green-eyed monsters and how to trade them in for creatures with beautiful eyes


I’m not going to pretend, there are days when I look at my fellow writers and am overwhelmed with despair. People who are my peers, but who have series deals and several books out already, and I always start wondering where I go so wrong with my work, why I’m not there with them etc etc.

This is not productive, though god knows we all need a good wallow occasionally. Except it’s stifled my writing, because all I can look at is that compared to them I’m a failure, how my work is just not right, not commercial enough, not appealing enough to editors, or whatever. Whether this is true or not, I can’t even judge. At this point, I feel like it’s true, even though I have sold books, so obviously at some point I’ve written something that hooked editors.

I keep starting stories and then abandoning them because I can’t imagine who would want to buy them.*

So, I guess, I want to know – what are your tricks for getting yourself out of this mindset? What makes you carry on when you feel there’s no point at all to continuing?


*I was chatting to The Boy about this and he said ” I love you babes, but there’s no way to sugar coat this… you suck at marketing,

you have zero idea of what people will buy.” so there’s a chance I am just self-sabotaging here.

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3 Replies to “green-eyed monsters and how to trade them in for creatures with beautiful eyes”

  1. I went through this, and I’ll probably go through it many, many more times before I die. The first time was in the lull after having around 4 short stories published in as many months – and the lull has been continuing for more than a year now, except for the story that was published in ‘A Forest of Dreams’. My short story ideas just don’t seem to pan out any more, and I’ve had to focus on the novel-writing, anyway. But yeh, with all the authors I’m ‘friends’ with on Facebook, seeing them publish story after story every week, I frown at the screen every single time, even though I’m happy for them, too.

    I just carried on writing – and being irritating with links and such. Very fake-it, fake-it, fake-it. But the jealousy has never left or diminished. And I think it’s a good thing – we all deal with it differently, but I’ve got a massive stubborn-gene, and often I’ve thought that I’m too dumb to know when to give up. So, don’t knock the jealousy – try to respect it, and to understand it, I guess. You need to give yourself time, and space. Maybe even walk away from it for a while, just write down notes and save ideas. Find your place in it again, that kind of thing.

    One thing is for sure, though – born story tellers are conflicted, even volatile; it’s part of what makes us story tellers. You’re not alone. 🙂

  2. I am maybe an expert on this feeling. I trudged along in isolation for many years, writing and subbing and getting rejected. Then I hooked up with a bunch of great writing friends, and we trudged together. As time passed, however, friend after friend after friend got first an agent and then a book deal. (You are one of those friends.) I got an agent and then a pile of rejections on a book you might remember–Ugly and the Beast. After I lost the agent, I spent the next four years watching my friends do better and better, surpassing me at every turn, while I tried to figure WTF? was publishing looking for. I still have no clue. I managed to sell two books to a very small press. Books that basically nobody but my friends and family bought.

    There I was, wallowing around, writing things that nobody wanted. Until somebody wanted something. The book I just sold has 167 rejections under its belt. 167 people who said, “Nobody would buy this.” And then two people decided, “Yeah, I think people will buy this.” Completely random. Completely unexpected. A book that was unsaleable for three years became saleable.

    In short, I’m not saying what you feel isn’t real. It’s totally real, and it fucking sucks. What I’m saying is that publishing is a.) random, b.) cyclical, c.) not all that adept at knowing what people want to read, either. You have to love the thing you’re writing and love it in secret. You have to love it like a monster baby hidden in the attic. Maybe it’s never going to see the light of day, or maybe 5 years from now, monsters will be popular, and your hideous baby will be class president.

    (This post brought to you with love, by analogies gone wrong.)

    1. Of course I remember Ugly and the Beast! It stayed with me for a very long time.

      Thanks for this reply, and i am super-happy that your new book sold. And wow, it just takes one (or sometimes two) to fall in love, right?

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