Author Envy (IWSG March)

Due to a technical glitch, this post is going out one day late. Apologies, readers.

It’s that time again: the first Wednesday of the month. A time for Insecure Writers from around the blogosphere to come together and share our writing hopes and dreams, doubts and concerns.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group logo in orange and white with sepia lighthouse background

This month our awesome co-hosts are Diedre Knight, Tonya Drecker, Bish Denham, Olga Godim, and JQ Rose. Thanks, all! This month we are talking about author envy, or more precisely the following prompt:

Q: Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

A: Of course. The words of other writers are wondrous. I love exploring their stories, intricate worlds, and those fantastic one-liners! Inevitably, I have often come across something so brilliant, so surprising, so memorable, that I have to pause and revel in it… and yes, acknowledge that little twinge inside which says, ‘you could never have thought of that.’

I reckon I’d like some of that cracker…
Image by Aussiestock

But that envious twinge?

It’s just a twinge. It’s human to not be the same as anyone else. It’s okay to acknowledge that you aren’t at a certain skill level yet, or even that you might never be.

It’s okay to envy, but it’s better to celebrate.

Celebrate the awesomeness of that author. Tell them, if you can/want. Tell other people, too. Enjoy the brilliance of that plot twist you never saw coming. Take a moment to appreciate the clever lines, delivery, craft. Be grateful for their effort at sharing their art with the world. With you.

Then, and only then, take it apart. If that’s what you want to do. Analyse and dissect and tease and evaluate, and see if you can find what exactly made you pause at this particular line or plot point. What is it about this amazing writing can you take away? What can you learn or emulate? What was the author’s process? How did they come up with such brilliance? (Sometimes they have answered this question, and usually it comes down to hard work, inspiration, and a little luck.)

Nevertheless, I’m sure you want to know my top Envies. Mostly these are my favourite authors too, which makes jealousy a pointless thing with no importance or weight. So for now I’d rather focus on empowering and uplifting my favourites, enjoying a piece of writing for what it is, and learning this writing thing with respect, courage, and gratitude.

PS: Thanks to Neil Gaiman, Ursula K Le Guin, Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Ilona Andrews, Meghan Ciana Doidge, Garth Nix, Brandon Sanderson, Terry Pratchett, Elizabeth Tan, and many many many more for their wonderful, wondrous words. I promise not to envy you too much.

Man reading a book silhouetted by sunset

Interested in what other IWSG-ers have to say? Hop on over to this List of Blogs to check them out.

See you next time. Happy reading!

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