sunset on beachhuts

This actually doesn’t happen to me that often, and not because I think I’m superiorly awesome as an artist or human being. I guess it’s just because I don’t usually allow myself to flip that switch. Sure, I get the odd twinge of envy when I look at art that I can only dream of making, or the latest success from an artist I admire, but on the whole, it’s not an issue.

And then sometimes, it really is.

Like recently. I don’t know quite what happened but I could feel this ugly old monster stretching and yawning and threatening to unleash all its energy in one fell swoop. And each time I saw something that normally I’d be able to let go of very easily, it got worse.

It was possibly because I have been temporarily between two stools after my recent ‘artpiphany’ about what I had been creating in the past, and what I really wanted to be creating now. Whatever it was, it caught me unawares and it wasn’t pretty.

The artist whose work I quite frankly don’t rate making an extremely good living from it. The artist whose every creation is something beautiful to me and whose life also appears to be blessed with the kind of things I’d like in mine. The artist whose personality irks me getting breaks I haven’t had. It feels vulnerable and shameful to admit to these things, especially when I know full well how blessed I am in so many ways, and who knows what private struggles these other artists carry.

Since I’m obviously not the only person to have ever become a ranting jealousy monster, here’s what I did to put it back in the cage and return to my usual cheerful perspective ~ perhaps it will be of use to you one of these days. {And I may need to revisit this myself!}:

1. I had a big old rant.

I let rip in a message to a trusted friend, although I could also have written the entire thing out in my journal, in even more grisly glory. There’s something about telling another human being that’s more cathartic though for the more intense emotions. But choose your confidante wisely; someone who won’t judge, won’t tell on you, and also is balanced enough not to get sucked into your temporary trench of misery.

2. I looked for the gold.

Because there is ALWAYS gold; sometimes you have to mine a long way down but there’ll always be something. In my case, I realised the things I was jealous of were making me aware of where I personally feel I need to step up more, whether in things that require courage or a greater level of commitment to my art.

3. I made plans.

I used the specifics of what I had mined to make goals. In this case that means more frequent time in the studio with a larger goal of creating a cohesive body of work. It also means a more structured approach to putting my work out there. I’ll break this down into more manageable steps as ‘put my work out there more’ is way too vague and huge, and likely only to cause overwhelm that results in nothing happening.

4. I changed the subject.

After my rant was out of my head and onto the screen, I went away and did something else. The only reason I got in this pickle was because I let the stories I told myself about what I was seeing be the truth for a little while. Stepping away and changing my focus allowed me to get some much needed perspective and actually find the whole episode quite amusing.

These are {rather annoyingly} not always a one time action; I had to rinse and repeat a few times over the next day or two to really clear it from my system, but I did get there eventually.

Now I just need to do the actual stepping up part. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What do you do when artist envyย hits?