Suffering From Writer Envy? There’s a Map Only You Can Make

map and pins

Any accomplished writer is also a reader—and usually a reader first. For the writer who is the least a bit humble, this sets up one of the most significant psychological barriers to pursuing a writing career: How could I ever produce something as wonderful as [admired writer / admired book]?

This is an area that Steven Pressfield is well known for covering (see The War of Art), and in this month’s Glimmer Train bulletin, fiction writer Danielle Lazarin shares how she deals with the challenge:

I was only halfway through Stuart Dybek’s I Sailed with Magellan when I decided I should just give up on writing altogether…and I wanted to leave it to him, a far more lyric, braver writer than I would ever be.

At these humbling moments, I remember advice I received from Dan Chaon while studying fiction at Oberlin. At the end of a semester, he wrote to me: “There’s a very specific world that only you can write about, a map that only you can make…”

Read the rest of Danielle’s excellent piece.

Also in this month’s Glimmer Train bulletin:


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Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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[…] Any accomplished writer is also a reader—and usually a reader first. For the writer who is the least a bit humble, this sets up one of the most significant psychological barriers to pursuing a writing career: How could I ever produce something as wonderful as [admired writer / admired book]? This is an area that Steven …  […]

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[…] Morrill shares 5 things she learned when she switched genres, Jane Friedman discusses writer envy, Ruth Harris describes how resilience will help you reach your writing goals, and Ava Jae reflects […]

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