IWSG 11 — Living Vicariously Through You

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



I hope you know I want you to succeed even if I never do. I want the best for all of you. You deserve the benefits of working hard. That big prize, that beautiful rainbow, and that smile that never completely leaves your face. Don’t hide it. Let it show. Be proud.

This month, it feels like I’m being left behind. So many writers are being published and I’m so far back. I’ve read comments like this one on other posts, by other writers, and didn’t truly understand what they were feeling, but I’m feeling it now.

I’m trying to keep my head down and not look at where I am in comparison to everyone else. All the logic in the world doesn’t seem to stop me from noticing. How can I be so logical one moment and then so emotional the next? I feel foolish, off balance and envious as hell.

And a little ashamed.art pixabay CC0 geisha-girl

If you know me, then you know I’m not usually like this. I try to be supportive, and positive. To me attitude is everything.

So don’t look back at the cranky-pants woman just leaving the starting gate. She’s full of insecurity and self-pity. Although I know misery loves company, I’m not sure I deserve any.

So share your success with me. I know it took hard work, dedication and maybe some luck. Please tell me how it feels. Let me live through you this month. I don’t care how small the success is. It’s yours and if you’re willing, this month I’ll live through you.

99 responses to “IWSG 11 — Living Vicariously Through You

  1. Been there, done that. We all feel like you do –“foolish, off balance and envious as hell.” I think you’re wise to acknowledge how you feel and realize you should not compare yourself to others. It’s good to vent! Take your time and do it right. You’ll be doing a happy dance about your writing in your own time.

  2. On an unrelated matter: I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. To accept see my latest post and follow the rules. Congrats!

  3. Anna, we writers are an awfully insecure bunch and that insecurity even brings with it a comparison chart so we can match ourselves up against our peers just to see how badly we’re doing in comparison to them. It’s completely natural. We all do it. We don’t like to own up to it, but we do it. So well done for owning it. You’re not alone. There is always, ALWAYS someone doing better than we are, no matter who we are but we have to be proud of what we do achieve and that is the work we put in. Look how many people want to write but don’t even try. You’re there. And you’re still going. And that’s what makes a real writer πŸ™‚

  4. I wish I had more success to share with you Anna but I don’t. I am getting back into the writing swi again and all I can say is have Faith. I know it’s notmuch comfort but your time will come too. ☺

  5. Ah yes, all this is very familiar. And normal too. Don’t give up, Anna. Big big hugs.

  6. Oh, I know how you feel. People tell me I’m successful. I guess I am because my books aren’t sinking. Yet. But they aren’t taking off either. Soooo…. Trying to pound at the keyboard and produce the next story. That’s what you gotta do. Keep writing !!!!

  7. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there before and are likely to visit that foolish, off-balance, and envious moment again. It’s only normal. I’m like you, I think attitude is the biggest thing and I love being supportive and all that good stuff . . . but it happens to the best of us. I keep reminding myself comparisons does me no good. Not sure if it helps lol. Either way, no real success at the moment to share, but soon we’ll both have good news. Hugs!

  8. I wish I had some success to share that’s writing-related, but … not really. I’m mostly proud of myself for finally getting out of this slump I’ve been in, so even though I may still *be* a failure, I don’t entirely feel like one. I consider that to be progress. And, I think you have a good attitude about it all. πŸ™‚ I wish you the best, also, Anna, and hope to hear your publishing successes soon so I can live vicariously! I know we can do it. It just takes time.

  9. I completely understand where you are coming from here. This writing life can be exhausting and it can be hard to sustain your enthusiasm when you see your peers reaching their goals. Don’t give up. Lean on your friends. And do live vicariously through your friends. Support them, learn from their successes and their failures (because everyone has failures), and know that they will be there to cheer you on when it’s your turn.

  10. The worst possible thing you can ever do is to compare yourself to someone else. You are unique and so is your writing. All that it means right now is that it just isn’t your time yet. Others things are in store for you and your work. πŸ˜‰ Maybe even bigger and better things, you just never know!

