A Not-So-Pleasant Shade of Green

I recently read a blog post at Purple Hearts talking about envy.  In Jessica’s blog she tells how she, on occasion, feels envy for her fellow authors and their publishing credits.  More importantly it’s about how she in turn uses the envy to help motivate herself into writing more.  While I commend her on finding motivation where she can, I have to respectfully disagree.

Although envy might not be as poisonous as jealousy, the lingering aftertaste can make any amount of success bitter.  Let me explain what I mean.

When I write, I do it because I have a story to tell.  A message I want people to hear.   In some way or another it is unique in either subject or conveyance (I should hope anyways).  Once envy takes a hold, I’m no longer focusing on my unique work, but instead focusing on other’s unique work.  The danger in that is altering your own work to sound like the unique works of those you were busy being envious over.

I know it’s hard being on the outside looking in, wanting so bad to be included.  Stop and think for a moment.  What would you rather have, changing who you are and what you write so one day you could possibly be accepted by your peers, but know inside you would feel untrue to yourself, or would you rather continue creating the work that is uniquely you and gain the admiration from your peers, bring that party to you instead?

I know which I’d rather have.

It is human to have and deal with these emotions.  Letting them go and moving on takes more effort, but ultimately does ourselves better.


3 thoughts on “A Not-So-Pleasant Shade of Green

  1. So glad you stopped by the Purple Hearts blog! Thanks so much for referencing my post. I think it’s important to emphasize though that using envy as a motivating tool is less about altering yourself to conform to something that has worked for someone else and more about celebrating the success of others and learning from what they did to succeed. Whether it’s through work ethic, business practices, conduct, or improving a skills set, we can take a look at the success of others as great examples of what to do – or not to do, in some cases – to achieve your goals. As with any advice I share, I encourage anyone to take the examples that work for you and what you are tying to accomplish and discard the rest. If you’ve read other posts of mine at the Purple Hearts blog, you’ll also know I believe that writers need to be true to their authentic selves and in that way I completely agree with you. Turning negatives into positives are great learning experiences in writing and in life — thanks again for stopping by the blog and opening up such an interesting discussion.


  2. Thank you Jessica for taking the time to visit my blog. As you mentioned, the most important idea to get across is transforming that envy into something positive and ultimately productive. I have read your blog for awhile now and enjoy it thoroughly even though I cater to a different genre. I’m sure to visit it regularly and chime in when I might have something to add.
    Thanks again.

  3. Thank you, Stephen! I hope you will come back and visit us at the Purple Hearts – I love having discussions with other writers and will look forward to your chiming in!

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