On Creative Crushes and Unproductive Jealousy

There are very few things more crippling for a creative person than artistic jealousy.

As most creative people will know, it is incredibly difficult to do anything productive when you are filled with a jealous rage about the artistic talents of those around you and in the wider arts community. Despite the fact that we all know this, it rarely stops us from participating in this act of jealousy.

I am no stranger to the creative crush. I have always been extremely vocal about the people whose creative work I admire and the work that goes into such magnificent art. I have spent many hours pouring out my heart over the works of Helen Oyeyemi, John Green, