Why Befriending Writers Should Bring Out the Competitor in You (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

Author’s Note: Another first Wednesday of the month, another post for The Insecure
Writer’s Support Group
. Be sure to check out the many other writers participating in this blog hop. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for leading the IWSG.

This Blogging Things Works Wonders! (Insecure Writer's Support Group)

 

Like me, many of you are no doubt friends with authors. Some of those friendships are mere acquaintances, perhaps, others closer than that. It seems obvious, of course, to be a writer and have friends that are also writers. I mean, why not surround yourself with those who understand why it is you delve deep into your prose, obsessing over the rhythms and cadence of every sentence?

I am inspired by my writer friends. They too have embraced the self-publishing wave, opting to become their own imprint. From their footsteps, I was inspired to take my own leap into the self-publishing world. Many of my writer friends helped me along the way, and continue to do so.

But I confess to being envious. Envious of the plaudits they’ve received, and the attention they’ve garnered elsewhere. However, I am not a man who wallows in jealousy. It’s a stupid, pointless emotion that gets you nowhere. If I’m envious, it only fuels my competitive streak. So when a friend gets a great review on Goodreads, I am excited for them, but there’s a part of me that says, “C’mon, Gus, you can do better!”

That I can do better doesn’t mean I want to one-up my writer friends in the my-book-got-better-reviews-than-yours, or, “Hey, look, my short story got picked up by Glimmer Train, and yours didn’t, NYEAH NYEAH NYEAH NYEAH!!!” It means I have to work harder, and write better. That competitive streak has fueled me to crank out more than 10 short stories in the past couple of months, as well as plug forward with my work-in-progress.

My point is we should draw inspiration from our fellow writers, because we share the same trials and tribulations, as well as the triumphs. And it doesn’t hurt being competitive with one another, as long as that competitive nature fuels your creativity, not your jealousy.

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14 thoughts on “Why Befriending Writers Should Bring Out the Competitor in You (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

  1. Hi Gus. I like the distinction you’re making here. Of course, there’s also the option of looking at your friends and concluding that you are hopeless, and should go get a job at Starbucks. That’s the one I have to watch out for!

    • I definitely think of it as motivation, especially when it’s late at night and I’m fighting sleep. I like what you wrote, it explains how nicely the counterbalance of the two work with one another.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Green with envy just never worked for me. I always feel like I need to one-up someone, but I know to reel myself in and channel that competitive nature into something creative, and not a statement of gamesmanship.

  2. I would hope that one friend’s success would push another to step up their game. I’ve seen that happen where one member of a group self-publishes their book and the others follow along soon after. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen jealousy rear its ugly head and get that person pushed out of the group.

    • I agree there’s a bit of that tit-for-tat that takes place, only because we’ve shown that self-publishing can be done by just about anyone, as long as you have the patience and the bandwidth to do it. I’ve also seen what you’ve seen, from a personal perspective: a few friends and I decided to create our own imprint, and solicited submissions from fellow writers for an anthology. One writer’s work wasn’t up to snuff, and we had to break it to him that his work wasn’t going to be published in the anthology, and he accused us of favortism. It got ugly only because he was immature in his reaction to his rejection.

  3. Other authors have inspired me, probably since I was old enough to read. Their successes keep me inspired, but every now and then…that ‘green’ pang reminds me I have a LONG way to go. I love your stick-to-it attitude, Gus.

    • Of course we have a long way to go. Writing is about the process, not the end result. Too many people are focused on the end result, which is success, and not the process, which is all the hours and hours and hours we spend honing our craft (I hate the word “craft,” but there it is) until we get it right, and then we do it all over again. That’s why I stick to it. Maybe it’s the project manager in me, who’s fixated on processes, but the process is way more important to me than the end result.

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