Blood, Sweat & Fears with the Aunties of Agony
Tabatha Wood & J.A. Sullivan
Dear Aunties of Agony,
The end of the year is coming, and everywhere I turn I see other writers celebrating their successes. I’m happy for them, but it makes me feel horribly inadequate. How can I stop feeling so envious?
Dear Green-Eyed Writer,
It’s natural to feel a little envious of others, but don’t let that stop you from reflecting on your own progress. While you might not be able to completely stop being envious of others, the only writer you should ever compare yourself to is you.
Perhaps this year didn’t end with signing a book deal, selling as many copies of your work as you’d hoped, or being flooded with acceptance letters, but those aren’t the only measures of success. Focus on what you have achieved. Maybe you had a larger word count this year compared to last. Perhaps you tackled submitting far more stories this year than in the past. Or, you took the time to participate in writing classes, workshops or tried NaNoWriMo for the first time. All of these are huge steps, so take the time to acknowledge all that you have achieved. And remember, other people’s accomplishments do not diminish yours.
Another thing to keep in mind is that every writer’s journey is different. When you compare yourself to others, you’re really only looking at end results and you might not realise how long it took that person to find success. The author who signed a book deal might have taken years to write and polish their project and spent several more years having that same book rejected over and over. Instead of begrudging the triumphs of others, learn from them and be inspired to push forward into the new year.
Keep challenging yourself, celebrate how far you’ve come, and work hard to make 2020 even better.
The Aunties of Agony
P.S. Be sure to check in with your Aunties in January for tips on setting goals and smashing them.
The Aunties of Agony are Tabatha Wood and J. A. Sullivan. Our monthly column is a place to ask questions and get advice on all things related to writing. If you need help, please leave your enquiry in the comment section, or ask us on twitter (@merinutang and ScaryJASullivan), and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. If you’d like to remain anonymous, just let us know when you get in touch.
Together let’s keep the scares on the page and quash the fears that are keeping you from gaining readers.
J. A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, ON, Canada. Attracted to everything non-horror folks consider strange, she’s spent years as a paranormal investigator, has an insatiable appetite for serial killer information, and would live inside a library if she could.
Her latest short story can be found in Don’t Open the Door: A Horror Anthology (out July 26, 2019), and other spooky tales can be found on her blog. She’s currently writing more short stories, a novel, and reading as many dark works as she can find.
You can follow J. A. on Twitter @ScaryJASullivan
Check out her blog https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com
Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan
Tabatha Wood lives in New Zealand and writes weird, dark fiction and uplifting poetry. Despite her obsession with the strange and unusual, she considers herself mostly harmless, although she does take great delight in shocking people with her stories every chance she can get.
A former English teacher and library manager, Tabatha’s first published books were non-fiction guides aimed at people working in education. She now teaches from home while writing in her spare time.
She released her debut collection, “Dark Winds Over Wellington: Chilling Tales of the Weird & the Strange” in March 2019. Since then she has had stories published in the charity anthology “Tricksters Treats 3, Seven Deadly Sins” and in “Guilty Pleasures and Other Dark Delights”. She also has two stories in the upcoming December issues of horror/dark fiction magazines, Midnight Echo #14 and Breach #12.
Tabatha is the lead editor in a team of twelve for the “Black Dogs, Black Tales” anthology. The collection aims to raise money and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and will be published by ’Things In The Well Press’ in 2020.