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.