On Tuesday, my awesome writer groupie, Deana Barnhart, had an amazing announcement. After long effort and piles and piles of rejections, she finally landed an agent! Her story is amazing and inspiring and gives so much hope to those of us still treading the path behind her.
Despite the screaming and yelling you know she was doing when she got the news, what she said at the front of her announcement was so sad--but only because she felt she had to say it at all:
I almost didn't want to do this post, because I know how it feels to be the writer who checks in to the blog-o-sphere only to read yet another "I got an agent" story. To be so happy for them while at the same time battling the "why them and not me" thoughts. I know how many hours us writers slave over our words, making them just so, only to get the query door slammed in our face over and over and over again. Believe me, I know.
So, yes, I ALMOST didn't want to do this post.
But I say almost, because while I don't want to seem like I'm rubbing it in, I also want everyone out there trying so hard to get a foot in an agents door, to believe that it IS possible! And that when it does happen, you deserve to be happy about it!Don't mistake me: I'm not saying Deana did anything wrong, here. In fact, I think I know exactly where she's coming from. So many of my fantasies about getting an agent have been plagued by worries about how my unagented, arguably more deserving friends would react to the news. (Yes, I have an overactive fantasy life. That's why I'm a writer.)
Still, what does it say about our community that we can't assume that everyone will be happy for our good fortune?
What does it say about ME that, well, yeah, some part of me (hastily squashed) was frustrated by Deana's news?
I'm not sure I know the answer, but I do know three things:
- It isn't always possible to control how we feel about something.
- It IS always possible to control how we react--or at least how we react online, where we can control the delay time needed to pull ourselves together.
- If you start out with the wrong feeling, you can change that.
I want to share a thought that, lately, has helped me tremendously whenever the green-eyed monster strikes (which, with my awesome writer friends, happens with increasing frequency).
This comes from a talk Jeffery R. Holland gave in April:
[T]here are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed....
Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment!Doesn't that make you feel a little ridiculous? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could just decide to never, ever be envious of anyone ever again?
Anyway, I'm going to go back to planning out what I'm going to say in my own "I have an agent" post. Right after I finish sending off the partial request I got Tuesday (which, truth be told, helped a LOT).
So do you ever have to do battle with the green-eyed monster? Did he spray you with pickle juice?