  11. It’s a perfectly natural feeling… at least I hope it is. I feel the same way every time I see another of my friends publish a book. I’m happy for them, of course, but then I think about the slow pace of my writing and wonder how much longer I’ll have to wait before i join them. Assuming I ever do, of course. Just keep at it and it will come.

  12. It’s an honest emotion and you can go ahead and feel. Then, DO something. Jealousy is there to point us in the direction we want to go. Cheer for others and work hard on your own projects.
    Go. Create. Inspire!
    Play off the Page

  13. Definitely been there before. In my early blogging days many of my friends were getting agents and the big deals. It never worked that way for me. I had to really understand that sometimes our journeys are simply different. My journey took me to a small publisher and then the Indie route. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but do I still want the agent and the big deal? YES. Yes I do and it may never happen.

    We each have to reach some level of peace with ourselves. I was happy for those friends while wanting to scream and wail and throw things. It took a long time (and some days it rears its ugly head even now), but I now write for me. To stay sane. To share the stories in my head with anyone who might read them. It’s no longer about the deal, money or possible fame. And you know what? I’m much happier. Doesn’t mean I don’t freak out waiting for the first reviews, but in general I’m happier.

    Good luck finding your balance and peace!

  14. We’ve all been where you are. And, like you, we were not alone. The support of our families, friends, and fellow writers stood beside us and encouraged us. So here’s me encouraging you. Go!

  15. *creepy internet hug* We’ve all been there! I go through phases like this all the time, especially if things in the rest of life are not going as well.. Double whammy! If you love what you are doing, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, because you’re adding to the happiness in your own life. Good luck breaking out of the funk!
    ~AJ from Naturally Sweet
    An April A-Z co-host

  16. It’s definitely easy to feel left behind. I’ve seen tons of recent and soon releases in my browsing. I think it is the normal “publish for summer” start of season. But I’ve ALSO seen a lot of “this was two years in the making” so just keep in mind your turn will come. I finished my first book in 2008 and didn’t publish until 2012 (and that was my 7th book)… it is a marathon but if you keep going, you will get there.

  17. Hi Anna, misery loves company so I’ll join you. I can’t share any stories of publication at all, I’m afraid. Hey, why do you think I joined the IWSG! However, I can give you the comradeship of knowing you’re not alone. I’m here in the trenches with you, and as long as we don’t give up, we’re still winning!
    p.s. I have a new home for my blog: http://www.yvettecarol.wordpress.com

  18. I know how you feel, Anna. I felt it last fall, this winter. Maybe even last month! I’m not sure why I’m optimistic now (winter’s almost gone?) since I have no success story to relay. I do know this, even if I never publish, I will always write. As with you, I’m sure. The world’s just a sorrier place for not having the chance to read our work!

  19. Don’t be discouraged. Every one of us who has ‘made it’ was where you are now, feeling bad about ourselves. It took me over twenty years to get to where I am now, and I stopped a lot of times along the way feeling sorry for myself and like I’d never make it. If it’s what you really want, you just keep going back again and again until it finally sticks. It’s hard, but nothing worth having is easy.

    Success feels great but it’s also scary. You’re in the spotlight but that also means everyone is staring at you and can see your flaws. You worry about keeping up appearances and not saying the wrong thing, and even worse, there’s a terrible anxiety to STAY in the spotlight because you remember how cold it was outside it.

    I’m not saying success isn’t wonderful and doesn’t have its upsides, but it’s a mixed bag and brings a new set of issues with it. Sometimes the long journey there is what gives you the guts and maturity to handle those new stresses.

  20. As one who is pretty much still in the starting gate, you are an inspiration and encouragement to keep working on it. Only with effort will any of us succeed.

