I recently had one of “those” conversations with my dear friend and fellow writer, May B. Bridges. You know, the kind where you talk about everything from the actual impracticality of sporks to the meaning of life itself? Well, we got on the subject of success in writing, and May said something wonderful. I’m paraphrasing here, but this is the gist of it:
“The best thing about writing is that no one’s success is a threat to anyone else. There is room for EVERYONE on the bookshelf.”
This! This! It’s the TRUEST! I mean, come on: seeing a fellow writer get agented, announce a book deal, or reveal a cover (side note: I’m a complete raving fanatic when it comes to a good cover reveal) is basically like…the best. Oh, of course–one’s own achievements are lovely, too. For some–particularly those who have struggled for many years with querying and writing and finding a place in the market–there is a measure of envy when another writer announces some thrilling publication news. And that makes sense–when someone else grasps the thing for which we have been striving, it’s only human nature to feel a bit left behind. The manner in which such feelings are handled, though, is the important thing. It generally seems to play out in one of two ways:
Path A: The envious party goes full Sour Grapes, and typically cannot conceal it. Example: when I announced that I had accepted Jim McCarthy’s offer of representation back in July of 2015, a bitter person literally wrote “Congratulations, I guess” on my Twitter feed. Really? REALLY? :P
Path B: The envious party compartmentalizes that little bit of natural jealousy and proceeds to SQUEE his or her face off with you, and celebrate your success.
Life Pro Tip: The folks who take the second route are your friends. Why? Because what May said is true: there’s room for everyone on the bookshelf, and people who truly support you will root for your success as well as their own. Take heart, my loves, and be happy! The bookshelf is infinite, and it holds a place for you, if you’re not there yet. Let’s all cheer for each other! I know I’ll be cheering for you. :)