Having Writer’s Envy…


This morning, during my usual ritualistic scroll through Twitter, I came upon a platform user gushing over a segment of one of George R.R. Martin’s books. They praised how deep and personal his writing was and how it pulled us into this completely made-up world. 

This simple, and if I am being honest mundane, conversation between two secondary characters felt like such a clever and thought-provoking moment. Yes, it was beautifully written, but it also had a unique realistic blend between humor and emotion. 

I, of course, sent the Tweet to a friend claiming that never in a million years would I ever be able to write like this. 

It then dawned on me that I always somewhat hated my writing and will always find an opportunity to compare it to any other writer. 

It is safe to say that every single time I find a wonderfully written lyric or prose or a basic sentence, a wave of self-pity and jealousy will wash over me. 

Is this a normal, typical thing for a writer?

Well, apparently it is. Because after a study session of research on Google, I have finally found the diagnosis for this embarrassing feeling deep inside me. Writers envy. 

And finding the name for what I’m feeling makes me feel less alone in some way. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who struggles with the fact that when they come across a beautifully written string of words, they will inevitably torture themselves by saying they will never accomplish that skill. 

I crave the level of seeming perfection some of my favorite and most cherished writers reach. And I’m aware that writing is comparable to any other skill. It’s a muscle that needs to be constantly worked out to become stronger. 

Even though I know all of these overused statements, I cannot help but to feel a certain level of jealousy and envy when seeing the power a good sentence can hold. 

I feel like I have yet to find a voice. A true and honest voice that reflects me and what I am trying to put out into the world. As I get older, the chance of finding that voice is slipping through my fingers. 

That may be extremely dramatic to say, but it’s my true feeling. 

And writing without a solid voice and style makes me look at everything I’ve worked on so far and think that it lacks depth and uniqueness. 

I adore musical artists like Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers because they can write about universal concepts like love and pain, yet breathe new life into those themes using their own unique voices. 

When I read over their lyrics, I question the power of my writing. 

But is this feeling of envy the issue that’s actually holding me back from growth? I know that it may sound ridiculously minute, the idea of being jealous of another’s work, but it truly pains me to feel that I’ve hit a wall that seems impossible to demolish. 

I won’t become great if I continue to trash my writing. But why do I feel this way? And will it ever go away?

I feel that honestly the reason it hurts me the most, my feeling of writer’s envy, is the fact that the only reason I choose this major and future profession is that writing is the only talent I’ve ever felt somewhat good at. 

I never had a hidden talent or special skill. Only writing. 

And If I’m not good at the one thing I have, I will end up with nothing. If I am unable to write up a news story or craft a believable conflict between characters, what do I have?

This is why I have the not-so-subtle habit of fishing for compliments about my writing. And any compliment I have I’ll immediately save it and remind myself of it anytime I find myself feeling envious of another writer.  

I ask myself if will I ever become a successful and skilled writer in this lifetime, and if there is any grand reason for my writing at all. Will I wake up in 10-20 years and hate myself for choosing this path? A path I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk properly. 

There is no answer to any of this. I have yet to stumble onto some mystical epiphany that will make the path in front of me clearer. 

But, ironically, writing about my writer’s envy makes it all feel a lot less overwhelming.