5 Ways To Deal With Writer Envy
If you're a writer and you spend any time on social media at all, you've probably felt writer envy before. You notice that a writer you're following just posted a link to an article they wrote for a publication you've been dreaming about writing for, or a photo of your Insta friend's first book scrolls across your phone screen. Moments like this can bring that age timeline that we all seem to measure ourselves by to the forefront ( my soror and writer Britni Danielle did a great post on this), or they can cause mini panic attacks as you frantically try to "catch up" since it now seems like everyone is beating you to your day in the sun. Writer envy can be paralyzing and ultimately, it can rob you of the energy you could be putting into creating your projects. I've realized over the years that you've got to have a way to quickly move past these feelings to put the focus back on doing the things that will bring you your own shine when the time is right. Try these five steps during your next writer envy attack:
Allow yourself to feel it...
It's easy to feel guilty about writer envy, especially when the person who triggers it is someone close to you. You know you should feel happy for people when good things happen for them, but the human side of you wants to see your dreams realized as well. Those are normal feelings that you should allow yourself to have. Try talking with someone you trust or writing your feelings down in your journal to acknowledge them. That's the first step to getting past writer envy so that you can get back to being productive.
Be good to yourself
Don't be hard on yourself about another writer "beating you" to achieving the goal of book publication, appearing in a dream glossy, starting a successful business, or any milestone that you think you should have achieved. Remember what those mothers of the church used to tell you...what is for you, is for YOU. Make sure that you are practicing stellar self care during a writer envy attack. Many times, I find that I experience more writer envy when I'm feeling burnt out from not taking care of myself the way I know I should. We all know how feeling burnt out can lead to frustration that can sometimes misplace itself.
Try a new perspective
When you see other writers achieve milestones in their careers, try to see these things as inspiration and proof that with hard work and perseverance, you too can achieve your writing goals. We live in a society that loves to view everything out of a competitive lense, but that type of mindset just produces a lot of stress and anxiety in the long run. Try to learn from other writers to find out how they were able to achieve their goals by reaching out by letting these writers know how much they inspire you. Many writers are more than happy to give you a little advice. Take the perspective of a life long learner who sees everything as an opportunity for a lesson.
Get to work...for the right reasons
Don't pick up projects that you haven't looked at in a while just because someone else's new success suddenly put a creative fire in you. Focusing on being productive will help you to overcome writer envy, but if you are fueled by the desire to compete with other writers, that fuel will run out soon. You'll also be more likely to start projects that aren't really reflective of your unique vision when you allow another writer's good news to motivate you to put more attention on your own projects. Instead, you may find yourself trying to mold your project into what worked for that person rather than creating something that only you can create. Take a break and step away from a project if a writer envy attack is causing you to not be true to your brand of creativity. When you come back, you'll have a clear head and a clearer sense of where to go next with your project.
Lastly, try to think of accomplishments that you have made in your own writing career that you can be proud about. Think of these things whenever writer envy seems to overwhelm you. I'm a firm believer in the fact that only I can write what I am here to write, and even if someone where to lift an idea from me, they could never do it like I can. Be grateful for this fact, your creativity, your support system, and the opportunity you have each day to put your work out into the world.
What do you usually do when writer envy attacks you? Tell me in the comments!