Jealousy is a terrible thing.  And I was guilty of it for a long, long time.  Of course, I still have my moments, but not like before.  I have never been jealous with women.  I have never wanted someone else’s car, motorcycle, or fishing rod.  My problem was being jealous of other people’s successes.  I’m not proud to admit it.  I’ve had friends get raises, and I really wanted to be happy for them.  I’ve watched bands I played with become international superstars…I really, really wanted to just feel glad.  Too often, I didn’t.  I could care less if someone drives a better car than I do, but when someone succeeds in a professional/creative field I take pride in…man, that ugly green-eyed bastard just shows up.  I used to open my New Yorker with trepidation because I knew if anyone I knew got published, I would have to kill myself.  The green bastard was in control.  Or he used to be.  I changed things up on him.

I’ll try to stick to writers here, but this applies to a lot of situations in life.  When your friends get the recognition they deserve (or may not deserve), you should be stoked.  Like I said, I was not always a great example.  Here is what changed it for me (save the occasional jealous twinge).  First and foremost, we are a team.  Indie writers have a tough row to hoe and if ANY of us accomplish something, we all accomplish something.  Especially if we were in there swinging and helping out like we should have been.

The other important realization I had was that letting other people establish the value of your work is a dangerous proposition.  I know writers that sell WAY more books than me.  Some of them are really, really good.  Some of them are mediocre.  Some of them are outright bad.  So what?  And who am I to judge?  My time will come if I keep plugging away at it and write things that are valuable to ME.  And, in the mean time, if any of us get attention, sales, prestige…well, I am going to be happy for them.

Now, this is all easy to say.  There are times you can’t avoid it.  Sometimes, I read a story in the New Yorker and I think, “What the hell?  I’ve written better stories than this!”  Maybe I have.  Maybe I haven’t.  Doesn’t matter.  After the initial reaction, it makes me feel small.  And it should.

There is so much involved in this writing game.  Being a good writer is important.  Work ethic is important.  Promotion is important.  Sometimes knowing the right people is important.  You get enough of those things going for you, bam, it happens.  Sometimes.

I got into it a while back with my wife because she was watching some Oprah special and they were talking about Maya Angelou and how she is the ‘best poet alive today’.  Bullshit.  The best poet alive today is some socially-retarded, misanthropic guy with coke bottle glasses who dresses all in black and works in a book store when he isn’t planning suicide attempts.  This is what I told my wife.  She told me I was an idiot.  She is usually right.

Maya Angelou is an impressive woman.  She writes well.  She presents herself well.  Is she the best poet in the world?  Well, that depends on how you define best.  And, opinions are opinions.  Point being, the fact that someone thinks she is the best should not affect me in the least.

We have chosen to embark on a thankless journey.  I have spent half my life writing and the thrill of seeing my byline wore off in a few weeks.  The thrill of publishing a novel wore off as fast.  Winning contests is great…for a day or two.  We plod on, God knows why, but we do.  And we do it together.  And it doesn’t matter who the best is.  What matters is that we are in it together and we need to support each other.  And if that means “being a better person” (vomit), so be it.

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JD Mader is the author of ‘Joe Café’ and a contributing author to Indies Unlimited. You can find more of JD’s writing at his blog


Author: JD Mader

JD Mader is an award winning short story writer and novelist. 'Joe Café' and 'The Biker' are out now, as well as 'Please, no eyes'. and the collaborative 'Bad Book'. Mader has been writing for half his life and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Learn more about JD Mader at his blog and his Amazon author page.

46 thoughts on “Jealousy”

  1. I like your attitude. Let's face it, if life were always fair there would be no miracles. that would be bad. I came to that conclusion after asking myself about a deserted desert road with only 2 cars going in opposite directions. Stick a guy on a bike somewhere in there & without knowing any of the math that goes into it, you know that the 2 cars & guy on the bike will all pass at the same time at some point on that road. At 1st I thought 'well, that's annoying.' But then I realized it's a fact, then I realized that if it didn't happen, there would be no miracles or other coincidences, some that really matter. Not that any of this has anything to do with jealousy or envy. But, it has to do with no longer feeling bad when something great happens to a bozo while there are homeless veterans unprovided for…or whatever injustice bugs you. It's very mature of you to be so aware & accepting of who you are as a writer. I don't think you are an idiot about Maya Angelou. I am probably the only person in the world who doesn't resonate with her poetry. I'll go with the guy in black with the tortured soul. Thanks, J.D. I think you rock bigtime!

