This whole business of being a writer is kinda screwy. Especially when you consider the freelancing aspect of the thing. Obviously, the universal goal of us writing types is success in our field. I guess my question for you is: How does the success of other writers make you feel?
When you hear or read of another writer having a post go viral, or when you hear of another writer landing a big, juicy gig you can fall into one of two groups, me thinks. Either you’re jealous of the rotten so-and-so and it bogs you down, or, you’re inspired that a writer has made the big time and you feel hope for your future.
If you’re jealous
Okay, it’s a natural reaction. Most writers are human and are subject to human emotions. It’s what you do with the jealousy that’s important. If you become apoplectic and pace the living room in a slow simmering funk then the only writer you are hurting is yourself. Letting the success of another block your writing is not the way to go. Acknowledging how you feel allows you to move on that much sooner. And it is critically important to move on. Stuff that green headed monster in your ruk-sack and carry it around if you must, but pay it little attention.
At some point, you may want to take the time to examine where the jealousy comes from. Now, if it turns out you’re jealous because you know the creep and they couldn’t write their way out of a paper bag then that’s one thing. Otherwise, reflecting on why you feel this way can be healthy for you and your inner writer.
If you’re inspired
Well, good on ya, then. In an ideal world, this is how everyone would feel about the success of others. Feeling this way shows you have a certain level of confidence in your writing ability. It also shows a maturity level that’s appropriate. Using the success of others to laser-focus your writing creates a tremendous power potential that cannot be ignored.
Being inspired by the success of others has no downside. It will take you to higher planes and ensure your future success. The “If they can do it, then I can do it” mentality has a place in this highly competitive world of freelance writing.
Where do I fall in this continuum? Somewhere in the middle is the short answer. Often, my initial reaction is, “How did that sonofagun land that gig?” I’m usually over it in pretty short order though, and I retreat back into my writing world and move forward. I think in the back of my mind I become a bit inspired by knowing that there is plenty of room out there for good writers and that my time will come.