So, fellow writers, show of hands–underneath all the “atta boys” and “nice jobs” and “you go, girls” how many times have you wanted to put your hands around a fellow writers’ neck and wring it until they let go of the Precious. The Precious being the contract, the contest win, the agent, the sales you can’t seem to achieve. Another show of hands–how often have you trashed said “successful” writer to your trusted good-friend (also a writer)? Come on, someone irks the hell out of you. Fame and fortune come sliding into their lives, unearned. They’re charmed! They don’t write better than you–they’ve turned to the Dark Side and been given special powers. Okay, I’m mixing my trilogies here.
This came up last night when my husband played the worst round of golf in his life (he’s a great golfer). His friend expressed a little glee at my husband’s misery (I witnessed it). His friend is not the golfer my husband is. So, a little hurt and a log of anger. Of course, they were both being babies. Isn’t it nice we writers don’t act this way? Ahem.
If you’ve gotten this far, perhaps I can share another tale I learned in martial arts. A frustrated student never practiced much, but always resorted to trickery to try to trip up a better competitor. He was very jealous of this fellow. His master instructor pulled him aside, and drew two lines in the sand, one half the length of the other. The longer line stood for the champion. “Grasshopper, without shortening your oponent’s line, how can you become his equal, even surpass him?” A shrug. The master extended the line of the jealous student to match the champion’s. “Only by improving your own skills. You cannot make him worse, you can only make yourself better.”
Note to self: let your jealousy motivate you to do better, not to trash others.