    1. Thanks, K. You may be onto something with Maya Angelou…let me try something:

      A tree doesn't grow because it is told to grow

      It is not cold in the night because the night is angry

      Young girl, you are not as young as you once were

      Hold tight to what you hold dear or you will lose it

      BAM! One minute MA. Your turn. 😉

  2. I'm jealous of both this great post and of McNally's comment on the post. I hate when people steal my ideas before I even have them!

    Other than that, I can only say Amen, brother! Well put, honest and relevant.

  3. Wonderful post, and unfortunately–true. I hear the jealousy at times and see it more often than not, but I've tried to do as JD has done and keep plodding along. I know there have been times I've experienced it myself (shame on me); but for the most part I try to be thrilled for every Indie that makes headlines.

    1. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone! 🙂 Jealousy is such an ugly thing. And it gets us all at times. But I shall persevere. (and use fancy words like shall)

  4. I can't say how much this hit home with me, JD. I, too, have tried to be a better person since I published my first book, but sometimes, I just can't help be hear about a prize that another writer won, or how another got a great review and I can't help but ask, "Why couldn't that have been me?" It's hard to be "good" all the time, but all we can do is keep trying and honestly, I am getting better! TY for posting this!

    1. Thank you for commenting and joining the club. Humans are flawed. It's the ones who aren't aware of their flaws we have to worry about. 😉

  5. Are you kidding me?! I could have written that better than that! I have greener eyes than anybody and I can be jealouser than the jealousist writer in here. And, I'm sure it would have earned 5 Stars! or maybe even 6! HA!

    All kidding aside, well, almost all, That was great! And, I understand how you feel and it is big of you to see past it. Keep writing!

        1. You are very welcome and keep up the good work. Personally I think a little jealousy is good. It keeps you on your toes and makes you work harder the next time around.

  6. Great post, JD. I, too, at times find myself feeling the same way but I am also trying to promote others work on the promoting mediums because I believe what goes around comes around. I probably promote others works more than I do my own because I have a hard time promoting myself, lol. But I've made a New Year's resolution to be more supportive and happy for other people and promote everyone… if only that didn't mean getting on the computer to do it because I can't find the time to write now anyway. Sheesh. Good job again, JD.

    1. Thank you! You know…I agree with you. I push other writers all the time and it has a sneaky way of coming back to help me. You support the community, the community supports you. 🙂

      1. Actually, for what I'd really like to do, I need an assistant and I'm kind of thinking maybe I can trick my daughter into being my assistant/promoter/advertising person if I bribe her, hehehe. Course she will be living under my roof again and I will be teaching her how to be a manager (I hope), so I think I can get her to do this for me one day a week. I'll let you know how it turns out….if it works and she's good I probably rent her out…

  7. JD,

    I agree that the best way to help yourself is to be supportive to other authors. Giving and helping has its own rewards….

  8. That was an awesome post. I despise jealousy in all of its forms because it eats away from the real person inside. There is nothing wrong with a twinge of envy, a wish, or even a sadness, but I like to use that to further my goals (or create new ones), channel it into the energy to pursue what I want. Jacqueline mentioned my motto in different words – but pay it forward. Continue to do good things, and hopefully those good things will come back to you :). So well put, Dan!

    1. Thanks Collette! It took me a long time to figure out that the world is what you make of it. And I'd like my world to be as pleasant as possible. 🙂

  9. I'm just pissed that your article got more comments than mine did. Not that I'm jealous or competitive. Heck, I'm forever explaining to people how non-competitive I am. Seriously, if there was an old hippy, laid back, non-competitive contest I'd for sure win. Yep, not jealous and not competitive.

    Well…maybe I'll work on that.

  10. I don't get jealous of those who find success, but I do get jealous of those who find contentment … of course, a little success now and then might help with the contentment.

  11. This is awesome. I get jealous sometimes of other writers, then take a few deep breaths and tell myself that a rising tide lifts all boats and similar cliches.

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