Reposted: Comparison Isn’t Your Biggest Problem (And Other Ways Envy Makes Writing Miserable)

An interesting piece, readers:


January 2, 2023

Gabrielle Pollack

The most helpful writing advice I learned this year came from the letters of a demon.

C. S. Lewis published The Screwtape Letters serially in a newspaper called The Guardian. Eight decades later, I listened to the rumbling voice of Joss Ackland on the audiobook version. Playing the role of Uncle Screwtape, he explained how junior tempter Wormwood could afflict his victim with unhappiness: “Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered.”

Lewis realized that the human race harbors an oversized sense of entitlement. Because others have more than we do, we think we deserve the same amount. In idle moments, we wake our phones and thumb through twenty social media posts per second. We read glowing reviews for a debut novel that the author pounded out in two months. We see friends gushing about their book deals, finished drafts, and beta-readers-turned-fans. They’ve achieved their goals while we haven’t. We try to celebrate with them. We extend perfunctory congratulations, but inwardly we can’t resist asking, Why not me?

Screwtape would be delighted to watch the writing community tripping over the tenth commandment: thou shall not covet.

Read more….

3 thoughts on “Reposted: Comparison Isn’t Your Biggest Problem (And Other Ways Envy Makes Writing Miserable)

  1. Well, it’s easier to complain about other writers “having too easy” than it is to get busy writing & learning the writing trade.

    Liked by 1 person

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