I am an avid reader of other writer's blogs. I do this as a networking project but also I like to read about the tears, the laughter, the joys of other writer's journies on this merry-go-round that is getting published. With so much success comes the inevitable envy of your friends. I feel it everytime I open an email and see the 'woohoo' or the 'sqeeeeee' in the top few lines and know that yet another person has published or sold another book or won another conpetition but I also believe that everything happens for a reason. There are still so many things I don't know about being a published and successful author that I need to learn. I don't know I don't know half of this stuff but that is why I am with Romance Writer's of Australia and South Australian Romance Authors. It's why I cross half the country for the conference and attend one day seminars and road shows. It's why I read blogs and buy lecture packets.
Those who know me personally know I didn't finish high school, I got distracted by something shiny and dropped out. I think this journey is kind of like high school but without all the bitchiness and backstabbing. This time we all help each other to succeed. We offer amazingly insightful advice and commiserations, we chat about failure as much as we do about success and we are happy to do it. There are no worries about bra sizes, no pissing contests, no worries that we aren't advancing at the same rate as our friends. There is only an easy comraderie among people who are passionate about the same things. I don't know if it's like that for other people in these wonderful organisations but that's what it's like for me. Without their knowledge and support I would have sent out my very first pirate novel not knowing about POV, how long my chapters should be, that not once in the book do I let the reader know what kind of ship my characters are on or that you wouldn't have had oranges growing on the coast of what is now Brazil at the time the ship wrecked. Agents and editors would remember my name because they opened my attachment and laughed their asses off, if they got the attachment at all... The 'like highschool' part comes from the learning and the editing and all the little things that you probably wouldn't have spent the time on but are more important than starting the story in the first place. If you don't finish it, you may as well have never began...
Please don't be a person who lets envy or jealousy drive the creative process. Usually I would say do whatever works, whatever makes you tick, but in this case, I can't see envy getting you closer to the goal posts. It will come out in your words, in your dialogue, in your characters and their story. Take a minute (and a handful of choc chip cookies) to be envious of others but then tuck it in bottom drawer (not the one with your resting manuscripts) and forge on!
I wrote the following response on one of my several loops and it opened my own eyes as I wrote it. In the end I was going to delete it and leave it at that but then I decided sometimes words just need to be said...
'Getting a R means you had something you believed in enough to send out to all those agents and publishing houses (and that you finished it). Having your own blog means you have the confidence that you will one day get to where you're going. If you didn't believe that, you wouldn't tell the world about your failures today. Tomorrow, one of those R's will turn to a big fat pay cheque but there will always be someone out there that you watch who does better, gets paid more, sells more books and you will still feel like you do now. I only say this because I watch celebs like Angelina Jolie and I want that body, that money, that success (maybe without the psycho craziness) I watch the people around me getting contracts and publishing their books but they aren't me. They don't write like I do and they don't have to write with what I have. We are all unique and the only way to measure success is in your own eyes, not someone elses.'
I really feel at this stage that the reason it takes some of us so long to be published is that we aren't ready. Maybe the writing is right up there with the top sellers but that little tiny thing holding us back, that little thing we don't know we don't know, is the one thing we need to find out in order to grab the attention of an agent or editor.
Sorry to get so deep on this beautiful Easter Saturday morning, must have been dreaming I was Dr Phil again =)