Green as a Bean

Here I am, doing my best to review every one of the Konrath 8-hour Challenge books, and to ask dumb questions over on KindleBoards, and to be supportive to other writers, and having no time to work on my sequel to Hyperlink, which is all my own fault, really, and, golly, all these commas are starting to make me feel sick, so I can’t imagine how you feel about them, and–

Wham!

Did you know that there’s an indie writer over on KindleBoards who writes and publishes TEN BOOKS a year?

TEN! BOOKS! A YEAR!

And they aren’t crap books. She has millions of fans, and she’s earned them. And she’s helpful. Really helpful. Posts all the time about how she does it… and how we can, too.

*Deletes all the swearing and takes Deep Breath*

Time to ward off the evil, green-eyed monster, again. Luckily, months ago — before I’d heard about the Ten Book a Year Lady — I wrote a public note-to-self about one of the seven deadly sins of the writer. Time to dust it off, and get back to work.

Envy.

Writers’ Envy. It’s epic. It’s a monster. And it stinks. Most forums reek of it; even my critique group gets whiffy from time to time. Yes, it’s all over the place. Even, occasionally, on my face in the mirror.

Time to scratch and sniff.

Envy is my favorite Deadly Sin of the Writer. Oh, it’s not the most fun; those would be Satirical Sloth, Literary Lust and Grammar Gluttony. No, it’s my favorite because it has the potential for such harm… and such good. For that good to happen, Envy must be converted to Admiration — a more, um, admirable trait. So, note to self:

I envy => I admire => What can I learn from this? = Nirvana and/or ice cream.

There. All done. With chocolate sprinkles.

But what if the object of Envy is reviled, if her talent is considered less than admirable? Lately, I’ve seen a lot of Popular Author bashing, some of which would only be warranted if the Popular Author in question had run down a puppy and driven off, cackling. This kind of envy — the “envy of the undeserving” — is especially detrimental.

To those Popular Author Bashers: “Lighten up, folks, or lose your creamy centers forever.”

Maybe you are a better writer than Amanda Hocking or Stephanie Meyer or even (sacrilege!) J.K. Rowling, whatever “better” means to you.

There. I said it. You’re better.

So what? Let’s all find something to admire about that writer whose success we envy — especially if we think she doesn’t deserve that success. Is she grammatically challenged? Addicted to adverbs? Maybe, but her characters are loved by millions. Plot holes a-plenty? Modifiers dangling from trees? Laugh it off. Bile tastes bad. At least she had the guts to dangle.

And if you can’t find anything to admire about her work, what about her work ethic? Still no? Maybe she wears a mean stiletto — really, really mean. Admire her bunions.

So, what’s your take on Envy? A force for good? Or epic fail?

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9 responses

  1. Envy stabs us in the gut and makes us sick. Dazzles our eyes so we don’t see our own talents. Rains salt water on our projects. We have to fight back! Red Rover!

    1. “Dazzles our eyes so we don’t see our own talents.”

      How many amazing artists and writers (and other sensitive creative types) have been blinded by envy? Makes me angry. And sad.

  2. So many writers should be envying you – you write like your ass is on fire.

    1. How did you know? No, really.
      How. Did. You. Know?

  3. Reblogged this on John L. Monk and commented:
    What a great post from an author I envy 🙂

  4. Envy is one of the ugliest emotions and I dislike myself intensely when it hits me.

    But I’m envious of all your followers on twitter!!!!!

  5. Reviewing all those books is really impressive. I envy that sort of determination. 🙂

    I think envy can be a force for both, depending on how you act on it. Will you use it to motivate yourself that much more to achieve what you want, or do you sit and stew on it, get nothing done, and upset yourself even more?

    I remember the post she wrote. The amount of content she puts out is staggering, and somehow she also finds time to be really helpful and nice.

    1. I have that post in my bookmarks. She and Hugh Howey, and quite a few other authors who stuck around KBoards after they made it big, are constant sources of inspiration and information. Not to mention great books!

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