  21. Been there, still doing it from time to time. Even with books out, I still feel like I’m lagging behind.

  22. When I first felt like this it helped when other writers sympathized. Sharing successes only seemed to drive another nail into the coffin. For awhile I had to get away from strangers online and stick to close friends and my own projects. It’s great that you get inspired by successes of others, because it’s true that yours are on the way. A success of mine this year was to submit work to Spectrum Magazine – which is a juried art show in print. I didn’t get chosen, but I took the first step! A first step is a success in my book. Take those first steps and celebrate!

  23. I’ve been where you are. It’s hard not to feel that way when people around you are further along on their journey. If you keep at it, though, you’ll be where I am. Never give up! Keep writing for the joy of it. You’ll get there in your own way, in your own time.

  24. I know the feeling. Sometimes I’d say ‘godamnit’ because of another writer’s success. I’m still happy for them but why isn’t that me. The best thing to do is to not let it get you down or give up. And just become the little engine that could.

  25. This is definitely a common feeling. I’m one of the founding members of an online writing forum. Everyone started out in pretty much the same place, but then it seemed like everyone but me got published. And published in a big way (Sara Gruen was also a founding member).

    I stopped going to the forum for a long time. I wasn’t jealous, but I felt like a big loser. It’s hard not to. Even though I have a novella coming out this year, it’s not a big-five, seven-figure release like I hoped my first book would be. We’re always our own harshest critics. I don’t have advice…just wanted to say I really feel for what you’re going through.

  26. Here’s what I figure (and not just about writing, but life): I’ve never tried to compete with other people. I like to do things at my own pace, not the pace my peers set or other writers set. I’d rather do things in my own time is all. It’s the Aquarius in me.

  27. It’s so human to feel this way. And the only way it could be construed as bad is if you let those feelings allow you to give up. As long as you don’t, as long as you use them to motivate yourself further, then all is good.

  28. We’re human beings with faults and flaws but with all kinds of good stuff, too. We get jealous and cranky, but we also support and encourage. Please don’t be so hard on yourself!

  29. Shame is a cage that we can lock ourselves in. Unlock that door. What you are feeling is normal. I’m gonna go ahead and let Ann Lamott do the talking…

    “Jealousy is such a direct attack on whatever measure of confidence you’ve been able to muster. But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you knowβ€”people who are, in other words, not you.

    … And I, who have been the Leona Helmsley of jealousy, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are (a) getting older, (b) talking about it until the fever breaks, and (c) using it as material. Also, someone along the way is going to make you start laughing about it, and then you will be on your way home.”

    β€œJealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact, I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.

    But I don’t believe it for a second.

    I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing my fork.”

  30. I think we all feel these emotions from time to time and they are perfectly normal. As long as you don’t curl into a ball and quit it is ok to have these moments. Tomorrow you life yourself up and get your head back in the game

    • Yes, I’m there already. Thanks, Kim. It felt good to get if off my chest and even better having friends that understand helping me through it. πŸ™‚

  31. Been there. I’m breathing. I’m writing. That’s a success!! Sending you positive vibes and lots of ice cream. Cause it’s not cold enough outside. =)

  32. Every writer I know has gone through this- I know I have. I’m part of a writer’s group where it seems like everyone got published before me. So I say let yourself have a good wallow, then lift your head up and forge forward with your head high!

  33. Oh, I can definitely relate. I feel this way right now, though I know it will pass. Someone in my writing group was written up by Publisher’s Weekly as having one of the best books of 2014, and while I’m thrilled for her, I’m also envious, too. But we all have our paths and each one is just right, so have faith that something awesome is just around the bend.

  34. You’re not alone, Anna. We all feel this way. While we know we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, how does one fight human nature? The important thing is, you can envy another writer’s level of success while still being supportive and truly happy for them. In fact, I’m not sure it’s envy in the strictest terms. It’s a natural byproduct of ambition, drive, and a determination to triumphβ€”all necessary qualities if a writer is going to succeed. Envy suggests we begrudge other writers their success. I know that’s not true for me, and I bet it’s not true for you either. Writers who succeed are inspirations in a world of seemingly insurmountable odds.

