Being Happy for Each Other

December 12, 2011

While standing in the paint department at Lowes yesterday, I read an email that made me cry. A writer friend signed a deal for a series with a big NY publisher, and she has a film agent, who will be shopping the series as soon as edits are done. I cried, because I was…


I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought I cried because I was jealous. There’s a lot of that going around in the publishing world. It’s hard to celebrate someone else when you’re crying in your wine (don’t look at me) over another blasted rejection (stop looking at me). But it’s not hard to celebrate someone else if you keep a few things in mind.

  1. We’re different. Lord, that sounds overly simplistic, but sometimes it’s the simple things we forget. We’re all writing different things, even if we are writing in the same genre. We have different styles, different voices, different processes and different goals. (The last one’s a big deal.) Why do we compare our achievements—or lack of—with others’ accomplishments when it’s like comparing apples to oranges? It’s like comparing rate of promotion at a plastics plant with rate of promotion at an ice cream parlor. Sure, these people share the fact that they work and they earn paychecks, which they want to see increase, but that’s about it in the similarities department. Apples to oranges. We write. We want to be published. But the similarities end there. Next time we hear about a fellow writer’s success, let’s try not to take it personally. Different people. Different paths.
  2. Published writing is no more vital than unpublished writing. The words in our heads must come out. Just because an agent or editor doesn’t validate those words with a contract doesn’t mean they aren’t important words, words that needed to be written. We must stop needing permission from outside sources to enjoy writing. When we attach a monetary need to our writing, we must admit we’ve changed the game and we must accept those changes. Writing for a paycheck is a totally different beast. We need to be honest about our reasons for writing and understand that our reasons will propel our rate and results when it comes to publication.
  3. Big leap or little step…progress is progress. While we compare ourselves to others, we waste time in which one more sentence could be written, one more chapter edited. No one can publish the words in our heads. We have to get them out in order to have a chance. And as long as we’re still writing, one word at a time, we keep the dreams alive.

4 Responses to “Being Happy for Each Other”

  1. I’m always excited when someone I know gets the call. I find it motivating. These are my friends…real people, if they can do it, I can too….and heck we can all use more published connections!!!

  2. Elley, I couldn’t agree with you more. Personally I find other’s success stories incredibly motivating. Always spurs me on to push myself that little bit harder 🙂

  3. Congratulations to your writer friend! I love hearing about other people’s success stories, especially when there are so few of them to go around. And I love your post on why it’s important to celebrate and be happy for other writers.

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I agree that success can be motivating, especially when it happens to a write who has struggled or beat the odds in some other way.


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