Writers are a cutthroat bunch. Not all of them, of course, but a whole lot of them. It seems like every other day, I see a writer (or wannabe writer) put down some other writer for one reason or another.
Statements like these are just too common:
- Writer X is a hack and doesn’t deserve half the praise he gets.
- How does Writer Y sell so many units? It amazes me.
- Erotica writers are sellouts.
I admit that I used to have thoughts like these, especially during my first year of serious writing. I was jealous, I was angry, I was arrogant, I was scared. I used to put down other writers because it made me feel good.
And then I put out a few stories on Amazon, made zero sales, and my Insult-Other-Writers Module went into overdrive. I downvoted everything I saw on Reddit. If I couldn’t have success, then why should they?
Part of me believed that I could raise my chances at success if I brought others down. According to my faulty logic, every successful new writer meant less room for my own success. Only a handful of writers could “win” per year, so if I dragged another writer down, I could rise above them. Right?
I’ve since learned that writing is not a zero-sum game. There isn’t a fixed pool of “success” that gets depleted when a writer “wins.” The success or failure of Writer X has no direct impact on the success or failure of Writer Y. Indirect influences? Sure. But in the grand scheme, it’s negligible.
Writing is not a competition. For someone who’s deeply competitive (like me), this can be a hard truth to swallow. Truth is, when one writer wins, all writers win.
The best attitude is to be supportive of others writers in the same way that you’d want them to be supportive of you. Writing is a dream job, but it’s stressful and mentally taxing. We all need as much help as we can get.
Bottom line? Spend less time worrying about other writers. Spend more time writing. Celebrate writers when they win. Support them when they fail. The world isn’t kind towards writers. If we can’t help each other out, who will?