I was very dismayed to see this comment on a recent post of mine:
What happens when it’s not the editors and agents that drag you down, but the other writers? How do you handle the added stress of other somewhat more successful writers who once encouraged you and now are telling not only you, but their editors and small fan base, that you are a horrible, unoriginal, immature person? When you’ve barely made a handhold and a few steps in the cliff of a writing career, how do you handle other writers stomping on your fingers?
Sadly, I’ve heard lots of stories like this—critique groups or even writers’ organizations who can’t handle the success of someone else or are afraid that someone else is going to rise up and outshine them. Do you know what I think you do? Find new friends. Editors and agents listen to gossip with half an ear. It’s interesting, but in the end we are adults and know how to make our own decisions. People badmouth other people. It happens, it happens to me all the time. I personally find it amusing. I figure that I must have made it if people feel the need to try to sully my name. If other writers, friends, your critique group, whoever, are the people bringing your down, then it’s time to cut the cord. Find a new critique group, new friends, and new writing buddies (unfortunately there’s only so much you can do about family).
Usually it’s jealousy that causes people to talk the way they talk. If you aren’t published and they are, it’s fear. Maybe they know you’re a better writer, or just fear that you are. Maybe they like being the star and are afraid someone else might outshine them. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
Every single writer, or at least most writers, have had an experience like this at one point or another. So how did you handle it or what was your horror story?