happen. But oh, how I wish it would happen for me, too! And for you... and for_______... and for_________...

Jojomama said...

Oh, sistah--AMEN. It wads my gut up in knots sometimes. I just love to have the friends who understand... but sometimes you just want blinders on so you don't get all caught up in the frenzy of triumph and defeat around you. It can really do a number on your confidence. Even for me. Which says a lot. (;
http://jostorm.blogspot.com/

T. Anne said...

I REALLY do hear you on this. Sometimes it's not fun watching from the sidelines. And BTW, Happy Elana Johnson day! Visit my blog if you get the chance. ;)

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Such a vicious little curse... ;o)

BUT!! Elana, knowing these things can be what propels us to do better, what makes us more compassionate and what allows us to remember the uniqueness that we each yearn for. NONE of us truly wants to be identical to the other. Maybe, possibly, be as successful as some others but in our own way. It is that desire that makes the curse an enjoyable one. It is a curse that holds our feet to the fire but allows us to console those on the edges and to acknowledge those rising above it.

Thanks for the reminder that the conflict of emotions isn't always for fictional complex characters - we writers need to experience them as well.

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Kat Harris said...

I get you, and I think Matthew Rush was absolutely right in his comment.

You can't put certain expectations on your own projects because for every writer you see out there saying, "I only queried for two weeks before I got an agent," there are probably thousands more who haven't been so fortunate.

Great post!

Sun Up said...

I completely agree with you Elana. You are thrilled for your friends, but then you end up wondering 'when the hell is it going to happen for me?' And then you end up feeling slightly like a jerk for even daring to think it.

Like "omg, my first query got accepted by THREE agents..."

You're like "Congratulations!" at the same time in your head you're screaming "WTF???"

Everyone does have their own path...definitely. That's how life goes period...it is a curse. You love your friends, you are happy for their success but your caught between not wanting to know and absolutely NEEDING to know.

Talli Roland said...

A little while ago, when I was toiling away writing non-fiction and really wanting my fiction to be published, I heard about a writer-friend who got a three-book fiction deal with the same company I'd pitched - and who had rejected me. I remember the hot feeling of jealously rising from my gut. It took awhile for me to fight it back down again and get back on track, but you're so right. Every experience is different.

Patti said...

Totally agree. It's like you want to know everything, but sometimes ignorance is bliss. I hate feeling jealous and I try to squish those feelings as soon as they arise.

laurapauling said...

I think every writer experiences this to some degree. I do, but try to ignore it because I truly am happy when other writer's succeed. It's really hard not to compare, what ever stage we're at.

Shannon said...

I know exactly how you feel. It's funny, I find myself repeating my father's words when I was eight. I was on the swim team and I could do the butterfly really well, but I had problems with my turns and always lost time.

After a meet where I lost one event and won the other, he came over to me and said, "You really kicked that girl's butt in the first race."

I smiled. "Yeah."

"And then you got your butt kicked pretty bad."

"Yeah..."

"Just remember this day. Don't compare yourself to others because someone will always be worse off and someone else will be better off. Compete against yourself."

Shari said...

I am sooooo cursed with The Curse.

Krispy said...

You make perfect sense, and the curse is a good way of putting it. I always think of it as a vicious cycle, and it's not just in regards to writing. Like even with my friends sometimes, it's like I'm really happy for their successes or that they've figured their lives out, but since I'm still trying to figure my life out, I can't help also feeling a bit envious. And then I feel horrible for feeling that way! Ah!

So thanks for this post. Nice to know other people get stuck in this rut too.

Elle Strauss said...

Writing is a tumultuous journey!

Yes, I get you, and your second paragraph was excellently crafted. (as was the whole thing, don't get me wrong...)

Christina Lee said...

om...om...my journey is my own...is my own. I'm in my yoga pose. ;-)
I say it to myself everyday nd sometimes on very crabby days I turn away from Twitter etc. just to "not see."
I LURVE you, girl!

kathrynjankowski said...

It's hard not to feel a pang of two of jealousy when someone else succeeds before you, but better, I think, to own up to it and move on.

Myrna Foster said...

This is SO true.

And I'm bummed that I somehow missed being a link in your author/book recommendation chain. What a cool idea! I spent way too much time in the blogosphere yesterday.

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

I know exactly what you mean, and it seems like you're like me. It's not jealousy--because I'm 100% thrilled for anyone who reaches any sort of success. Tossing Confetti, planning the party--you name it. But it does feed my own insecurity. Like...am I doing something wrong? Is my book not good enough? Am I not good enough?

So yeah, I feel your pain. But it's like you said: our journey is our own. And that applies to everything in life. Some of us are married. Some aren't. Some of us have more money than others. Some of us have kids. All you can do is take what life has handed you and do the best you can with it. Our journey is our own. :)

Karen Lange said...

It's sort of like other life stuff, like pregnancy, for example. You want to know what to expect, but on the other hand, don't want ALL the details all the time. Ah, the challenges of being a writer...but I'd rather have them and be a writer than anything else:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

In other words, it's both encouraging and discouraging. I get you!

