Maybe it's because as writers we share the same devouring need for attention, or praise, or both. And perhaps we secretly believe that there's only so much of that stuff to go around, so we liken it to an equation that might read so:
If she gets x amount of praise times big advance multiplied by Amazon numbers--well, that somehow leaves less for me.
Stated in this manner, we can see how ridiculous it seems. There's certainly enough book love out there to go around, but we all want our share don't we? (Or perhaps more than our share.) And that's where that green-eyed guy tends to rear his ugly head.
With the possible exception of Nora Roberts, none of us is immune,. And we feel it at all levels of our careers. Remember that creative writing class you took in college? Remember how you felt when that one student was singled out for praise? Did you go up to her after class and say, you rock, girl! I'll bet you dollars to donuts you did NOT. (And if you did, you're much too nice to be reading this post.) If you're like me, and I suspect you are, you had at least a moment when your baby blues or browns or hazels glinted with a sickly green glow.
Because it's a natural response. It's not right and it's not becoming, but it's part of the human condition. It's part of our condition as writers. We go to pitch sessions, waiting our turns nervously outside the door, only to see the guy ahead of us emerge with a big grin on his face. And we clench our fists just a little tighter. Our writer friends get agents or contracts or awards before we do--and we're happy for them, because we love them, but that green-eyed imp sits on our shoulders and whispers bitter little nothings into our ears. Is she any more talented than you? Did he really deserve that review in the Times?
The honest answer to those questions is maybe. And the honest response to envy is to acknowledge it. Own it. You might try this little mantra: Yes, I am feeling envious right now and it's not worthy of me. My time will come. My time WILL come.
Repeat as necessary. And then try believing it--because, sweetheart, green is so not your color.
Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. Her new series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her deep appreciation for good food, her pride in her heritage, and her love of classic mysteries, from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a Best Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. The second book in the series, The Wedding Soup Murder, is scheduled for release September 2. An English teacher by day and novelist by night, Rosie also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista. She lives fifty miles from the nearest ocean in central New Jersey, with her husband and two younger sons.