Funny You Should Ask: How to Support Your More Successful Writer Friend When You're Feeling Jealous

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she offers tips for remaining supportive of your more successful writer friends when they achieve your goals.
Author:
Publish date:

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she offers tips for remaining supportive of your more successful writer friends when they achieve your goals.

Image placeholder title

Dear PB & J,

The publishing path is like a game of Plinko on “The Price Is Right”: You all have the same chip to drop in, but it won’t take the same course to its destination. Try to find the confidence to assert that your boots are exactly where they need to be on your path. Know, too, that those chips can take a sudden wild hop—for better or for worse. One day you and your friend may have switched places, so it’s wise to act the way you hope he might if and when that time comes.

You can’t ever truly control a reflex of envy, but here are some hypothetical scenarios to keep you self-aware, outwardly projecting more of the PB (Positive Buddy) and less of the J.

Jelly: A friend emails to say the manuscript she sent out on Friday has an offer of representation. It’s Monday.

PB: Burn a printed copy of that email over the kitchen sink while hissing, “So glad I got that MFA.” Then return to the computer and type, “Huge congrats! Let me know if you want to Skype with wine tonight so we can run through your list of questions to ask the agent.” Bonus: It’ll help you prep for your own eventual call, too.

Jelly: You’ve sold two books for $10,000 each. Your friend’s debut just banked $250,000. Each. For a trilogy.

PB: Scream into a throw pillow until your spouse offers to take the kids out for dinner. When the house is quiet, call your friend and say, “My envy is as green as the Kate Spade bag you will buy me for having helped you revise your earlier drafts.” Then trade ideas for stops on her book tour.

Jelly: Your friend hit The New York Times list the week she debuted.

PB: Place your friend’s book in the driveway and back over it. Then text him: “WOW! So happy for you! And for me, too, because now I know a bestseller who will blurb my book!”

It’s OK to acknowledge the green-eyed monster—just don’t let him linger. Consider it fuel for the fire—then get back to focusing on your own Plinko chip.WD

ASK FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK! Submit your own questions on the writing life, publishing or anything in between to writers.digest@fwmedia.com with “Funny You Should Ask” in the subject line. Select questions (which may be edited for space or clarity) will be answered in future columns, and may appear on WritersDigest.com and in Writer’s Digest magazine.

Image placeholder title

Guide to Literary Agents 2019

plot_twist_story_prompts_without_a_trace_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Without a Trace

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave without a trace.

WDVintage_10_29

Vintage WD: The Truth about True Crime

In this article from July 2000, true crime novelist and former New York Times correspondent Lisa Beth Pulitzer shares with us some key insights for breaking into the true crime genre.

new_agent_alert_barb_roose_books_such_literary_services_adult_christian_fiction_and_nonfiction

New Agent Alert: Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Grinnell_10:28

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: Seven Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

Evoking emotion on the page begins with the man or woman at the keyboard. Dustin Grinnell serves up seven straightforward tactics for writing tear-jerking stories that make your readers empathize with your characters.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 546

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a spooky poem.

Richard_Shadowlands

Learn Better World-Building Strategies Through World of Warcraft and the New Shadowlands Expansion

WD editor and fantasy writer Moriah Richard shares five unique ways in which writers can use World of Warcraft to better build their worlds—without playing the game.

Hall_10:27

Seven Tips for Intuitive Writing: The Heart-Hand Connection

Award-winning author Jill G. Hall shares her top tips for how to dive into your latest project head-first.

bearing_vs_baring_vs_barring_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Bearing vs. Baring vs. Barring (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use bearing vs. baring vs. barring on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.