Maria I. Morgan said...

It's tough not to compare our journey with that of our 'writerly friends.' I'm truly grateful that there's not one right answer as to when or how we get published! Heather Sunseri's Tuesday post said it best, "I spin as fast as only I can spin. I look to God as only I can look. And I write stories as only I can write." Blessings!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh yes, I get this. It's hard to understand how it can go smoothly for some and not for others. It's so hard not to compare our experiences. Tuning out seems awfully alluring sometimes. But really, there're are just so many variables in this business. And you really do want to know (I think writers are, of course, curious by nature), and we want to cheer on the successes of our friends who we love and offer the support they deserve.

The thing is, I also don't want to hear the sad stories either sometimes. Because it makes me sad, not to mention freak me out that it could also go that way for me. But we need to know. We can't help but want to know.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Oh I so get this. I want to share the journey, but sometimes it's hard on the road.

Natalie said...

Oh yeah. I think it would definitely be better not to know about the people who get book deals in a week. I think I've gone into every new phase hoping for "best case scenerio" and though my experience certainly hasn't been bad, it hasn't been that easy.

But I'm still happy for people who get deals in a week!

Caledonia Lass said...

Hey, hey... no one said a curse was part of the writerly friend contract! I'm cursed!!! I feel horrible about being jealous sometimes but I am so excited for them too, so what do you do? And sadly, it makes total sense.

Cole Gibsen said...

Uh, yeah! You're talking to the girl who was on submission for 16 months before her book sold when everyone else around me had deals after only a couple of months. I completely understand. While I was so happy for those friends it's definitley easy to find yourself comparing your struggles to their successes. When I find it overwhelming a week or so of unplugging always refreshes me.

Sara McClung ♥ said...

All I can say to this is YES. That makes 100% sense.

Shelley Sly said...

Yes, I do understand! My perception of publishing and "getting published" has really changed in the past year, since I've leaped into the blogging world and begun researching. It's good that I've gained this knowledge, but at the same time, the magic's gone.

Jonathon Arntson said...

YES! It's hard for me with friends like Heather and Tina and, well, you because you're all so close to publication and I am just in the beginning stages of writing. It may be hard at times, but I think it's mostly motivational!

Cheree said...

Oh, I am totally with you. I feel bad because I often get jealous when I learn that someone I know has got an agent or that publishing deal. But, I'm also happy for them. Oh, so conflicted.

P.S. I've left something for you at my blog.

Laura Marcella said...

Absolutely! But at the same time, it's motivating hearing about other people's journey and how quickly they reached their destination.

Amy Tate said...

Oh yea. And it's really frustrating when someone says that it HAS to be done this way, when your gut is telling you to turn left.

Taryn Tyler said...

I do understand what you mean but I try to remind myself not to compare my journey with other peoples'. In everything. Not just writing.

E. Elle said...

I can totally relate. You want to be supportive but you can't help wondering "why not me." Those thoughts extend to all sorts of life's avenues. Depending on my mood, I'm motivated by the success of others or I'm downright depressed by it. Win some, lose some, I guess. I know that my life's path is just that: mine. But that doesn't mean I don't sometimes wish it was a little more like certain other people's paths.

Munk said...

I have no writerly friends to speak of... but I get yer point... tra la la, build yer imaginary house out of bricks and write like mad.

Kelly said...

The writing community is extremely supportive of one another. I truly am excited when someone gets good news. It also gives me hope. Hope that maybe I'll be able to share good news one day, too!
Because of the title, I thought this post was going to be about writers' menstrual cycles. ;)

Annette Lyon said...

Double-edged sword, writing friends are. No one GETS me like they do, yet it's SO HARD to not compare journeys.

(Especially this last week when a critique group member got a massive 3-book deal and will be quitting his day job soon. ERGH!)

Great post!

Empty Refrigerator said...

Yes, I have the Curse. Fabulous post.

Medeia Sharif said...

Sometimes I find myself wondering about these things, but then I remind myself that everyone's journey, pace, skill level, genre, and publishing know-how is different.

MBW aka Olleymae said...

so so true. And you're right. Your journey is your own.

I look back at college and think how I used to be so jealous of all my friends who had parents that paid for their education and their cars and their food. But when I graduated, that degree was mine, all mine. I felt like I appreciated the victory more than my spoiled (albeit lovely) friends.

Same with my writing journey. I'd rather pay my dues!

Ryan said...

Without a doubt this is one of the hardest things about being a writer. Lol. I don't read blogs a lot because of this. I see in my feed that someones sold their book, or their book went international, or they've got an agent or any number of things, and it makes me cringe. It makes me think why isn't that me. Why isn't my writing exploding in the same way that theirs is? Haven't I done every bit of work that they have? Aren't I good enough for this life? (Starting to depress myself here, lol.) So, no. You're not alone when it comes to the Writer's Curse. Not alone at all.

Jan Cline said...

Yeah, makes sense to me. I think many writers feel that way. You cant be super supportive all the time, and once in a while you just want to relish in your own victories.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I'm totally with you... on all of that. I love my writerly friends, and sometimes it's hard to know. But that's life. And hopefully one day they will repay me by having to listen to me. Haha. ::crosses fingers::

Hardygirl said...

