To herald the upcoming release of my third novel, Driving in Neutral—a love story about claustrophobia—I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series. It takes Maxwell, the claustrophobic hero in Driving in Neutral a little while to figure this out, but sometimes you have to embrace your fear.
As a writer, there is always a potential to fall into certain traps; clichés, a reliance on certain plot devices and phrases, cardboard or stereotyped characters. There is also a potential to fall into another trap, one that I check on a regular basis, to ensure I haven’t caught my tongue in some spiked barbs. As a result of this routine examination, I’ve built up what I like to think is a healthy level of paranoia, or if I get technical, Zelophobia, the fear of jealousy.
I am afraid of being jealous.
The thing is, I see Zelophobia as a positive phobia. I see Invidiaphobia, the fear of envy, as a positive phobia.
I think ALL writers should have these phobias because there is no reason for any author to ever get caught in the trap of professional jealousy or envy. No, really. What purpose does jealousy or envy serve you? What purpose does jealously or envy serve you, the writer?
If you’re a writer, be self-centrered, look at professional jealousy or envy this way and ask yourself these questions: What purpose does it serve for a writer to be jealous or envious of another writer? Does the jealously or envy improve my writing? Does it garner me rave reviews? Does it lead me to being offered a publishing contract? Does it make fans buy squillions of copies of my books?
Did you answer ‘yes’ to any of them?
I bet you didn’t.
This is where being self-centred is a good thing. If you are a writer, I urge you to be self-centred. I urge you to write the best book you can. I urge you to make your writing ALL ABOUT YOU. I urge you to nurture your Zelophobia and Invidiaphobia.