What Are Your Thoughts On Professional Jealousy Amongst Writers?

Hi All,

Came across this post from '09 on Steph in the City's blog. Wanted to share it.


What are your thoughts about jealousy, especially when it comes to writers?

Best Wishes!




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Hell, I'm jealous every time I come on this bloody site and I see all the published writers here! But I reckon without that jealousy I probably wouldn't work so hard to get better. So it's probably a good thing.
Jessica whenever you can use any emotion as something positive, it's wonderful!

Best Wishes!
Well, obviously you should ignore this. And by the way, to some degree envy continues even after publication.
I haven't really encountered or experienced it much in the genre world, thank God, but it's one of the main reasons I took a long break from the very competitive world of poetry careerism. In the poetry world there's a lot of undignified scrambling after little bits of money and prestige, and it's all dependent on the approval of an entrenched old-boy/girl network. Jealousy and bitterness ensue, as do epic bouts of ass-kissing, because not getting the prize means not winning the approval, and vice versa. The fiction universe, whether it's literary or genre, has at least an element of meritocracy--your old grad-school mentor might be able to help you get an agent, but they probably can't get you a big book contract and a movie deal--that stuff happens in a professional realm and is based on the apparent commercial value of the work. Poetry has no commercial value, so other kinds of currency come into play. That said, I've been very lucky in both worlds: I make a living teaching mostly poetry, after sll, and my genre career has also been a (modest) success so far. Still, one wishes for more--maybe the next book will make me a big star, or the next. But I'm not holding my breath.
Jon, you wanna be a big star? Screw the writing and make a sex tape! You'd be big as Michael Jackson overnight! LOL!

I admit I don't have ties to the poetry world but what you said interested me. I didn't realize it was like that in the poetry world. I always saw poets as so supportive of each other, even more than writers, LOL. Might sound cheesy but most people see poets as such frees spirits, sitting around the campfire singing folk songs of love and harmony and throwing up flowers, LOL. That's how the realm of poetry seems to be. But like I said, wouldn't know not being in that circle. I do and have known some poets here and there. Some have stopped writing poetry because they've gotten disheartened and felt they weren't getting anywhere. Writing is tough but poetry is even tougher. That's a very hard thing to get into but I do think if you stick with it, hopefully the rewards will come.

Now you got me wanting to ask my poetry friends about jealousy, LOL!

Best Wishes!

Stacy--I'm talking career academic poets here, the folks who publish with university presses, win Guggenheims and get residencies at fancy art colonies. There may be poets who sit around campfires singing folk songs, but I've never met any (okay, I take that back--I work with one, but he's a total throwback). Mostly they do yoga and twelve-step programs and have a lot of really fraught sex with each other in Brooklyn apartments. I always had a lot more fun hanging around with fiction writers (better stories) and visual artists (better drugs).
Oh okay (winking). I got'cha, Jon! LOL!
I think "envy" is an okay feeling -- because someone is somewhere that we want to be. Combine it with "admiration" and I think you have a winner. "Jealousy" has a negative connotation, so I think it's best avoided. It can almost be as if you want to be there INSTEAD of the other person, or wish the other person hadn't achieved whatever he/she achieved, if you can't have it, too. Anything that motivates a person is good...but I think keeping it as positive as possible is the best way to go.
I like this thought, Scott. I didn't read the article (I've been slammed with deadlines and other stuff this past week), but I definitely don't see publishing as a zero-sum game. It's doesn't have to be you OR me; it can be you AND me. Here's wishing big success for all of us!
Right on! :)
I'll drink to that, Karen. Or I would, anyway, if it wasn't 9:00 a.m.
New routine?


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