Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jealous? Hell, yeah!

These days I came across a piece from a fellow writer that astounded me. I'm afraid I can't tell whether its fiction or non fiction, prose or poetry, but suffice to say that I felt jealous of the quality therein.

I had never felt like this before. I thought I'd never feel this way. I thought myself above these "petty" feelings, and then BANG!

I hate when this happens. However, this is one of those opportunities I grab with both hands.

"Have you noticed that you often contradict yourself? This is getting annoying," you say.

Heh, indeed. Why would someone hold to a supposedly bad feeling?

Well, it's not to the feeling that I cling to, mind, it's to discovering a new aspect of myself.

Right, I know this is not a pleasant one, but although I dabble with fantasy and science fiction in my writing, when it comes to real life I'm very realistic. It doesn't mean that I know immediately how to deal with it, though. So I thought that by asking others how they coped with it I might not feel so bad about myself and move on to working and improving my own stuff. ;)

So, would you help me out on this? Have you ever felt jealous of someone else's work? If yes, how did you manage it?

Note: I meant to leave this post dry of pictures, but then I came across the painting "Jealous Zebras" and I couldn't resist putting here. Too darn fitting! heh

Edited to add: The artist who created this fabulous painting is Eira Fogelberg. Thanks to @virtualDavis for sharing this information and linking back here. :) You can visit his Posterous blog if you like. It's has much in common with Randomities, heh.


  1. Hmmm. I hope all those sweet and happy awards won't be revoked after this dreadful confession, heh. ;P

  2. Not a dreadful confession at all! What I think is that the "jealousy" you feel is not the one associated with ill will and other bad things.

    I feel that your jealousy is more akin to the wow-I-wish-I-had-written-that school.

    I have not felt jealous of other writers. I have felt amazed by the good quality of the work, sad that mine is lacking, but--ultimately--inspired to keep on trying.

    So, Mari-girl, you can keep all the awards because if there's one thing I know, it's that you are nothing but generous with your support, praise, and good will!

    And I love the jealous zebras. :D

  3. Of course you keep your awards. I'm afraid a lot of us would have to line up to give them back, if jealousy made them void ;) I get jealous all the time. Usually, I just acknowledge that I'm feeling that way and move past it. I try not to think about the possibility my writing might never be so good as the object of my emotion...yeah, I'm a coward, LOL.

  4. Sometimes it is just a matter of someone putting down in words what you already knew. In that case you are only jealous they wrote it first. On the other hand, if the person wrote it better than you could have, I quite understand your jealousy. Haha

  5. Of COURSE I get jealous. And then I work harder to make the rest of the world jealous of me.

    btw, we're writers. Of course we're full of contradictions.

  6. Love the picture :)

    I have so many bloggy friends who write well - I'm so often in awe of their skills. I've learned to just enjoy!

  7. Thanks so much guys, for sharing your own confessions and opinions with me, publicly no less! :D

    --Mari-girl (Marisa): You know me more than I thought! Cool!

    Thanks so much for your support, you warm my heart. :)

    --Madison: You're all but a coward! I think your approach is the best one, in the sense of moving past it, but I'm with Susan as to work harder afterwards. ;)

    --Lyle: I hope that some day I'll be able to write at least as well as the writer who triggered my fleeting moment of jealousy. heh ;P

    As for writing something I had in mind first, I don't think it was the case, or even that I'd feel jealous if it were. I'd probably feel sad that the person had been faster than I, that's all. (or I'd like to think so; who knows, lol)

    --Susan: You rock woman!

    Gee, I'm so repetitive, lol. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :)

    --Jemi: You're very wise. When I'm not bugged by their awesome skill as in this case, I try not only to enjoy the writing, but also learn from it. ;)

    Hmm, yeah. I guess "awe" is a prettier word to describe my felling. At least it's not petty, yes? heh

  8. Jealousy is perfectly natural. It's what you do with it that counts. Get bitter and depressed and it does you no good. Use it as a standard to aim for, and it can help you :)

    I get jealous of good writers all the time. You are not alone!

  9. --Merrilee: I guess all I needed was someone telling me that I can quit worrying and be a normal person, heh. Thank you for that! :)

  10. I think it's natural to feel this way. But truly, one of the greatest compliments you can give another writer is to say, "I wish I had written that." But like Merrilee said, the key is not to get bitter. Which I don't think you are. You strike me as a totally non-bitter person ;)

    BUT, oh my word, there are times when I have thought, why can't I do that? Why haven't I done that? Why didn't I think to do that.

    Totally normal. And I shall now tweet.

    by the way, I am a total flake and only just came across a comment you left on someone else blog--and then realized you had your own blog. I'm following you on Twitter, but never thought to check for you blog. :( Sorry about that. But, I'm now a follower. Totally remedied.

  11. -- Carolina: Thanks for the non-bitter compliment. I indeed do my best to pass by any hurtful moments without letting them hang with me. :)

    Also, MANY thanks for the follow, the tweet and your general kindness. Cheers to commenting and connecting with people! heh

  12. All right. 1st to say jealous??!?!? He'll yeah I feel jealous!! All the time. And I hate seeing it in the perfect imaginary person I see meself to be. 2nd It ALWAYS shoots me in the direction of I can do better. I think it's a combo between genuinly admiring someone else and upping your own game.

    I still feel tinged of guilt but try to refocus it into something good, which has nothing to do with wishing any I'll on the other person.

