Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shiny Tiara Power

Yep. That's a tiara on my head. Wanna make something of it?

Mur Lafferty rocks my world.

Seriously, if you want to write fiction, and you're not listening to Mur's I Should Be Writing podcast, then I'm just convinced you're not really trying. It's like the best blog ever, but in audio format, and with published-author interviews.

Anyway, Mur recently wrote a blog post about Sour Grapes and Spite in which she was brutally honest about the bitterness and resentment some of us feel when others get what we want. Because it's not always abstract. Sometimes it's not just that you think that "others" who can't write as well as you are making the big bucks while you toil away in impoverished obscurity... sometimes someone else gets the job or the grant or gets to write the exact article you were trying to score for yourself. You strive to be the best you that you can be, and you do your research and write your cover letters and design your proposal and write your butt off and do everything you could have done... and someone else gets it anyway.

Let us take a moment to mourn and rage against the competitors.

(And maybe you, personally, don't ever feel this way... in which case you must be really Zen, or really in touch with your higher power, or just really really a better person than I am, but if you're not one of those totally unbelievably generous and kind people, you'll know what I'm talking about. The rest of you can go away and have a cupcake because you clearly deserve it and you don't need to waste time reading about petty jealousies because you're above that. Kudos.)

Now, after you've mourned and raged (and, if you're me, gotten your husband to trash-talk that person for you while you eat ice cream)... WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT?

I am prepared to forgive repeated lapses into unlovely thoughts about those who get what we feel is "rightfully" ours, but after a while wallowing ceases to be therapeutic and actually stunts progress. And that's a problem.

In her post, Mur wondered why she didn't just go out and do the things she wanted to do, despite not getting that position/grant money. Why not just go do it anyway? Naturally it would have been easier to do all the things she wanted if she had funding and a fancy title, but, as she put it:
I don’t need the label to do the work, and if I honestly thought I could help people out, then why did I need the shiny tiara power of the position to do so?
(You were wondering what was up with the tiara. Now you know.)

So, I am hereby distributing Shiny Tiara Power to those who need it. Maybe you don't have the imprimatur that you would have gotten by virtue of getting the job / the grant / the article / publication. But I bet there's something you can do in that same direction without any official sanction. Go put on your tiara. Go do it.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to be totally let go of that nugget of spitefulness I've been known to harbor... but maybe I can roll it up in a nice productive/competitive outer shell. Maybe I can make sure that it always drives me forward rather than stopping me cold.

Also, I should probably learn to blowdry my hair and put on some makeup before I post photos of myself online, but whatever.


  1. This made me laugh. I am wearing a tiara right now. An actual physical tiara. My daughter put it on my head this morning, and proclaimed it the "Crown of Wisdom."

    Mine's pink.

    Is it helping me write my revisions? Don't know.

    But I am doing it.

    Thanks for the shove.

  2. Yeah, I get that whole jealousy thing, so great antidote: go and do it anyway.

    Who needs make up when there is a shiny tiara?

  3. I haven't been trying hard enough, but in my defense this is the first I have heard of Mur-so Thank You for the link.

    I don't have a tiara, but I do have a Spartan helm that I can put on if need be to perform the same function.

  4. I think we all have moments of spite, or jealousy. It's human nature. We just have to remember to get over it - those feelings don't get us anywhere and often lead us astray. So acknowledge the feeling, embrace it, then let it fly away. At least that's what i try to do. Sometimes it even works!

  5. Fun post! matter how kind we are or how good we are at cheering on others, it WILL bite us and it hurts. Bummer. :-)

  6. LOL. I've just put on my virtual tiara of power. All struggling writers need one--or maybe several--shiny ones, spikey ones, glittery pink ones? Thanks for the wisdom.

  7. I think this is a speech we all need to hear. Well said. And I'll take the tiara too. Cuz it's shiny and beautiful and chock full of wisdom, sort of like a princess' sorcerer's hat, I think.

  8. I do know what you're talking about, but maybe we should just look at a slight as something that happens because there are better things waiting ahead. Let those who are smaller than we deal with their stuff so we can get ready for the bigger stuff. Positivity conquers all.

  9. I don't typically wear a tiara, but maybe I ought to consider know, to get the creative juices flowing.

  10. Man-tiaras and Spartan helms are also encouraged. Or perhaps one of these chain mail coifs?

  11. I think Tiara wearing is a must when we do housework.

  12. Oh, Andrew beat me to it. I was going to as for an alternate offering for the fellas 'Cause tiaras seriously mess my do. I can't do 'em. Spartan helms would work.

    You're saying that posting negative reviews on Amazon and starting flame wars on author/agent/editor blogs isn't a productive use of my time? Well, crud. Now I have to find something else to do with all those free hours...

    (Well said, good lady, by the way.)

  13. Ooh, Kristine Kathryn Rusch did a good blog post on this same subject, recently. You might like this one too:
    Freelancers Survival Guide: Professional Jealousy

  14. This is great. It goes with a recent idea. I was challenged to create an alter-ego, like Catwoman. Someone who is selfish enough to go for her glory, cunning, yet still protective. Might blog about it soon. I put on my Catwoman ears headband when I feel really rebellious.

  15. You seriously crack me up: "The rest of you can go away and have a cupcake because you clearly deserve it and you don't need to waste time reading about petty jealousies... "

  16. Carrie, I love that you get your husband to trash talk the competition while you eat ice cream. That is fab. Great post and links.

  17. Whatever, you and that tiara are adorable. ;)

    Love this post! I think it's true. At some level, whether negative or not, I think every author deals with comparison and the why-her/him-but-not-me question. It's part of human nature. You expressed it all very well.

  18. Are you a friend of Susan Adrian's by any chance? If not, you should be.

  19. LOVE IT! I have taken the tiara and I am am running with it. There is no end to my pwoers now... muhaha...hahahahaha... okay. I am taking this a little far aren't I? I'll stop now. Great post!