Monday, September 13, 2010

Envy as a Motivator

By Pamela

Sherry, Daphne, Debbie, Lori, Dana, Robin
When I was in seventh grade, I desperately wanted to be popular. I figured out the best strategy was to become a cheerleader. The fact that I could barely execute a cartwheel did nothing to deter me. I had my brother’s girlfriend teach me a cheer and practiced it continually until time for tryouts. Ready…okay! Clap, clap…

In fact, given a moment to meditate on it, I could probably perform that sucker today—if my life depended on it. Thank goodness it doesn’t.

That dream never came true…even having one of my favorite teachers on the judges’ panel didn’t help me. I was that bad. Instead, I ran track and played volleyball, my middle-school status never really reaching the cheerleading pinnacle of popularity. Aren’t we all surprised I survived?

Envy is a strange emotion and honestly, it’s not really a good look on anyone. The Bible tells us it’s not a likable trait in Proverbs 14:30: A tranquil spirit revives the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.
Now, I’ve never let envy dig so deeply into my spirit that I felt rottenness to my bones, but I have felt its queasy crawl take over my gut. Thankfully, years of maturity later, I have a better handle on what I’m capable of.

Still…yesterday’s cheer-leading obsession is today’s publishing goal.

Last week, in the middle of typical midday distractedness, I looked at a writer’s website and felt a strange thump hit my lap. It was my jaw. Her publishing credits would reach up my stairs and back down again. Twice. Wow. That’s a lot of stuff of hers…out there…that people are reading…

I shook my head briskly a few times and commanded the green-eyed monster to crawl safely under my desk. I reminded myself that I, too, have publishing credits.  
Yeah, but she has more!
In fact, you now edit her stuff in your job.  
Yeah, but wow…look at how many times she’s been Chicken Souped.
Have you ever submitted to them?  
I think once, maybe, a really long time ago.
So, why not try again?
I do have that one piece I've been thinking about…

So I opened that file and decided it wasn’t necessarily Soup-worthy just yet. But I did write up a query to a national magazine to pitch an idea I’d been milling over. Then I made a list of other ideas and places that might be worth pursuing. After that, I opened up the book proposal I have due this week and got busy getting it polished up and ready to submit.

I took a deep breath and put my publishing goals in perspective. Ready…okay! Tap, tap...

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