  35. Truly, ‘that was yesterday. What have you done today’ applies to us. Today’s success is yesterday’s ‘been there done that’. We’re all wondering how to do it, or do it again.

  36. Oh sweetie…

    Everyone feels this way. EVERYONE. I think it’s human nature to compare yourself to others, to wanting to be where they are and doing what they are. Life’s just not like that. All you can do is work at your pace, set your own goals and be proud when you achieve them. And you will. You just can’t give up.

    “The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” – someone important

  37. I’ve felt the same way. Actually, I still feel that way from time to time. It’s hard not to look at what others have and want it, and to feel ashamed that your not where they are. But you’ll get there, Anna. I know it. It all depends on time. We all have to wait for that time when these things will happen for us. For some, it happens sooner. For others, it happens later. When its your time, it’ll happen. πŸ™‚

  38. We’ve all felt that at some point. What you’re feeling is just normal human emotions. Give yourself a break. Do what you can. (((hugs)))

  39. I’ve been there. Just keep writing and enjoying what you do. I’d been writing eight years before I sold my first book, which wasn’t the first book I wrote. Success will come.

  40. Our insecurities don’t often pull us down. It actually helps shape ourselves–for the better because it helps us see what our frailties are and–being a writer–we can use that to shape a character, set the mood, make the scenes come alive. So keep going! I’m here. Rooting for you!

  41. jenniferbielman

    Totally normal feelings as a writer. Your time will come!

  42. You are always an inspiration to me Anna. I think as long as your Muse is happy you are doing exactly what you are suppose to be doing.

    Thank you for stopping by for visit. I became ill with horrible virus on IWSG day. If I had not already written my posted I would have miss the posting. That why its take so long to get back to you. I really appreciate your comments. Hope you have a great day. /Writer’s Gambit Juneta

  43. Anna, you are always so supportive, so don’t beat yourself up for being a little “off beat”…
    You’re only human. πŸ˜€
    Having said that, I often feel like a total fraud… and so far behind every other writer, all who have been writing for decades. *sighs*
    But I won’t give up.

  44. Don’t give up. You deserve the beautiful rainbow too. I often feel the same way as you, especially when I see much younger writers with so much success.

  45. I know exactly what you mean! I always want to compare myself to other writers and wonder why it comes so easily for some, or why their books do so much better than mine, or . . . It’s HARD to swallow the jealousy and just try to be happy and supportive of someone else.

    But I think it took a lot of courage to face those feelings and be honest about them here. I admire you for that. And just look at the amazing comments you’ve gotten from so many writers who’ve been right where you are now. What an encouraging group of people!

    • Thanks. I know we all go through stages of growth as human beings and as life-long writers. It feels good to know there are so many of us out there. πŸ™‚

  46. I can say it gets even worse when you publish. Sometimes we have to let ourselves feel the way we do so we can find a way to move on. I know a lot of us wish for our fellow writers to have success, but it’s easy to wish for some of that same success too. Our time will come as long as we keep moving forward. πŸ™‚

  47. Girl, envy is natural and I’m ashamed to say that I feel it sometimes. Most of my friends are already graduated from college and me well… I still ahve a long way to go.
    However, I’m doing what I love, we started classes last week and I’m again a first grade English Teacher. Go me!!!
    I’m sure you will be published very soon

    Ruty @Reading…Dreaming

  48. It’s hard not to feel envious when it seems like everyone is succeeding but you, so don’t beat yourself up. We’re only human and humans can be happy for others while still feeling sad for themselves. Hey, we’re complicated creatures! You’re very talented and your time will come, so don’t give up! πŸ™‚

    Terri @ Alexia’s Books and Such…

  49. I’m cranking along slowly, doing what I can every day. I also have read about so many authors who are on second and third drafts or who either have published or are about to. But it’s best,I think, to go at your own pace. So keep chugging along. You’ll get there – When doesn’t matter. Xx

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