Other People’s Success
Although being a writer is, largely, a solitary pursuit, in today’s wonderful, technologically driven age of instant communication and social networking, we are, despite that, never truly alone.
As a result of this we all have a number of writer friends (even if we have never met) who are striving along the same path as us and seeking the same (or at least, similar) goals. Some ahead of us, leading the way and others behind, hopefully being guided in some small way by our actions, successes and, yes, even failures.
Inevitably, many of the people we are sharing this road with will have success (of whatever degree) before we do.
How does that make you feel?
There is a possibility, maybe even a likelihood, that it could make you feel jealous. Angry, even? You see other people getting the breaks and the recognition that you think you deserve, so why should it be them?
Do you feel that way when you see other people’s success? If you do, then perhaps writing isn’t for you?
Although a solitary experience, writing is also a shared experience in this day and age. If we can’t celebrate the successes of friends or colleagues, regardless of our own, we are probably in the wrong “job”.
When I started out about five years ago, I was in a rush to “make it”; to get writing and get noticed. Seeing other people successful was frustrating. I never begrudged anyone that success, but I did find myself wishing it was me. I shook that feeling very quickly as I realised you just can’t think like that, it will just poison you to true personal and professional development as a writer. It’s a waste of energy that you could be using to write.
I got to thinking about this yesterday after seeing a series of tweets about the 2016 Bitch List, a celebration of some of the best women-centric screenplays currently doing the rounds. I recognised a number of names on the list and, instead of feeling jealousy, I felt a certain pride in “knowing” these people and having been able to share this journey along the way. It also made me want to do the same, to find success, and drove me to get myself up this morning to crack on with some pages.
It should never “bring you down” to see other people’s successes, you should use it as inspiration to to spur on your own efforts, to see what is possible and that you shouldn’t give up.
So if you ever do find yourself envying others’ successes or recognition ask yourself one question, “Will this help my writing?”
And you don’t need me to tell you the answer to that.
Go out, celebrate others’ successes and find inspiration!
And, of course, congratulations to everyone on the list whether you know me or not!