    But what do you have to be jealous of?? x, K

  13. Yes yes yes! :) hehe OK, I know that was a bit strong but I’m glad you brought this “taboo” up… I think every writer experiences this one way or another at a certain time in his /her career. You read a story, an article, a book and go, “oh man! This is amazing- why didn’t I think of this” or “why can’t I write this well?” and the way I see it there are two ways to deal with this kind of emotion; one is to let that jealousy take over you and even block you the next morning when you sit down to write or- you can use it to motivate yourself, try and work harder, improve your writing…

    And I have to say, I LOVED the zebras :)

  14. First of all, I always feel jealous to other writer. Even after reading your article, I feel fear to comment. If I made any wrong in my bad english.

  15. -- Kristi (howdidyougetthere) and Lua: Thanks for sharing! I guess you both have something very positive in common: you not only notice your own feelings without fear or judgment, but you take action upon them; a constructive action no less.

    I want to be like you when I grow up? Kidding, hehe, but I do relate with you, and I think I can manage to go with this route. It seems to be the best one. :)

    -- Maya: Thank you so much for not only visiting, but also being brave and leaving a comment. I appreciate this more than you imagine! :D

    Don't you worry about "bad" English or anything of the sort. This is not a 'judgmental place' (if there's such thing, heh), quite the contrary. ;)

    Please fell absolutely free to share your thoughts, ask questions, etc. You're most welcome here!

  16. I see that my auto speller changed a lot of my words, but I think you get my drift. I think we all do better when we're a tiny bit, or even a lot, dissatisfied, or off balance.

    Again never wishing any one else ill will, just the opposite. They are like the rabbit we are all trying to keep up with. Thank God for them!

  17. Gosh, Mari, yes. I struggle really really hard with jealousy. There are three of my fellow members of Year Zero (Daisy, Oli, and Penny) I almost can't read because they write exactly the kind of thing I try and write yet their ear and their feel have something about them that I know I could never emulate. I come away thinking you know what, I will never ever be capable of that. There have been times it's stopped me writing altogether for weeks. I try - but it's a daily struggle - to turn the desperation into inspiration but yes, it's hard. It helps they are such lovely people I could never begrudge them their brilliance, but that doesn't mean the self-doubt doesn't come, and come in floods - but in the long run I know that being exposed to their writing will make my own writing better- even if it will never match theirs.

  18. -- Kristi: Thanks for coming back and clarifying. Indeed I had understood that you never meant ill to anyone (I wouldn't expect anything different from you, heh :), but it was good that you elaborated the off balance remark.

    I don't think I've ever thought of that before. It's an interesting reasoning this one: you feel the twinge when someone else's work is so good that puts you off balance, consequently pushing you forward to improve yourself.

    I'm thinking:

    balance = stability = minor achievement

    On the other hand:

    twinge -> off balance -> fast forward! heh ;)

    -- Dan (Agnieszkas Shoes): Yeah, I know how you feel. In that brief moment of insecurity (add a whole mix of other feelings here) I've also doubted myself.

    I wrote this post right away because I knew that if I didn't, I'd remain chewing it all by myself, which would certainly generate an undesirable result. I don't know which result would that be and don't intend to find out, heh.

    To the contrary of you (if I understood you well) I don't think on matching the quality of writing of people I admire. For me, at least, it'd mean comparing myself to them, which would only pull me down. I do look up to some people, but I try to focus on developing a unique writing style (so-called voice), and, of course, quality. Me, pretentious? Nah! heh

    I love when you comment Dan, as you always add information and make me think. I value this much! ;)

  19. Damn! I wish I'd written this post. :)

  20. -- Darrelyn (ficwriter): Best response ever, lol!

  21. :) thank you.

    I would love love love to aspire to do something unique, and I wrestle with it every day but I end up with my head in my hands wondering if new voice has emerged in the last hundred years, and if it hasn't then what chance do I have? So instead I try just to do the very best I can with the subject matter I have - and try try try to push it to the edges of what's possible - and then I read something by one of those guys and I realise my "edges" are somewhere slap bang in the middle of normal. But I'm not going to give up :)

  22. --Dan: Damn right you're not giving up! ;P

    I ask you: what is a new voice? Aren't we all unique? Don't our cultural background, likes and dislikes, mannerisms, life experiences etc. reflect in our writing? In my opinion, this mixture, plus a writing style, compose "the voice".

    So, everyone has a voice. I think that it all comes down to us being comfortable with our writing style. (well, plus the minor detail of quality, heh) When it becomes fluid we become comfortable with the way we express ourselves. This is called finding our voice, don't you agree?

    I have the feeling that you already found yours Dan, but you're not quite aware of it yet. ;) So, if you haven't read it, I'd like to point you to one of the latest posts of Landless, Tony Noland's blog: Rule #1 - You Must Write

    Here something he said in a comment that rang me as true, and you might like, although the whole post is equally inspiring:

    It's funny... when I stopped worrying about Finding My Voice and just started writing regularly, I think my Voice found me.

    Hell yeah! heh :)

  23. Hi, Mariblaser:
    I don't think we can help feeling jealous once in a while.
    I paint, & when I see wonderful paintings at my art school I sometimes feel jealous for not working harder myself; but the important thing is to concentrate on YOUR OWN work - & work hard;it's the doing that makes us happy.

  24. --Merillion: Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I agree with you that the best way to deal with jealousy is to focus o our own work and work harder. :)

    See, it's about time that I put this great advice in practice. Off to write something! heh

  25. I saw someone's writing that made me feel just as you described. I took the opportunity to try and understand what about their passage made me swoon and see if I couldn't add that spice into my own writing.

  26. --Aidan: Sounds like the perfect strategy. I'm yet to go back and reread the piece that made me jealous. I didn't have the heart to do so when I wrote this post, heh.


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