A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Envy...it ain't pretty.

Ironic that I find myself on this topic when the week has been hot on the topic of plagiarism in our little corner of the world. No. Don't worry. This isn't another post about that topic. Not really.

At least once a week I find myself in the position of having several posts to read around the blogosphere. Thanks to google reader this is amazingly quick and painless. Sometimes during this process I encounter a series of extremely well written posts and I'm just amazed and, yes, I admit it, jealous of the writing talent.

People of all ages, gender, backgrounds, sizes, shapes...you get my drift. Lots of different people, a rainbow of different people, are all writing and expressing thoughts, opinions, pictures, music, and movies. Any topic that touches their lives can make its way into their blog.

Today was one of those days where I read posts on a wide variety of topics and came away again amazed and a little bit green...with envy. If I was reading this on anyone else's blog I'd tell them not to worry. Stick to your own voice and style. Just be yourself. I get that. I really do.


You knew there was one, right? But I just wish I had that something extra. Why it's so important to me I couldn't say. Okay, that's not true. I CAN say, but it's pretty superficial and shallow. It's important because I want to feel relevant. I want to be understood, and, since I'm on my "I" fest, I admit it, I want to be liked.

As a reader I'm pretty confident when I read something that I know is going to connect with a lot of people. Not due to the subject matter, although sometimes that is the case, but because the writer choses their words in such a way that it is accessible to a lot of people. Geez, I admire that.

There are quite a few people that just seem to be able to write like they talk. In some cases I've met the people so I know their true personality comes out in their writing. It's like being in a conversation with them. You feel like they wrote and are speaking directly to you. I dig that, I really do.

The hard part is not to think about that when I write. I have to make a conscious effort not to "borrow" from someone else's style of writing. While tempting I know it just won't work. It's dishonest, and I think it would be incredibly difficult to try and write in someone else's shoes.

While I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't represent themselves honestly on the internet, (Duh!) I don't want to be one of them. But I'm going to have to work on the envy thing because sometimes I hear myself sigh aloud and think...I wish I could write like that. The consequence of that sort of thinking is paralyzing. I don't want to write anything.

I guess it's a good thing I have a healthy ego and keep plugging along in spite of myself. Isn't it?

Envy...it ain't pretty.

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Blogger Wendy said...

All you can do is stay true to your own "voice," and honestly, sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to it. I've written some things that I think kick-a$$, but you can hear the crickets chirping from the lack of comments! Then other times I dash something off in 5 minutes and everyone is telling me what a great piece I've written etc.

So my advice? Don't sweat it. I think the thing about blogging is to remain genuine. It's such a personal (and let's face it, egotistical!) medium that people can spot phonies a mile away.

1:30 PM PST  
Blogger Rosie said...

Yeah I know...but "don't sweat it" I have to work on that.

1:35 PM PST  
Blogger meljean brook said...

Delurking... :-)

I don't do it as much blogging, because I'm pretty irreverent and do it to entertain myself more than anything (although I am envious of how well people express their reactions to books, and the ability to review) -- but I do get it a lot when I'm reading. Coming across someone with a really powerful voice (JD Robb, JR Ward) and envying it, wishing I could do it, but knowing if I tried it'd come across both copycat and fake.

And it's not that I don't love my writing, I do -- but when you come across something like that, I think it's perfectly human to feel that envy. And it's hard not to sweat it, and wonder how you can pull in just a little bit more magic to your writing. The same way I see my husband and how easily he interacts with people, and I'm envious of that ability, even though I'm pretty happy with my (rather shy) real-life personality. Heck, I'm even envious of my online, author persona that seems to find it easier to connect with other readers and writers than I do with the other mothers at my daughter's school.

And I tell myself not to sweat it, too -- and I agree it's hard. Sometimes not...but sometimes, yes. And then I eat chocolate, and go on and write a little more.

2:17 PM PST  
Blogger Rosie said...

I know I'm supposed to be cool and sophisticated, but when a writer you admire so much comments on your blog well that's just waaaay cool!!! So let me take a time out here and gush a little. I really like your books! And, anyway, what are a few !!! among friends? :-)

I printed your comment for my husband to read. He immediately observed that we are the opposite of you and your husband as I'm more out going with people and he's the quiet observer in our relationship. It's great because we always have so much to talk about from our differing perspectives.

