professional jealousy

I was going to put up pictures of my Utah trip, but alas, Techno Bob is on a scout camp-out with one of the offspring, and I am pathetically unable to upload pictures onto my blog. (And no, I don’t know how to work my cell phone or our DVD player either. I have mastered the toaster, even though it came with three additional buttons that didn’t used to be on our older, less techno-savvy toaster. Seriously, the new one has a cancel button–I suppose for people who change their mind about making toast and want to retrieve their uncrispened bread, yet have never figured out how to flip the toast lever up.)

However an interesting subject came up on one of the writers’ lists I’m on. Someone who hasn’t seen any nibbles on their novel was bemoaning the fact that a high school friend submitted a book to an agent and two weeks later had a contract.

Yeah, that happens. And it’s hard.

I remember how badly I wanted to be published. It wasn’t just a want–like you want ice cream, or you want that new dress. It was an actual physical ache that I couldn’t really explain to anyone else or to myself.

Pre-published authors tend to see that book contract–or better yet, that fresh new book–as the finish line: the accomplishment of the goal.

It’s not though. It’s just the beginning.

And that whole jealousy/want cycle doesn’t end when you get published.

Once you’re published you’ll have friends that get this award or that award, or the book tour, or that speaking engagement, or that movie deal, or that Newbery, or hit the bestsellers list, or um, get constantly compared to J.K. Rowling. (And yes, in fact I did know both Shannon Hale and Stephenie Meyer before they became ultra-famous.) And I don’t think any of us want our friends not to do well, we’re thrilled when they do, we just feel a little left behind.

For me, I’ve decided that it’s much more important for there to be good literature out there for kids than it is for me to be famous/rich/compared to JK Rowling. I have a good life, a wonderful family, a husband who loves me and who thankfully can support our family. I have no cause at all to complain. So I can applaud the success of all of the authors that I love and realize that all gifts (talents) no matter how big or how small are equally important if we’re striving to make the world a better place. It’s like the parable of the widow’s mite. I may only have two pence to contribute but it’s still enough.