It’s the dirty little secret none of us likes to admit to, but I’d venture to guess most of us in the deepest recesses of our ambitious little hearts will have experienced literary envy at some point. There is a very nice piece by Maura Kelly in the current issue of Poets & Writers titled “Writer Envy,” which quotes Mark Doty’s solution (which I turn to myself, after of course indulging in the petty little thoughts I will admit to in general but not in detail):
The remedy for artistic bitterness is immersion in the present, in the joyful, continuing struggle of making something. You keep the challenges new, you solve the problems a new way, you do what you don’t know how to do yet, and you’ll stay awake in your spirit, and it won’t matter quite as much what anyone thinks.
Stay awake in your spirit. I love that.
If you have a favorite quote on literary envy, an anecdote, or a favorite remedy, do share it in the comments!
I couldn’t find the whole piece on line to link to, but the magazine’s website is rich with other information. I’ve been a subscriber since not long after I started writing. It’s my favorite comfortable-chair magazine. – Meg