Over the past five years I've let myself go there a lot. Once, I even wrote a book because I read one and thought, "Wow, I can do way better than that just you watch." (It wasn't better, by the way.) I have read book deals for friends and felt that twinge of jealousy. Heck, I've read book deals for total strangers and gone into jealous rages/massive pity parties. I've compared everything possible to compare—followers, comments, tweets, books, agents, editors, pub dates, covers, advances, conference attendance, book signing attendance, tours, swag, and on and on.
Frankly, I'm tired of going there.
It's taken me far too long to figure out that going to that place makes my life more complicated than it needs to be. It makes me unhappy with who I am, which results in a lot of nasty things like depression, anxiety, jealousy, overworking, pandering, ingratitude, insecurity, and eventually a severe lack of productivity. All of these things get in the way of my life, my work, everything. And I've finally figured out that I've basically been making it harder on myself.
I've been reading the Turning Points on Nova Ren Suma's blog, and I think I'm personally going through one of my own right now.
I've finally realized I don't have to go there.
I don't have to be jealous of the seven-figure deals. I don't have to wish my book was published two years ago. I don't have to try to be this author or that one. I don't have to worry about being mid-list or paperback. I don't have to stress over reviews. Or mourn the fact that I'll never get an award (yes, I panic over things not even on my publishing radar).
I can be happy with what I have. I AM happy with what I have.
The more I get to know writers from all publishing circumstances, the more I've learned that not a single one of those paths is easy. Not a single one will automatically make you happy. Trust me, there's always something wrong if you feel like looking for it. Which means the flip side is true, too—there's always something wonderful if you feel like looking for it.
For a long time I preached this attitude because I knew that was how I should feel, but deep down I was still struggling with it. I'd hoped that by writing it out maybe I could convince myself to snap out of it or something. It didn't really work.
But lately I've been able to stop myself from going there, and it's been so liberating. I never want to go to that place again. Life is so much easier when I let myself embrace what I have, enjoy what I do, and celebrate the victories of others.