Friday, August 19, 2016

Tackling Writer Envy

After reading a few books: adult fiction, young adult, middle grade as well as picture books, I have been afflicted with a strong bout of Writer Envy. Everything in these books, from plots to characters, from writing styles to themes, from settings to the various subplots, had me gasping in awe. 

Even in my wildest dreams, I would never have been able to conceive of such plots, create such complex worlds and plot twists. The ease with which some of these writers write, is awe-inspiring. I am constantly amazed at the number of books/series some writers bring out one after another. I wonder how do they do it? Whew! Just thinking of this gives my brain a strenuous workout.

I am super envious of writers who write Sci-fi Space Opera (are you listening Alex Cavanaugh), of writers who write historical fiction (Mark Noce that would be you), writers who write murder mysteries (Patricia Stoltey, you are one of them) and writers who write amazing flash fiction (Patrick Stahl, take a bow) and when I read the introductions Michael Di Gesu writes, I am completely speechless.

I feel my stories are so simple when I compare them to the greats. Though I write the first drafts fast, it takes me a long time to revise and polish the manuscripts. Sometimes I struggle to work on the book I am writing.

Instead of succumbing to jealousy, I strive to emulate these writers by writing more, trying to add different elements into my stories, getting more feedback from my Crit Partners and working harder at my craft. Every time I read amazing books I go over my own books and search for ways to improve them.

Do you like me suffer from bouts of Writer Envy? Does your jaw drop at the themes few writers tackle? Do you feel a pang of envy when you see books after books written by these writers occupying the shelves?

P.S. Let’s all hope that our books may give some budding writer in the very distant future a case of Writer Envy. That would really make it worthwhile.


  1. I have felt this too as I am such a slow writer and don't feel as talented as so many writers. I try to turn it around into amazement. You're pretty amazing too. You have some books published and seem to be able to write in a number of genres and for different age groups.

  2. Thanks, but I think my stories are really simple.
    We have to write to our strengths. You'd written books for kids. I couldn't do that. That's a talent YOU have.
    I envy those who can write stories with many layers of meaning. If anyone finds something really deep in my stories, believe me, it's there by accident.

  3. I've read a handful of books this summer that made me want to weep, they were so well done and exciting and intricate. How in the world could I ever do that?! Ugh. I let myself wallow for a bit then I moved on.

    We can only do what we can do, tell the stories only we can tell. Let's not be so hard on ourselves! :)

  4. Thanks for the mention, Rachna! You'll be interested to hear that I am just like you because I read a lot of wonderful authors, and wish I could come up with those plots, those characters, that beautiful prose. From mystery/thriller master Harlan Coben to amazing storyteller Sandra Dallas to children's author Natasha Wing, I want to step it up and do more. I felt a huge attack of writer envy recently when I read Leif Enger's "Peace Like a River." Perhaps writer envy is what makes us keep writing and keep trying to be better.

  5. I got major writer envy when I read the Life of Pi last year. It's one I'd like to read again and again.

  6. From time to time, I DO. I especially envy those prolific writers who can turn out many books, and all of them high quality. I'm a slow writer. I seem to take forever with a book. Sigh. Still, these authors inspire me. And I love to read. So, in that respect, when I find an author I really like, I'm glad they are so prolific!

  7. THANK YOU, RACHNA.... I am so honored to be mentioned and to be one of your favorites....

    Yes, I have only one envy, that I can't pump out books. I have been so stagnant lately, just writing intro's blurbs, and taglines.

    BUT ... I did right a new piece which I have posted and can't wait for you to read...

    I haven't forgotten about my PB... Still trying to get that together. Life is terribly busy right now and I have a health issue that I need to take care of now. My high blood pressure is back, so I HAVE to lose the winter weight and get back into shape again. Now that the pup is older and doesn't have his health issues, I can concentrate on me and MY WRITING again... Thanks again for all your support!

    As for you.... You have so many lovely stories published. Never feel you are not an accomplished writer. WE all have our strengths AND our favorite author whom we envy... These writers inspire us even though we wish we had their talent...


  8. I've been known to read an awesome book and think "why can't I write like that!"

  9. Writing is one field where talent is in abundance so being envious does not help! They do however push me to write better :)

  10. Awww, thank you Rachna! I'm glad that my stories can be entertaining for you. I try to keep my envy in check as a general rule, but there are certainly a few authors out there who I would like to write more like (while maintaining my own style).

  11. I suffer from it all the time. I wonder how my words can ever hope to come close to the prose other authors use. All I can do is keep plugging away, going back again and again until my story is up to snuff.