Anyway, let's have a look at the picture that's to blame for my tardiness:
We see, read, or hear about another writer landing a great book deal, or their book gets optioned for a movie or television project, and we can't help feeling a pang of envy. "Who the heck is that? I've never even heard of them," or "Really? They're making a movie out of that book?"
Usually, this sort of reaction is followed by thoughts of career change, such as delivering pizza or becoming a telemarketer, or replacing the poor bastard who has to give suppositories to zoo animals.
Sure, it's natural to offer up such a response when we see someone else in our chosen field gaining success we don't or perhaps even ever won't enjoy. There's really no stopping that sort of thing, even if the sensation lasts for a few fleeting seconds. Humans are fiercely competitive creatures; we can turn anything into a contest of wills or a pitched battle between the forces of good and evil, even if it's just figuring out who's getting that last chicken wing.
I mean, it's not just me, right? Hello?
Yes, it's understandable that as writers, we'll experience that moment of jealousy when another writer--particularly if it's someone we know personally or with whom we at least enjoy a familiarity thanks to social media--announces a new project or a lucrative book deal. I'll admit there have been times when someone I know mentions they've landed a deal to write a particular book or participate in a certain project, and I can't help wondering why I wasn't approached about it or perhaps even considered. I'll think, "Now, hang on. The editor/publisher knows me, and knows I'd welcome such an opportunity. Why didn't they call? What did I do to offend them? Oh, wow. Are they ever going to call me again about anything? Ever?"
Then I talk myself down after a minute or so of this, eat a Snickers bar, and move on. In truth, I suspect my subconscious plays tricks like this just because it knows I'm trying to cut down on Snickers bars, and it's mad at me.
While it's normal to cave to that fleeting bit of doubt in these sorts of situations, don't fall into the trap of dwelling on such things. Another thing to avoid is succumbing to the urge to start eyeing that other writer's accomplishments in comparison to our own. One writer enjoying a lucrative publishing deal or great reviews on Amazon has no bearing on our own efforts. It's not a competition, nor is it some form of "zero sum game." Their successes don't brand us failures.
Instead, channel those feelings toward something positive. Whenever a friend or colleague announces a project or new deal, I want to celebrate their accomplishment with them. Their good news motivates me to keep after my own goals. It challenges me to work harder, get better at what I do, finish the projects for which other people have already contracted or paid me, and get on with figuring out what I'm going to do next. Then, I just repeat that little cycle, every day.
Long story short? Don't lose sleep over what other writers are doing. Keep your eyes on your own prize.