In addition to hanging around Litopia, soaking up the collective wisdom and shooting the breeze with writerly types in the cafes, I also have the rather cool job of being the site’s news officer.
It’s pretty straightforward – when one of the members has some big news, they tell me and I knock together a story for the home page. It might be someone who’s been signed up by an agent or a colonist with a new book about to hit the shelves.
The aim of the stories is twofold. First up, they show new visitors to the site that it is the place to be – a resource for writers where the members are making breakthroughs, and on a reasonably regular basis. Second, the stories act as an inspiration to those colonists who are still working towards a breakthrough.
As the harbinger of such news, I have mixed feelings when drafting these stories – I’m caught between sincere, genuine pleasure for the person involved… and sincere, genuine envy (I know, I’m going to face an eternity of damnation, but it’s all purely professional, of course).
It’s probably not the done thing to admit to envy, but if I didn’t feel at least a smidgen of the sixth deadly sin, I’d think there was something wrong with me. Envy is good – it drives me on, makes me even more determined. Each Litopia news story I write inspires me to do the same. That sound like clichéd bullshit? Yes, I guess it does.
But I tell you, there’s nothing quite as motivating (other than my credit card bill landing on the mat) than telling everyone about the success being enjoyed by another writer.
It’s good, it’s healthy. It’s also an opportunity to look at how they have achieved what they have and to draw from their experiences.
So, to all Litopians, both current and future members, keep at it. And to those who make the breakthrough, keep the stories coming. I need to keep my envy levels up.