Writerly Wednesdays

Envy: Destroyer of Worlds

The writer’s journey is an individual path. Comparing your career to other writers is dangerous because envy creeps into your heart and threatens to hold you back. Here are three warnings and three points of encouragement as you travel your writing path.


1.  Compare careers. Writing journeys vary. Your unique experience is yours alone, and your trials and circumstances show in your work, creating a work of passion that only one person could write—you.

Comparisons are entirely fruitless, for if the experience is different, then the outcomes must be distinct. Of course, you will have different characters and stories, a unique book cover that doesn’t look like theirs, and various fans. It’s impossible to have similar careers because you write unique stories.

2.  Live with envy. Readers vary and need differences in work. Getting to know a new author is a pleasure. You might be that new author. Envy might make you write like someone else because you want to be like them. Be a distinct voice. 

Also, envying another writer’s success shows in your writing as a lack of confidence. Jealousy makes it easy to let negativity flow onto the page from your tongue or fingers. 

3.  Forget the meaning of success. Most authors do not consider themselves a success. Not even Pulitzer Prize winners or best-selling authors. However, other writers envy their level of success. Be an example to other writers and enjoy your work and journey rather than envy others. No matter where you are in your journey, you’ll never feel a lasting sense of success.


Focus on these three tips to break the envy cycle.

1.  Be friends with other writers. Ignore their work when you can. We all have our careers, and while we respect their work, we’re not competing or stealing readers. We’re talking, enjoying each other’s company, and encouraging readers to buy everyone’s books.

2.  Be so focused on bettering yourself that you won’t have time for envy. I believe this thought comes from the Bible. Be so focused on your search for God’s character that you’ve no time for sin. 

One philosopher I’ve read sequestered himself from others in a tower because they influenced him, and he needed to break from their subjective mindsets. He emerged when he’d finished his book.  He’d learned from other careers and work but didn’t envy them. He focused on his work. Build that stone tower in your mind. 

3. Pay attention to what’s working for someone who sparks your jealousy, then make that thing yours. If you want their number of fans or quality of work, ask how they do it. Get advice. Then, make it yours, changing their methods to fit your personality and style. For example, someone you respect posts reels daily and has one thousand fans. However, you hate reels but love long posts. Work on yourself, knowing that your journey will look differently, take comfort in knowing God is with you, and write the best long posts you possibly can. It’s your journey, and you must own and enjoy the path.

This is about your story, experience, and value—your personal, epic story. Don’t squander it by envying others. The following references lead to a few Bible verses about envy that help put jealousy’s consequences into perspective. Take great pains to focus on yourself, your journey with God, your skills, and your value. Your fans will thank you for your efforts!

James 3:16. James 4:2-3. Proverbs 14:30. Proverbs 27:4. Ecclesiastes 4:4. Song of Solomon 8:6. Job 5:2. Galatians 5:26. 1 Corinthians 13:4. Romans 13:13. Matthew 27:18

Beliefs represented by individual authors are not necessarily shared by all members of ICW.


  • Peter Leavell

    Peter Leavell, a graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and a MA in English Literature, was the 2011 winner of the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author, along with multiple other awards. An author, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband, and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com

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