November 9, 2021
by Samantha Hoffman
I think we writers often look ahead and think _______________________ (fill in the blank from Column A below) when I _______________________ (fill in the blank Column B below).
|COLUMN A||COLUMN B|
|My life will be perfect||Finish my (great American) novel|
|My goals will be met||Find an agent|
|I'll be happier||Get a book deal from a publisher|
|I'll find love||Am paid a large advance from said publisher|
|I'll have fans all over the world||See my book on the New York Times best seller list|
It's important to dream. And really...how hard can it be? If _____________ (fill in the blank) can do it, why can't I?
Many of us suffer from author envy at some time or another, even the most successful of us, because are we ever good enough? We envy the one who finished their book before us or got it published first or finished a second book or got 10 great reviews on Amazon or a book review in The New York Times...
I confess, I envy my friend Ann Garvin. She's not the only writer-friend I envy but I'll tell you about Ann because she is living the life I want to live: she has four published books and another in the works, she has an agent and publisher who believe in her, they want her to keep writing and they're paying her to do so. Not to mention that she's a USA Today bestselling author and she has great hair.
Because Ann is a dear friend of mine I know this life isn't all champagne and balloons. It's hard work. Writing a novel is a bitch. You need little things like interesting characters and a story arc and conflict and...well, you know. When Ann tells me about the pages she received from her editor with red notes on every page I think, "Wah, wah, wah. You have an editor and a publisher. They want your work to be the best it can be so they can sell millions of copies."
Actually, I say that to her and she says, "Yeah, I know." Because she's talented and she knows how lucky she is and she's grateful.
She worked hard for it. Here's why she's successful:
She never gave up
She kept writing even when it was hard or she felt uninspired
She believes in herself
And she's going to kill me for this post. But it's all to say that while it's okay to envy other writers, you can actually be that person. The grass is always greener and all that, but it doesn't green-up all by itself. Use that person as a role model. Follow their lead. Do what they do.
I'm going to be Ann Garvin when I grow up (without the great hair).
In case you think it's easy, read Ann's blog post about working on her latest novel (the post is poignant and entertaining, and stick with it because the writing lesson is at the end):
Here's a Story I Don't Tell Very Often
by Ann Garvin
BTW, you can meet Ann at Let's Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference. She's one of our most popular presenters.
Writer, editor, artist, personal assistant, private chef, runner (8-time marathoner), film and theatre buff, traveler… Author of What More Could You Wish For (St. Martin's Press).
V.P. of the Chicago Writers Association, Executive Director of Let's Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference.
Visit me at www.samanthahoffman.com
Read my latest short story, Only One Syllable, published by Hypertext Magazine.
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