2:36 PM PST  
Blogger Jodi_Lee said...

I hear ya sista! I remember when you wrote a similar post, probably about a year ago, about envying Jennifer Crusie's writing style. I went to her blog...read...and then totally understood what you were saying. If it helps, I get a kick out of your writing style! I love it when you say things like "see ya around campus." It's such a small thing, but I read that on a comment of yours and I thought to myself "I'd never think to say that." So see, while you are off envying other people, other people are envying you. **kisses**

4:33 PM PST  
Blogger meljean brook said...

Cool and sophisticated are highly overrated.

Although I'm not sure if me saying that actually means anything, because I say "w000t!" a lot. :-D So maybe it's just wishful thinking. Either way, I'll go through life happily blind to everyone pointing at me and saying, "now there's someone who can't do cool and sophisticated."

Anyway, w00000ters will take over the world, someday.

6:07 PM PST  
Blogger Rosie said...

Jodi, I so remember that post. Every once in a while it just really hits me. Any way you are the sweetest thing to say those things and I very much appreciate them.

Meljean, are you trying to give a heart attack? Twice in one day!!! :) Woot indeed!!!

10:39 PM PST  
Blogger Holly said...

I read this yesterday (and my internet was wonky and I couldn't comment) but I laughed out loud (literally) because darling, I so wish I could be you. LOL I was thinking to myself, "Seriously? She feels that way? Wow, I thought it was just me!" HAHAHA!

I often give myself writers block for just this reason. Or I'll read a fabulous book (case in point, a Meljean Brook book *ehem*) and I'll think, "I so wish I could say what I'm truly feeling about this book..." because when I try, it just comes out wrong, and not at all what I want it to be.

I think we all suffer with that. It's natural and normal, but you really are fabulous. I love your writing voice and every day I look forward to reading what you have to say.

I think we all need to work on that "don't sweat it" attitude. We'll get there eventually, right?

11:19 AM PST  
Blogger CindyS said...

It's funny that Meljean commented because it was her post on Anne Stuart and red shoes that blew me away this week. Then I reminded myself she's a writer so of course her words would blow me away!!

I struggle with the envy also. And Lord the days when I type up something and think 'Really? Socks? You're writing about socks!?'

Lately I have been deleting more of my posts after I have written them or even half way through before I publish. Just last week I decided to let it be and just publish what I wrote but like Holly said, it can get to the point where I'm blocked and don't have a clue where to start.

And I love coming here and reading your posts. For me it is like going for a visit without having to deal with panic attacks. And I know I don't *know* you but I feel like I do and if one day I get to meet you, even better! So keep on writing even when that envy bug is biting.


2:34 PM PST  
Blogger nath said...

Hi Rosie!

You shouldn't be green with envy. I think what happens is that when we write, we don't see that we have the extra something. It's like the saying "The grass is always greener at the neighbor's" (okay, not sure it's a saying in english, but it is in french)... you just don't realize how fun and well put together your writing is... and I guess it's because you're comparing yourself to others. but anyway, I just wanted to say that I know what you mean. i'd like to be funny and a bit sarcastic like Cindy and Holly... but I don't think it's happening :P

3:03 PM PST  
Blogger Rosie said...

Holly, you sweetie! I try to be honest when I write but sometimes I think I'm just being a whiner. Other times I want to slap myself and say, "Snap out of it!"

I totally agree that fear or worry or what-ever-you-want-to-call-it is incredibly paralyzing. It makes it tough to sit down at a keyboard and write. Can you imagine if you had a book contract? Holy crap!

Cindy, Meljean's post on the red shoes was excellent. She made her point too. Yeah, that was one of the ones I read and thought, "Wow!" I soothe myself with the thought that Meljean is a professional. :)

I completely agree that visiting some blogs is like going for a visit. Your posts are some of the most honest and accessible out there. I always feel like we are chatting when I read your posts. That and you usually make me laugh. Out loud no less.

Nath, here we say "the grass is always greener on the other side." Meaning whatever someone else has always looks better. You make a good point. I just find it hard not to compare when I read something that is really, really good. Although all these nice comments everyone has left could go to my head. :-) Then you will all be wondering where I got all my ego.

5:00 PM PST  

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