Friendly Rivalry 8

Pink Think: “I don’t know what it is that I could have changed … I gave my heart and soul out there, and I put everything I could into this competition. Nastia deserved the gold.” – Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, after teammate Nastia Liukin won the all-around gold, Dallas Morning News


“What if I get published before you do?” my husband asks me on our nightly dog-walk recently.

Drew is a veterinarian who has written a middle grade adventure story over the years for our children and is now seriously thinking of sending it off to agents.

I giggle, because he sounds so earnest. “Then it means my novel is taking too long to get published,” I tell him.

“No, really,” he insists. “I worry about that because I know how much you want to be published.”

“Well,” I say, “I will be happy for you, then I’ll want you to recommend me to your agent.”

We both laugh. But seriously. I do wonder about that in the back of my mind. Not just if my husband’s book gets published first. What if someone else in my writer’s group gets published first? A blogging friend?

My mom’s a published author, but she writes math textbooks.


I thought about this as I watched gymnasts and teammates Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin compete recently in the Olympics.

Both were very determined, amazing athletes. Nastia won the all-around gold, but Shawn won the balance beam gold. They smiled; they hugged each other, after their placings were announced. I am sure the second-place winner was putting on a brave face for the camera. Was that genuine happiness they felt for their teammate?

Teammates Shawn Johnson (right) and Nastia Liukin hug after Nastia wins the all-around gold. Photo credit: Universal Sports


Since I started writing novels in earnest two years ago, attending writer’s conferences, joining writer’s groups, and, more recently, blogging, I have made many friends in the writing community. I know many who are amazingly talented and who have worked hard in getting where they are right now.

Sometimes, I admit, I feel like I am in a contest to get a novel published. Only one person wins the gold. It’s either going to be me or someone else in the pack. I look around the room and wonder who’s going to get the bragging rights of, “I got there first.”

Ultimately though, it’s not just about winning first. It’s about posting our personal best, and I hope that we can all get published. If a friend or my husband makes it first, I hope that despite my disappointment that it wasn’t me, I will take inspiration from their win, learn from them, and keep running down the stretch to my own personal victory.

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8 thoughts on “Friendly Rivalry

  • Noble M Standing

    Yeah I know what you mean. My husband has a masters and has published his thesis as part of his work. The thought does make me jealous, I see his name on the cover and I feel a little green. Yes I know that his thesis is as boring as dry toast but still he is published. At least I got a fault named after me. 🙂 Michelle

  • Melinda

    I’m glad that my husband is not a writer. 🙂

    The thing I love about writing is that no one can write what we as indivuals write. So in a way, the only way we lose is if we give up on ourselves. We have to give our heart and souls to win our personal battle.

    I must confess: I’ll feel a twinge of jealousy when you get published and then I’ll give you a big hug. 🙂

  • Prince Balthazar

    Your thoughts are true and honest. The “What-Ifs” plague us as writers, and we can let them distract us to the point of insanity.

    Every time I see a fellow writer post their success story of landing an agent and then making a sale, I get inspired. “If they can do it, so can I” I say to myself.

    We love to write. Thats what we do. We have no choice. If we get published along the way, well, that’s just a nice reward.

    Er, at least that’s what I’m saying now. Talk to me in a year and we’ll see how I feel!

  • Pink Ink

    Noble: *a fault named after me* Cool!

    Melinda: My husband is technically not a writer, too, or we’d be in serious trouble. 🙂 That’s the rub, why is it that the ones that aren’t “serious” about writing crank out stories just like that? Exhibit A: Stephenie Meyer. You know, her first time out, she said she wasn’t really serious…

    Prince: Yeah, there are some times I just want to quit, take a sabbatical from writing. But I can about do it as I could resist wearing pink! 🙂

    In the age of the internet, it is amazing to read about others and their successes (like minutes later!). It’s overall good, because it de-mystifies the process. I’ve learned a lot from others; it’s really helped through the query process.

    Q: I’ve kind of dragged my feet, and gotten into overdrive the last two years. Keep at it, you’ll find your groove, too. 🙂

    Shanna: Nice to know others feel the same way.

    Berlinwritergirl: Yeah, I don’t mind my hubby getting published. I think it would be cool.