Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fact: I don't look good in green - but few do.

Bought a joke t-shirt recently because I loved the joke. It's a parody of the Subway logo, given a flesh-eating zombie spin. In the photo, the background colour looks washed out and faded. In reality, my t-shirt arrived as a virulent shade of green. After spending my entire adult life wearing black, black and more black [hey, stop rolling your eyes - I'm a writer living in Britain, there's a dress code], I can't adjust to wearing that much green at once. It's not good for my creativity.

I feel much the same about professional jealousy. Envy is cancer of the soul, it eats away at you, insidious and painful to the last. Being human, I can't help but feel envious when my friends [and, worst still, people I despise] are more successful than me. It's natural, even if it's not attractive. Come on, we've all felt the same at some point. You open a magazine or a newspaper, or visit some website or blod and read about somebody's latest, greatest success - and it burn a little acid hole in your head, as if the monster from Alien was dripping blood on your brain.

Why didn't I get that gig? How come I never get asked to contribute to that? And - the ultimate soul-eater - I'm better than them, how come they're doing better than me? The answer is simple: stop whining! Nobody likes a whiner. You want that gig, or something better? Put the effort, put yourself out there, hustle for opportunities, push yourself and your creativity harder and further than before. Yes, you'll probaly get rejected more. Yes, you'll get your soul crushed on all-too regular basis. But that's what happened to the people you're jealous of, and now they're enjoying the success you wish you had.

Besides, who's to say the gig they've got and you haven't isn't a living hell? Who's to say their scripts aren't being rewritten by other hands to the point until there's hardly a line of their original dialogue left? Just because somebody's outwardly successful, doesn't mean they're not having the same anguished, long, dark night of the soul you've been having. [Or, if they're Frank Miller, the same anguished, long, dark knight of the soul.] Sure, have your moment of envy. Wallow in it, if you want. Take ten, maybe fifteen seconds to wallow in the green-eyed monster. Then get over it and move on, pilgrims.

Set your own parameters for success and measure yourself against those, not against the successes of other people. Envy is cancer, it will eat you from the inside out. Don't give the bastard house space.

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