The Jealous Writer

Are You a Smart Writer?
Are You a Smart Writer?

Confession time. I have a problem with writer jealousy. It’s not a serious case, but enough that it requires energy and effort to keep it at bay.

As a child, I was known as The Smart One. But like most who want what they don’t have, I preferred any of these titles, The Cute One, The Funny One, or The Sweet OneAlas, I wasn’t gifted with any of those labels. And I allowed my thoughts over what I wasn’t to overshadow the gift of who I was.

As a woman, I know discontent. Over my hair color, body shape, shoe size, and the shade of my eyes. Insecurity reeks a crushing blow to productive energy. I’d love to recapture the minutes and hours of my youth, spent on wishing I looked more like someone else. I could reinvest my lost time in doing something meaningful.

Are You a Funny Writer?
Are You a Funny Writer?

As a professional author, I too battle the green-eyed monster. When I read an eloquent beauty, a humorous author, a sweet wordsmith, or a creative powerhouse, I often wish I wrote like them. I tremble in the shadows of a thick plot, riddled with mystery, nuances, and intrigue. I covet the ability to paint rich landscapes, where every small touch blends to perfection. I feel sad that I can’t make readers belly laugh like my hysterical peers. My heart’s desire is to embellish dialogue with verbs so strong that the reader forgets where they are as soon as they climb into the story. 

Are You a Sweet Writer?
Are You a Sweet Writer?

But there’s hope for a jealous writer like me. 

  • Through age, I’ve learned it’s okay to be me, as designed by God. The child in me couldn’t see the benefit of my unique outlook on things. But now I know if the building’s burning down, pretty, funny, and sweet won’t get you out.
  • Through maturity, I’m learning to appreciate my gifts. I am who I am, and so are the irrevocable qualities others see in me.
  • I’m a serious student by nature, and can’t help sharing God-inspired knowledge and wisdom. Like a sponge, I absorb and release.

    Are You a Cute Writer?
    Are You a Cute Writer?

I don’t know if I’ll ever get past reading a hilarious story, and wishing I could write like its author. But I resolve to remember that just as an arm can’t do an ear’s job, neither can I write what someone else is called to. I may always long to write a great novel, but not until I finish the current race set before me.

Jealous writers who allow themselves to wallow won’t have time or energy to produce their own good work. I am a professional, aged-to-perfection, mature author. This is how I choose to focus my thoughts, so I can create the projects I’m uniquely qualified for. After all, if I don’t write them, who will?

Do you ever struggle with writer’s jealousy?

Write From the Truth of Who You Are
Write From the Truth of How You are Wired

23 Replies to “The Jealous Writer”

  1. Exactly! I think we all struggle with this one. And if anyone doesn’t, then I don’t like them because they’re prideful. ha ha! 🙂 Kidding! We ALL struggle with this. On a side note, I think I’m going to try making a heart in my coffee foam tomorrow. You know, so I can be sweet. 🙂

  2. Anita–Thanks for leading the way in confessing the necessary: Even when we’re not jealous of someone else’s talent, we’re often secretly jealous of their success. It IS indeed a waste of time and energy, and keeps us from the work only WE can do. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction!

    1. I really appreciate your comment, Leslie. This wasn’t an easy post to write, but one I felt compelled to share. Every day, God has to remind me afresh of who I am in Christ, as a person, but also as a writer.

  3. Such an important topic for writers. I definitely struggle with jealousy, and find myself time and again asking God to set my heart right, and to follow the path he is leading me down, instead of trying to hop onto someone else’s. Great post, Anita.

    1. Thank you Gillian. Just a few weeks ago, I read your article in Home Life, and was struck with that mix of admiration and a twinge of the green-eyed, at how beautifully you wove the piece together. I appreciate the gift God has given you. Keep writing!

  4. I suffer more from inferiority rather than jealousy.
    We all carry around a large 55-gallon drum of insecurity, don’t we?

      1. Angst seems to be a prerequisite for writers, poets, and artists.

        “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’ve been there before” — JZ

  5. I think we’ve all been snagged by this trap at various times. It’s the same story told in many tongues. If we have curly hair, we want straight and vice versa. Thanks for the reminder that joy, peace, perspective, fulfillment– everything we really crave as authors and as people is found in the One, Jesus Christ!

    1. You are so right, Shellie. Christ is our all-in-all. He’s still the greatest mentor, and I’m so grateful he pulls us out of our self-pity so we can be about our Father’s business.

  6. Anita, so nice to meet you! Thank you for your authenticity.

    I, too, love reading something that makes me laugh. While I may not be able to always write something as humorous, I’m thankful whenever I appreciate the joy that a writer intends to conveys.

    I love your quote: “In business, as in life and love, it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.”

    Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you for your sweet response, Heather. Authenticity is something I strive for, because if I’m not honest about my struggles, how can I relate to anyone else? So your words encourage me greatly.

      As far as the quote, I can’t really take credit. It was one of those light bulb moments, where God’s spirit literally spoke it. And it’s something I wholeheartedly believe in, and live by.

      May God richly bless you in return! Happy writing. 🙂

  7. I’m ducking my head in shame, since I too, have let the green-eyed monster rule me at times when I yearn for literary success. My reminder to myself is that somewhere, someone is waiting to read the words only I can write, because my writing is God’s tool, not mine. Though I still wouldn’t mind a best-seller or two…Your honesty gives me hope, Anita, that I can find peace with what I do, and not envy the accomplishments of others.

  8. Your transparency, and humility give me hope as well, Jan. Isn’t it great to have honest relationships? This is only one of the reasons I love the WordServe family!

  9. I know just how you feel! I have this great friend, who is publishing her first book this year, and I’m SO jealous! I just pray this confession is good for the soul and for our relationship. Seriously, I get in trouble every time I get my eyes off of the Lord, especially when I try to compare myself with some one else. Btw, I really am excited about your upcoming book, AnitaFreshFaith! And kudos to you for your honest and humorous (nice job) approach to this post. Sweet!

  10. I am SO laughing out loud right now, Karen. Your creative flair, wise advice, prayerful heart, and generous spirit continually inspire me to greater heights. I’m so grateful God introduced us, and can’t wait to celebrate your first sell. (Confession is good for the soul, it equips us for solid fresh starts — with fresh faith, of course.) ❤

    1. Go ahead, laugh at your friend when she’s hurting! ;( But thanks for your encouraging words, Coach! And that’s another big RED FLAG for me today from you–three strikes, and you’re OUT! 😉

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