Silencing the Quacking of Creative Jealousy

This morning the ducks were really quacking. For some reason when they fly, they never shut up. I’m sure there are lots of scientific reasons for their vocalization, but to me it reminds me of one thing. Creative Jealousy.

You know that ugly feeling of resentment? To me, that is the sound of a quacking duck. When I looked up songs about jealousy, I found tons about romantic envy, but I couldn’t find any about the artistic kind, though I know this type runs rampant.

I remember when I was starting out in my creative pursuits I used to get quite jealous of others who I thought were doing better than me. I once took a class on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and we would have show and tell at the beginning of class.

Once, I was so envious of someone’s painting at the beginning of class, despite the fact that I don’t even paint. Being jealous of her was like being jealous of oranges when I was made to be apple.

But jealousy isn’t logical. It works on scarcity. Jealousy believes that when someone else succeeds, we must fail. But that is not true. To combat jealousy, we must remember that there is enough good for us all.

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks about jealousy as a map. Each of our maps differs and we are often surprised by what makes resentment rise up in us. When we see someone else achieving something jealousy exposes our fear that we will not get what we want.

The antidote to jealousy is action. Instead of envy, we must believe that there is enough room for multiple successes in the world and take action toward what it is we want.

Cameron suggests listing out the people you are jealous of, why, and what you can do to take action. For example:

Who What Are You Jealous Of? Action
My Friend Joan She has a dedicated writing studio space above the garage Fix corner of den into writing nook
Lady at
Published her book Begin revising novel

Taking small actions will breed hope, which will turn the negativity of jealousy into a more positive force. It’s also important to remember that creative success is hard for everyone. Focusing on the action of creating can help reduce the jealousy of comparing yourself to the creative success of others.

Feeling that there is only enough success for a few diminishes the work of all creative people. And isn’t celebrating all of our creativity more beautiful than the sound of ducks quacking overhead?

This post was previously published on Catherine Lanser and is republished here with permission from the author.


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Photo credit: Julia Cameron Live