Yes!!! I have the curse!

This is a hard one to explain to people. I have so many writers ask me how I landed my agent--as if I have some sort of talismanic secret. I try to tell them that everyone's journey is unique (and so much depends on luck and timing). That my story won't be their story . . .

Great post!!

sf

RaShelle said...

It's a terrible curse - one I completely understand. You want to know - yet don't want to know. It's a thrilling, roller-coaster ride. I'm on it, front row seat, both hands in the air.
Cursed to be happily terrified.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Oh yes. I think we have all wondered if we're going to writer hell at some point.

I like your mantra though. I think I'll borrow it if you don't mind. ;)

Karen Akins said...

So very, very true.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yup! It's like riding multiple roller coasters all at the same time. Some of you is up, some of you is down, some is terrified... Loads of fun :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh yes. You know.

T.J. Carson said...

Hmmm do not think I have "The Curse", None of my friends are writers unless you count the blogs I follow and that follow me. Ha and I think I get what you are saying...that it does not matter how fast/slow one's own publication process went (or did not go) because it does not happen the same way for everyone (there is no real formula to follow). Am I on the right track??? haha. Nice blog thanks for following me! And thanks for offering your services in candyland's competition as a prize! I am crossing my fingers to place!!!! :)

Julie Dao said...

I hear you loud and clear, Elana. I am absolutely ecstatic for my writer friends, but a tiny voice in my head (put there by the curse, of course) is asking tough questions. And the only answer to them is: all in good time. If it's meant to be, it'll happen sometime. Maybe not as fast as it happens for other people. There's nothing like being a writer to teach yourself patience. I'm still learning.

Dominique said...

I definitely concur. It's better not to know. That might just be my new mantra, "My journey is unique."

Jamie D. said...

I guess it's probably ego-centric of me, but I don't compare my life to others, whether it pertains to houses, cars, or writing. My life is what I make of it - just like everyone else's.

Because I know that I'm in the minority, I tend to downplay new things I buy, accomplishments, and achievements, because I know they could trigger that little flash (or more) of envy in a lot of people, and I hate that. It's never my intention to make anyone feel bad...but it happens. I can't control the feelings of others, obviously, but for some reason, I feel obligated to try.

Just a comment from the other side of the coin...for what it's worth.

Faith Pray said...

Yes, but have you heard this one? "The journey is the destination." I chant it to myself, but the overwhelming desire to be published has a louder chant.

Heather Zundel said...

Actually, it made perfect sense. We can be clinically insane together, how's that? :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What did Gore Vidal write?

It's not my failures that are bitter. It is the successes of my friends.

Even a great like Gore Vidal has been where you are, Elana.

I have been submitting to agents and publishers for so long, you would think that I wouldn't flinch inside when someone just starting out gets an agent then published.

I am happy for my successful friends. It just smarts when I am left limping on foot behind the departing bandwagon. Ouch.

I tell you what. I'll pray that you are quickly snapped up by a publisher and hit the bestseller's lists for weeks and weeks. Then, when it happens, I can feel a success -- at praying that is!

Have a great weekend, Roland

Glynis said...

I love it when I hear a writer friend has been published. My other self, hates it, she is secretly jealous. I tell it is okay, it will be her turn oneday. She cannot help herself though, poor thing, green does not suit her.
I do have to remind her, that in order to be published, she has to finish her book. That makes her cry, but I tell her to toughen up. *Big grin*

Angela McCallister said...

Eh, sometimes I need a little pee in my Cheerios. Makes me work harder. You could always surround yourself with really BAD writers. They're great ego-boosters ;)

Seriously, it's really hard to have your emotions at war with each other. It's natural to feel happy for your friends' success, but at the same time to wish you were right there too, or even to feel guilty for being a step or two ahead in the process than your friends. I call it the Lottery Syndrome.

Missed Periods said...

I also feel that way when one of my writer friends writes something really amazing, and I think, damn, I wish I would have written that.

Jamie Grey said...

I am going through this now with one of my writing friends. I love her to death and am SO excited and happy for her, but I hate her just a tiny bit :) I think it's the nature of writers to compare ourselves to others. But your right, all we can do is mind our own Journey. I'm going to borrow your mantra for my own :)

Nichole Giles said...

Um Yes. Evey day. And then some. You should know that. You do, right? Right. Okay.

Tara McClendon said...

The Curse reached out and bit me hard. It happened when a writerly friend decided she didn't like the success I was having as a writer. You see, it's taken her 10 years to complete one novel. So me finishing mine in less than a year just wasn't fair.... Despite that, I've found most of my writerly friends enjoy their own journey and help me celebrate mine.

Kimberly Job said...

I don't know how you came up with that description of the CURSE--but it's perfect!

I came home depressed from Storymakers this year because of this blasted curse--I hate it, but try not to compare myself to others.

Unfortunately, my writing ability (or lack thereof) isn't the only comparison I make.

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget