Turn it into hope.
Hope is a pretty undervalued aspect of writing. It can’t do the work for you, but it can make the work go a helluva lot more smoothly.
I rely a great deal upon hope to make a living with my writing. When I look ahead to my future, if I don’t hold onto a hefty dose of hope, I’ll drown in anxiety. Without hope, I worry about what I’m going to write next. And I can’t even imagine doing what I’m doing for another week. Not to mention another month or more.
The truth, of course, is that I’ve been writing like this for about 16 months.
And I constantly think to myself that there’s no way I can keep coming up with new stories. But I keep doing it anyway.
Here’s the thing. It’s really easy to freeze up in uncertainty and feel helpless. It’s even worse when you start looking around at what everybody else is doing. And then you begin to feel that all-too familiar feeling of jealousy.
You look at your work, and then you look at theirs. You see other writers making better money than you or enjoying greater opportunities. You wish you knew how to do what they’re doing. Maybe it starts to feel a little unfair.
Jealousy is perfectly natural.
I have a hard time believing anyone who says they don’t get jealous. Jealousy is as primal and natural as anger, love, or sadness. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling jealous because all that really matters is how you deal with those feelings.
Jealousy can also make you feel like shit, but you don’t have to take it.
There’s one key way to use jealousy to your advantage: you let it fuel your hope.
Rather than allowing jealousy to make you bitter and eat away at you, you can lean into those jealous feelings and let them inspire you. This is how I regularly deal with my jealousy.
When I see other folks achieve something that I want, I don’t let it eat me up inside. Instead, I look at it as them showing me what’s even possible. Looking at other people’s success could make me feel bad about my own work. But clearly, there’s no joy in that.
Reframing my jealousy into hope and inspiration works every time to pull me out of an envious funk. Have you tried it? It’s pretty hard to feel like crap when you’re genuinely grateful to the people who are achieving the same kind of success you want.
Appreciate the people who have been where you want to be.
They are giving you a great glimpse of what’s possible, and even paving the way for you, so to speak.
A lot of creatives get caught up in the notion that if somebody has done something that they want to do, they can’t do it too. Writers worry about having unique ideas but the reality is that we all feed off of each other. There comes a point where you just can’t worry about being special anymore.
You’ve got to use up your ideas and see what happens. That’s exactly what those people who inspire your jealousy are doing anyway.
Every successful writer is really just taking it one day at a time. They let hope carry them forward. Nobody really knows where their work is going to take them.
I am so grateful for every writer ahead of me who’s shown me that it’s possible to do what you love and make a good living along the way. I appreciate those who make me want to become a better writer. I know that I’ve still got plenty to learn from them.
So, rather than getting all bent out of shape over the folks who seem to be doing so much better than you, let them show you how it’s done. It’s way more helpful than drowning in your jealousy.