Envy other writers? Instead, focus on yourself for success

The green-eyed monster gets hold of practically every creative soul from time to time. Here’s how to keep your eye on what really matters: your own work.

I’m lucky to have been born with little envy for other writers, because I’ve never identified primarily as a writer.

My thing? Editing.

I was born with a natural talent for it and had early success. Even at college, I was editing papers for friends and, six years after graduation, I became the youngest-ever senior features editor at my metropolitan daily newspaper (and, incidentally, the first woman in that post).

I knew I was a lousy writer—slow, blocked and boring—but I took comfort in my editing chutzpah and razzmatazz. Once I left the newspaper, I decided to get better at writing.

Cultivating those skills was slow and difficult, but I enjoyed a burst of accomplishment once I’d nailed them. Today I feel only gratitude for my new ability to put words in sentences as easily as a child stringing beads in kindergarten. (Thanks Brenda Ueland for that metaphor.)

Sure, I know there are many people who are way better writers than I. I’m just happy I can write competently and not feel angst-ridden about it.

If you’re a writer who envies other writers, you can make yourself miserable. Here’s how to corral those wild-horse feelings and use them for something positive:

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