Guest post by Zena Shapter
I don’t get writer envy. At least, I don’t get it anymore. I used to compare myself to other writers and wish I had their lives. It bugged me that their writery lives were so glamorous compared to mine and, although I knew envy was a waste of energy, I still felt sorry for myself.
Mark Bouris changed all that.
My hubbie is a successful business owner and entrepreneur (all thanks to his supportive wife of course!). So naturally when the opportunity came up, he wanted to go and see Mark Bouris talk about his success. When Hubbie came home, however, he wasn’t busting full of ideas as I expected him to be. He was mellow… almost content. And what he told me about Mark Bouris changed my life too (or at least the way I looked at success).
It’s funny really, because what Mark Bouris said I always knew deep down. I just hadn’t accepted it.
“You don’t want my life,” he said. “I’m divorced. My children have to schedule appointments just to see me, and they don’t even book those through me but my secretary. I work constantly.”
But that’s what it takes to succeed, he added, hard work, commitment, purpose, and sacrifice.
It made me think… I’m not divorced; I’m happily married. My kids adore me and I adore them. I’m healthy. We’re all healthy, and we have a really good life together. I should be content with that. I am content with that.
Of course the writer in me screamed out: what about me?? What about international bestseller lists and book tours across the country in first class hotels? I’ve always wanted to fly first class! Work harder!
But the writer in me was wrong.
Sure, there are writers out there with the type of success I can only dream about right now, who have novels on the shelves where I’d love mine – but that’s okay because I have what I have. Those other writers – they might not have the happy marriage, the adoring kids, or the health that I have. (Of course they might…. No, no Zena – stay focussed!) There’s absolutely no point in craving to have someone else’s success – be they a writer or a successful businessman – because that success is theirs and they earnt it with their own hard work, commitment, purpose and sacrifice.
It’s the same for you and I.
No, life isn’t a meritocracy – the hard work you put into your novel writing might never be recognised or rewarded the way it deserves to be. Yes, some things simply aren’t fair. But you and I – we’ll still get there if we believe we can. And I believe I can, so success will follow in its own time. What about you – do you really want someone else’s life? You never know what’s going to come with it!
So the next time you’re scowling at the computer screen or newsletter as you read about yet another novel writing achievement that’s not your own… the next time you think to yourself “I wish that were me”… stop and remember Mark Bouris. You don’t want that writer’s life, really you don’t… The struggles you already face are plenty enough. Why welcome anyone else’s?