Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Jealousy and Envy are Two-Sides of the Same Bad Coin

That title makes no sense, but you get the idea. A coincidence happened today that I thought I'd mention. As I was having a brief, unhelpful Twitter exchange with someone who was angry about the supposed Oxbridge mafia, I was listening to another excellent Scriptnotes podcast by John August and Craig Mazin about jealousy. Whether you're an aspiring writer or a successful one, it's easy to be consumed by envy, jealousy and resentment (which are all different but related things). It's even possible to feel good, superior or vindicated while experiencing these emotions. But it gets you nowhere. Nowhere.

The success of others rarely has any bearing on your career. Writing is not a zero-sum game. You have no control over anyone else's career. And you don't have all that much control over your own. What you do control is the scripts you write. You control your characters, yours worlds, your jokes, your stories.  There are no special tools, secret weapons or side-doors to success. It's graft, gathering experience, and getting on with it. Fretting about what everyone else is doing consumes calories and time that are better spent making your own scripts better.

No-one is saying it's easy to avoid being irritated by the success of someone that you personally do not rate, or the frustration that others seem to be enjoying some kind of advantage. Use every moment you can to write, rewrite, edit, listen, replot, replan, rewrite and make your scripts the best they can be.

1 comment:

  1. This is a tremendously helpful blog. A friend recently recommended it, and I've inhaled the whole thing in the past few days. Amazingly helpful.

    But good lord, James. Without shame, rage, jealousy, and self-loathing, why write at all? Maybe this is a British thing, but I think I speak for all Jewish writers when I say that misery is the engine that drives writing. Haven't read (I wait for the transcripts) the August/Maizin podcost, but they're Jewy enough that they should know better.