Literary Envy

Kerry Cohen (author of Loose Girl, which everyone should read) wrote an article about writers and envy for the Gotham Writers’ Workshop that resonated with me. Here is a link to the article:

http://www.writingclasses.com/FacultyBios/facultyArticleByInstructor.php?ArticleID=94&utm_source=Gotham+Writers’+Workshop+List&utm_campaign=b105b2653f-WEB_October_Newsletter9_27_2011&utm_medium=email

 

I am a competitive person, and I sometimes envy other writers, which makes me feel really guilty, especially if the writer I am envious of happens to be a friend. I know that to some extent, this is natural, but I still hate it. In this essay, Cohen talks about using envy constructively, which is not something I had thought of before. Instead of being ashamed of my envy and feeling guilty about it (vicious cycle: envy–>guilt–>shame), maybe I should own it and use it to fuel my desire to write something amazing. As writers we should talk about this more, or at least acknowledge the existence of literary envy. Cohen mentions that envy is a taboo emotion, and that it can be paralyzing. I wholeheartedly agree. For now, I’m trying to concentrate on my own writing, and tune everyone else out, not just in writing, but in life in general. More on that last sentence later.

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