Hey JealousyOctober 25, 2012 - Author: emily.timbol - 1 Comment
I need to confess something (other than the fact I’m stealing my friend Travis Mamone’s blog post from yesterday.)
I’m really struggling with jealousy.
Specifically, jealousy of other authors, that I either professionally or personally have associations with, in the literary Christian world. Jealousy of their success, careers, talent, and attention garnered.
The jealousy came to a head today. Exactly one month ago I did something perhaps a bit foolish, and sent out a few queries to my “wishlist” agents. The ones that represented authors I greatly admired, who wrote in a similar style, or of topics like mine. Instead of sending out a few hundred agent queries, and dealing with the rejection/silence/fruition less responses of those first, and THEN moving onto my “dream” agents, I just went for it. Once I hit “sent”, all I had to do was wait 30 days. Probably less, I thought, since obviously I was an amazing writer (two adverbs in that sentence, yes I’m aware.) And then today, crickets. No e-mail. No response. Nothing.
To top that off, it’s been a month since a good friend of mine sent an e-mail about me and my book to her agent, and agent’s assistant. Not only did this friend, who’s an accomplished author and actress, put herself on the line for me, but she did it without me asking. No reply there either. I’ve had to fight the feeling that if that kind of recommendation doesn’t result in a response, I’m never going to get one.
While I’ve been wallowing today, I’ve also been e-stalking some of my favorite authors. Looking their books up on Amazon, reading review after review, and envying their bountiful number of Twitter followers.
Not only is it pathetic, it’s unwarranted. My writing instructor, who thoroughly chewed me out the last time I wrote a whiny blog about not being published, told me if I’m going to make it, I need to accept that there are years of this ahead of me. Years. Month after month of rejection, silence, and seething envy of my friends success.
No one told me this is what being a writer entailed. Well, maybe they did. I just didn’t listen.
The fall to Earth, off of the pedestal I’d flown myself up onto, is the worst. I’d started to think so highly of myself and my writing, that it shocked me when agents weren’t falling over themselves to offer me contracts. My sense of entitlement was weighing me down. Stupidly, I’d convinced myself that I was different. The exception to the rule all authors know, that success is only reached after years, and years of work and heartache. If it’s ever reached at all.
So where do I go from here? Not off a bridge, thankfully. But only because I’m not alone. As easy as it is for me to forget this, my struggle is far from my own. So many other writers labor away in unsatisfying day jobs, waiting for a big break that may never come. Instead of focusing on the few who have made it big, I should be focusing on the things I’ve accomplished. Of course, as soon as I do that, I’m reminded, with a huge slap to the face, that this journey is not one I’ve made by myself. It’s one I’ve only been able to do, thanks to friends who’ve helped me out, and took risks for me.
And of course, that brings me to the biggest thing I keep forgetting that should be my focus. This isn’t about me. It’s about bringing God glory, and fighting for justice for my friends that have been hurt by the church. It’s about Honoring the gifts He’s given me. Figuring out my purpose.
Maybe His plan in all this is to teach me humility, through never ever getting published (I almost cried writing that.) Or maybe (dear God please) it’s to teach me reliance on Him, and patience for something I want more than anything else, that will eventually come. Some day.
Either way, I’m reminded by Travis’s post, and the wisdom of my writing coach, that this is a journey I’m just starting. There’s miles more ahead.