Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

Artist’s Envy June 7, 2012

Filed under: Writing — katblogger @ 8:32 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Does this happen to you?

I read a poem/short story/novel and feel in awe. It’s excellent. They use images that would never occur to me but fit perfectly. They write in a style that flows, that’s haunting and beautiful. They’re great. Amazing. And not me.

I’m sure writer’s envy strikes us all. (At least I hope I’m not the only one who experiences bouts of crippling insecurity.) Someone is always better than me with their flow, imagery, action, voice, etc. I’ll sometimes have difficulty appreciating someone else’s work without beating down my own. It’s like I’ve got it in my head that talent has limited capacities, that it has to be rationed and divided and you can’t change the portions.

This happened to a friend of mine with art. She’s trying to get into a higher art class, and she has to provide a portfolio of her work. When trying to make it, she found herself stuck. Everyone else’s art looked better than hers. She hated everything she drew. She was a failure. Not good enough. Awful. She would never get better. (See the cycle of negative thinking here?)

We tried to console her by telling her that her art was great, that you couldn’t compare stuff like that. “Yes you can,” she insisted. “You can make bad art.”

My contribution was “Everyone has a different style. Only you can make your art.”

I don’t know if she took it to heart, but I did. I’ll often think another style is better simply because it’s different. I write my way, so it feels tired and dull. Every new angle is shiny and enticing. But it probably works both ways.

Does bad art exist? Maybe. There’s a difference between style and craft. Craft can be wrong. Style can’t. Still, if the craft/technique needs work, the artist is learning. They’re not a failure.

Seeing that she was still upset, I wrote this: “The answer is write. Or in your case, make art. Make lots of it. Don’t care if it’s good or bad or whatever. It’s yours. You have art in you that only you can make. Channel your feelings. Channel your insecurities. I wrote a poem about not feeling good enough. Make art about it. Make everything into art.”

When it comes down to it, no one can steal your spotlight. You have a story inside that only you can tell. So find your style, brush up your craft, and tell it.

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9 Responses to “Artist’s Envy”

  1. Thanks for this post; I found it really inspiring :). I’ve definitely experienced Artist’s Envy – to be honest, I think I experience it too much. I know it’s silly, and you’re completely right about how everyone has a different style, but sometimes I can’t help feeling that my writing or my music is inferior. I guess it’s something we all go through at some point :S. It’s like part of that obstacle ridden path of becoming a true artist xD. I agree with you though; just because others are different doesn’t mean they’re better. We’re all good in our own ways, and I know it sounds cliche and all that, but it’s true. So every time I feel insecure, I just try to tell myself that and write about random things until I get so caught up in what I’m doing and the feeling goes away :D.

    • katblogger Says:

      I’m glad you’ve found a way to try to overcome it. So often people (myself included) get so bogged down that they stop creating at all. That’s the tragedy. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

      • Haha, well, I haven’t overcome it completely :P. But I’m trying, and hopefully someday I will x). And don’t let it bring you down – I’m sure you’re great in your own way. We all are :D. And no need to thank me for visiting – I quite like your blog posts. I was in an IB school before, so I can mostly relate :D.

  2. katblogger Says:

    Oh, wow. IB? And you survived? Welcome to the club. Good luck with overcoming the envy, and thanks for the follow. 🙂

    • Haha yes, I survived… somehow. It was the most relieving experience I ever had. It’s like “it’s OVER. Finally!” xD. And no probs. xP. I’m still pretty new to blogging (only got three posts so far :S), so I’m just trying to find/follow blogs I like, and leave random comments hahahahahaha.

      • katblogger Says:

        Good luck with your blog then. You probably won’t get many hits for a while, but I suddenly started getting them this week. No idea why.

      • Haha thank you, but I probably won’t be getting many hits forever, not just a little while xP. But to be honest, I don’t really mind. I don’t exactly blog to become wordpress famous or anything 😛 I just needed a place to keep all my thoughts xD. And I came across your blog through your tags, so I’m assuming you’re getting hits because people find out about you through your tags, and they keep reading because you make good posts. :P. That’s just my guess though xD.

  3. If you aren’t doubting yourself sometimes, if you think you’re doing a particular thing just perfectly then you’ll stay where you are and not give yourself room to grow. Take parenting, for example. The worst parents are the ones who think they are doing everything right. The good parents are always worrying if they are messing up. Your writing and/or art are your children, in a way. Your creation. Just do the best you can.


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