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Combating Creative Jealousy


This week I learned my breaking point, and it is FOUR SNOW DAYS. Yesterday I found myself yelling at my kids to pick up their toys and staring out the window at the foot of slush on our street which was NOT MELTING despite the weather man’s declarations, thinking MY GOD they can’t cancel school tomorrow, CAN THEY?

And then they did.

So I did what I do now when confronted with something which causes me extreme distress: mine it for comedy.

I sat down this morning prepared to write a zinger of a blog post about surviving snow days with kids, just as soon as I checked my Facebook, and then I saw that KatyKatiKate had beat me to the punch. I read her post. It was hilarious. No, not just hilarious, it was so ridiculously funny that I found myself reading parts of it aloud to my husband. Go ahead, go read it. I’ll wait.

Good, right? I read it and felt so irritated. Because, not only is she so funny and talented, but we even have the same name. Not only that, our husbands have the same name. And yeah, OK, if you run into a white heterosexual couple in their thirties, there’s a good chance that they are named Katy & Ryan, but still… I Google stalked her and wondered if she and I were the same person from alternate timelines, one where I hadn’t chopped off my hair and had developed a personal brand and built a platform.

But, as we say in recovery, “compare and despair.” (Recovery is full of such zingers, which are annoying AF when you hear them, but then you realize they actually are true, which is also annoying, but helpful?) Here’s another: I can’t compare my before to her after.

Jealousy is a teacher. If you can get past it, it can show you where you are dissatisfied with your creative output. So I sat with my jealousy this morning. I felt jealous that I haven’t done the marketing and business side work that accompanies my creative work. I don’t feel like I’ve achieved the level of success that I want.

But then I thought about where I want to spend my precious, limited creative time. And I realized that I was jealous of other bloggers’ (much-deserved) success, but I actually am pretty happy with my work right now.

I don’t have a huge output, I do have two kids who’ve probably gone to school for 12 total days in 2019. I have a husband I like to spend time with, who’s also recovering from surgery. And I refuse to sacrifice sleep, therapy, or self care in the pursuit of word count.

Could I be producing more? Could I spend more time developing my “platform”? Yes. But, for now, I think I am exploring a lot of different venues for my writing and figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t. And that’s OK.

I came up with a creative mission statement the other week, of which I feel quite proud: “I want to create art that heals myself and others.”

So, when I get jealous that my blog isn’t shinier or my audience more developed, I just have to check the work I’m doing against my mission statement. Am I making art? Is it healing? Yes and yes.

And that’s what really matters to me. I can applaud the great work that others are doing and also know that while my work is different, it’s also valuable.

Do you get jealous of others’ work? How do you fight professional jealousy?

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