Little TalksToday's Tune:
Unless you haven't been paying attention to the last week of publishing
news AT ALL, you will know that Lena Dunham recently sold an advice book
for $3.5 million. Something about being a 20-something in NYC and
dealing with the trials of dating and internships and figuring out your
life path. Yes, that's right. One non-fiction book, 3.5 MILLION DOLLARS.
If you're even remotely human and capable of suffering emotions such
as jealousy, then I'm sure hearing this news (and other similar
stories) sends many thoughts reeling through your head. That's not fair!
Ugh, HER? I don't even know who that is! They spent that much money on
WHAT? THIS is what they're taking a huge financial risk on?
They're willing to throw literally millions of dollars at this
person, but they won't even spare a measly pittance of an advance for my
It's okay. Let those thoughts out. Let them leech like poison out of your ears and eyes and mouth. Let them hurt.
And then let them go.
When stories like this happen, it's
super easy to let them latch onto your heart and start threading all
kinds of negativity and resentment through your blood; sometimes
founded, sometimes not. Especially when you've been struggling to let
one of your little stories see the light of day for a long time. It's
easy to assume that when this much money is being thrown around, it
means that there's less money, less time, less space for your book. It's
easy to project and think "because they decided to go with this book,
mine's getting passed over."
I know. Those thoughts have crept into my head, too. Even though
logically I know better, sometimes I can't help but want to scream WHAT
THE F*#& into my pillow over and over. When you want something
really, really badly and you worked hard for it and it's just not...
quite... THERE... sometimes it just GETS to you. It combines into a
slimy monster of stress and sadness that hangs out in your chest and
makes you want to be snarky and upset all the time.
But you have to let it go.
tempting to cling to it like a protective blanket. You can blame
everything on it and throw chunks of it at the people who have what you
want but (in your opinion) don't deserve it as much as you. It's an
ugly, burdensome demon, and it makes you not very pleasant to be around.
Plus it smells funny.
I'm giving us all permission to be jealous
and sad for a little while. It's okay. It happens to the best of us.
There's nothing more human than striving and struggling toward the next
peak of your journey, and feeling crushed when you miss the mark. The
trick is not to look at the people on different peaks and throw
snowballs at them while you scowl and go nowhere.
celebrities and politicians and randoms and whoever else will be
seemingly plucked out of nowhere and handed a big wad of cash along with
their shiny book deal. That will always happen. But publishers don't
stop buying other books or looking for new talent just because they made
a big deal with someone else. This sort of thing is not a this-or-that
situation. No one is going to publish another celebrity wank memoir in
place of your staggering work of genius. They can and do publish both.
And when that green monster threatens to take up residence like a bad
cold, flush it out with a few good reminders.
This is a tough
business. No one promised you this would be easy, or fast, or perfect.
But I tend to believe that for the people who come so close, it's only a
matter of time until it's you in the publishing announcements.
How do you guys deal with The Jelousies?