Does Lena Dunham Prove Writers Are as Toxic as Investment Bankers?
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But the main reason I don't hate Lena Dunham is because resenting her career does nothing to help my own. As Gwen Cooper, New York Times bestselling author of Homer's Odyssey and of the forthcoming Love Saves the Day: A Cat's Novel, put it, "I will occasionally envy another writer's talent, but that doesn't make me feel bitter -- it makes me feel that I need to work harder on my own writing, so I won't have to be so dissatisfied with it."
And Dr. Jeff Gardere said this is ultimately the key. If you not only want to survive, but thrive in extremely competitive fields, professional jealousy can be healthy, if you channel it the right way. "It can be helpful if someone says, 'I want to be better than that person,' then they may push themselves to go even further... Professional jealousy is okay as long as you don't allow it to consume you and become feelings of hate for the other person. Use it to help you get to the next level so you can be the best that you can possibly be."
Cooper went on to add that the other reason she doesn't dwell on writers who may be less talented but more financially successful is because, "there are at least ten other writers who are more talented than I am, doing more artistically important work than I do, who will never even be published."
Susan Fales-Hill, a former writer for The Cosby Show and the author of Imperfect Bliss said in lieu of jealousy she tries to channel the words and spirit of the late African-American opera singer Camilla Williams. Williams, a predecessor of Marian Anderson's watched as her friend's career eclipsed her own and she was largely forgotten by history. When asked if she was bitter, Williams replied, "I don't believe in bitterness. Bitterness shows up in your song."
It can also show up in your writing.