Letting Joy In

Yesterday, a writer friend of mine announced that she signed on with a respectable agent at one of the big publishing houses. I’ve been following her journey since at least 2012. This person is one of the sweetest, hardest working, talented people I have the honor of knowing, even if only a little . I have looked to her as a mentor since I decided to try and carve a  career for myself out of this “whole writing thing”. She was also a major influence in the realization that I write horror, a brave affirmation, given all the misconceptions surrounding the genre. But her dedication is inspiring, and her passion is contagious.

Here’s the kicker. As a fellow writer I should be jealous, right? Shouldn’t I be gnashing my teeth at the fact that I haven’t reached—nay, have not even come close to—that milestone every writer covets, that so many never reach? Believe me, I have felt that green before; I have heard that mean voice in the back of my head telling me I’ll never be that good, or that lucky, that I’ll never make it. But what I felt upon reading this news was not even close to any of that negative white noise.

At first, I was ecstatic about eventually getting to read all of this friend’s works—that’s the reader in me. And then came a wave of joy that almost made me cry. I almost cried for someone that I’ve only met once in real life and talk to rarely. I almost cried for her success, because I am so proud of and happy for her. Yes, this emotion was the writer in me. Maybe it’s just the kind of person she is, maybe this news just caught me on a good day. Either way, I opened myself up to feel the good feelings. And I’m so happy I did.

In my past experience with jealousy and the self doubt that accompanies comparing myself to another’s success, I felt bad afterward, physically drained. Like coming down off a false high fueled by Red Bull (no offense, Red Bull. You got me through many an all-nighter during my graduate years. Just kidding. I fell asleep right after drinking your 11 ouncer). I never imagined how my reaction to another’s success could affect my productivity. But letting this joy in inspired me. I’ve been pretty quiet on the blogging front for some time, trying to come up with a topic, but nothing would stick. As soon as I read this friend’s news and felt my happy feelings, I was mentally composing this blog in my head. And just now, I furiously pecked away at my phone, getting this down as I held one of my six-month-old twins on my knee as she digested her dinner and I consumed mine. Joy inspired me to write despite everything else going on. And not just a blog post, I can’t wait to get to my computer and work on the next chapter of my WIP rewrite.

Will I still have days where the grass seems greener on the other side? Days where I envy someone else’s financial freedom or time to write, or maybe someone else’s right-time-right-place luck. Sure. But whenever I can, I will choose to let the joy in because it feels good. So much better than the negative stuff.

Congratulations on your hard-earned success, my friend. I look forward to reading all of your incredible work.

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13 Responses to Letting Joy In

  1. Aaaaand I’m crying. I don’t even know what to say. This is just the sweetest, most touching thing. You mean the world to me, Ashley. Your encouragement and support have kept me going even when times were tough. And honestly, the fact that you value my experiences has taught me to value them more too. I am so, so glad I got to hug you IRL! 🙂

    Your honesty about the green-eyed monster is important. All writers struggle with this, as far as I know. I certainly have. But you’ve figured out the key: be happy instead. Easier said than done, but so worth learning to do. And, in this case, how wonderful it makes me feel to know that my happy news has made someone else happy too. ❤ All the love, my friend. All of it.

  2. It is much easier said than done, for sure. But I think, sometimes, it really is easier to celebrate another’s success with unadulterated joy versus your own, which is often fraught with doubts, fears, and fine print. I’m sure you know what I mean. But that’s exactly what this is. Pure joy. I am so excited about the possibilities before you. Thanks for all the love. 😀 And for inspiring me.

  3. Can I get in on this love fest??? I had the exact same reaction to your big news, Annie. Pure excitement. I smiled all afternoon. I might have even hopped up and down a little bit. (Which makes me wonder just how much I’ll flip out when this finally happens for me!) And that’s just it. Not only was I celebrating with you and for you, but I was also celebrating for myself and for Ashley and for all my other writer friends, because seeing someone I love hit those big milestones just reaffirms that it’s REAL. It HAPPENS. And someday, hopefully, it will happen for me. In this crazy business, I feel like a win for one of us is a win for all of us. So, Annie, congratulations on your big win. Thank you for sprinkling us with some of your magic fairy dust. And for taking us to WHC with you last year. Now we can officially say we “knew you when.” 🙂

    • Yes! We can say we “knew Annie back when…” I was totally thinking that the whole time. I felt that same feeling, Carie. Excitement at the realness of this possibility of actually BEING a paid-by-one-of-the-big-houses writer one day, because of Annie’s success. Glad you got in on the love fest. Can’t wait to do it for you too! You’re Miss Up and Coming over in your little part of the woods. 🙂 Stop saying yes so often though so you can write the stuff I am already eager to pick up off the Barnes & Noble shelf and read.

    • You two are making me cry AGAIN! Haha! Carie, you’re so sweet. (For the record: you can always get in on the love fest!) I don’t even know what to say. I never would’ve worked up the courage to go to WHC without you two, so any magic fairy dust was totally mutual. And yes it will, absolutely, happen for you — both of you. I’m hoping that ‘someday’ is soon!!

  4. simondewar says:

    heh saw this in my email and was like “That’s totally Annie”. Annie really is a great writer and she’s only going to go from strength to strength. I was happy when I heard Annie’s news, a facto for which I”m glad. I’m finding myself more and more jealous of other people and writer’s successes of late, which is pretty shameful even though I don’t act on it or treat anyone any differently. It’s pretty normal, I think. It’s great you can rise above that or that it doesn’t affect you, especially when people you love and respect are involved. Peace.

    • I’m glad it was obvious who I was talking about. 🙂 And I agree, it’s totally normal. We’re only human after all! But I feel the shame to when I do feel that green beast huffing and stomping. Thank you, Simon.

    • Aw, Simon! Thank you! I struggle with jealousy too — it’s only natural — but knowing that you guys are happy for me instead of green makes my joy twice as sweet. Kindness begets kindness, and good begets good. I’ve been in the trenches for so long; don’t forget that all the good news you hear (from everyone) is almost certainly preceded by heaps and heaps of bad news that didn’t stop them. Just keep at it; your time will come! ❤

  5. dgkaye says:

    We are all unique. We work different ways and write in different genres. We have nothing to be jealous about. Good for you. I’m always so happy for my writer friend’s accomplishments. And it’s nice to know I have their kudos and support too. Nobody knows a writer’s life better than a writer. We are each other’s community. We get what we give back. So in our due turns, good karma will come back to us. 🙂


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