Jealousy—Biggest Obstacle to Friendship among Authors by Mary Ellis

Mary_EllisWriters often create characters with some rather profound lessons to learn. If we’re smart we can learn those lessons along with them. Working in the competitive world of publishing, I often struggle with ego and pride. Authors are as ked to blog and Facebook, tweet and pin, to draw attention to their books and ultimately to themselves. Available slots on publishers’ lists are shrinking and will continue to do so. So what does that bode for authors who are also friends?

Jealousy and envy are deadly pitfalls that every writer must grapple with. Human beings are naturally wired to be envious. We spend much of our lives jealous of something or someone. As children, we yearned for a brand new bicycle or a trademarked Barbie doll if Grandma could only afford a knock-off. As we grew older we turned green if a classmate received a new Mustang for their birthday. Women have often coveted longer, curlier, or straighter hair, or to be taller, shorter, thinner or more voluptuous. Males aren’t immune to those emotions either. My husband envies men who still have thick heads of hair.

When couples get married, they strive for a new set of goals: a house with more bathrooms, a bigger yard, or a better school system so their children will excel. We might think ourselves content until a neighbor starts living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Then the green monster rears its ugly head.

As I get older, I’m no longer envious of possessions. A larger house means more to clean, while a bigger yard means more lawn to mow. I am content with my current home, car and financial circumstances. But as writers we’re subject to a different type of envy: so-and-so receives a contract with a huge publishing house, a five-book deal, several award nominations, or lands on a bestseller list. Once we attain that list, then there’s the top position to strive for. Does this sound familiar? I battle the monster by not reading reviews and not checking my numerical placement on lists. But I assure you, this is an ongoing battle.

Lately, I’ve been envious of the ability to write faster and thus, have more time for relaxation. I might not covet a mansion in a gated community, but show me an author who breezes through deadlines while maintaining a social life and my vision clouds a greenish hue. I am making progress. I joyously celebrate the accomplishments of my peers, including those I will never achieve. But if a writer turns her book in early, while redecorating her kitchen and learning to speak Mandarin, she had better keep the last two details to herself.
Mary_EllisMary Ellis has written twelve novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is part of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

Magnolia Moonlight3Here’s a little bit about Magnolia Moonlight. When a preacher takes his own life, the congregation is quick to believe rumors, but his widow knows this was no suicide. When Price Investigations scratch beneath the surface, they discover Reverend Dean was a victim, not a thief.  They uncover an elaborate pyramid to bilk millions from non-profits, thousands of miles from where no one is whom they appear to be.

#MagnoliaMoonlight

 

 

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About shelia@sheliastovall.com

Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and has an understanding of what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Treasurer of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

One thought on “Jealousy—Biggest Obstacle to Friendship among Authors by Mary Ellis

  1. Rose McCauley

    Hi Mary Ellis, you are one of the most gracious writers I know so I was surprised to see you say you were jealous of some authors, although I understood it when you mentioned those who can write very fast and still have a great story! This reminded me of something I read years ago which may help you and others, too. When we do something we have a natural gift for, God is pleased, of course, but if we struggle and have to spend extra time writing, re-writing,etc, then we should let that extra time we spend be our offering up to God who knows how hard we try to write for Him. He knows all! And loves us all!

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