Remember that show Party of Five? Oh, my God - that was such a good show! Remember the one where Claudia gave up playing violin? Remember when Charlie wrecked his relationship with Kirsten? Didn't he leave her at the altar? I couldn't believe that!
But I digress.
The reason I'm bringing up this show in the first place actually has something to do with writing. And jealousy. Yes, I'm ashamed to admit I suffer from a serious attack of author envy whenever I perceive that some other writer has already achieved what I'm working toward. When this happens I:
1. want to read the author's book, but stall instead. What if it's better than anything I could ever write? What if it's not?
2. research the author's age and background. Let's just hope the author is much older than I am, and has paid plenty of dues (ie. more dues than I have paid to date).
3. dig up the author's hometown in the process of researching. Let's just hope the author lives far away, so I can imagine he or she achieved greatness with some geographical advantages I simply don't have.
Looking over this list, it's clear my jealous feelings actually stem from insecurity. I'm looking for excuses, reasons why it might make sense if I never achieve my goals. Jealousy is silly. Ridiculous. Self-defeating.
But I'm not a lost case. Because there's also...
4. think back to that episode of Party of Five, where Bailey was jealous of his girlfriend Sarah's success. I forget what she was doing - acting? voiceovers? singing? - but the point was, she didn't have a lot of free time for Bailey anymore. And when he got on her case about it, she told him off. The gist of it was something like, "Don't sit around being jealous. Do something to make your own life better. Do something to get what you want."
And that's the part to really remember when you're a writer with goals.