When I first started DearAuthor two years ago, I thought I would be just another reader blog. I had a couple of friends who had blogs (Rosario and Keishon) and I loved reading Maili’s blog (miss McVane terribly). I wanted to part of that reader network.
As DearAuthor grew, though, I began to fret about its growth. I started checking the blog’s statistics constantly, not just once a day but several times a day. I wanted to be bigger and appear higher in the google rankings. While on the one hand I was stunned and appreciative of the growth, I began to want more. The worst offshoot of the DA growth was the animosity I started to feel toward the Smart Bitch website. Around the winter of 2006, I began to resent the SB site and the SB creators tremendously.
With every accolade they received (and they have been nominated for bloggie awards, featured in Sadie Magazine, guest columns at Tango, named one of PC editor’s top blog reads and rightly so), my little green monster was fed. I would get emails about how funny they were. I read with envy at the number of authors that frequented their site. When I decided to go to RWA in the summer of 2007, I knew that they would be there. And I also knew, with the surety of one who knows nothing, that they would be embraced and I would not be. They wrote better. They were funnier. They had more contacts.
When RWA rolled around, I had engaged in a few email exchanges with Sarah and Candy. Nothing of import, but I can tell you that the idea of meeting them was making me nervous. They would probably be aloof. They would travel with an entourage of authors five meters long. They were, in my opinion, part of the cool crowd and I had never been part of the cool crowd.
But when I met them, in an instant, I saw how warm and friendly they were. Sarah and Candy both confessed to being a little nervous about being there. Sarah, hugely pregnant, sat and talked to us bloggers Kristie J, Wendy, Sybil and I, like there was no other place that she wanted to be. And in the space of an hour, any negativity I had felt melted away. I left RWA and meeting Sarah and Candy with a newfound appreciation for all that they were accomplishing. I recognized that the success of their blog is a good thing for all bloggers. I realized, at the core of it, that Sarah and Candy were like me. Individuals who strive to do the best that they can with their set of skills.
It’s really a pleasure and an honor to consider them friends. I’ve become increasingly closer to SB Sarah, in particular, over the year. I’ve discovered that there are few with a bigger heart than Sarah and few funnier than Candy.
I am ashamed of all the envy I felt. And mostly I recognized that jealousy never made me a better blogger and certainly not a better person. In the great scheme of things, I’ve tried to keep a perspective that this, for me, is just a hobby and that if it is all gone tomorrow, that DearAuthor would crash and burn or we’ve gathered all the readers we will ever gather, I’ll still have my friendships and the wonderful relationships I’ve developed through this process.
Jealousy never makes anyone look good, least of all me. But I tell you that if you feel any jealousy toward another author, you might take an opportunity at RWA to seek out those that they envy (and not in a good way). It’s so much easier to feel jealousy when you don’t know someone, because when you get to know people they’re humanized and it’s tougher to be adversaries. When you interact with people on a face to face basis, you realize everyone has their foibles and their bad days and their moods, and it’s easy to project a whole bunch of stuff onto other people that’s not even there.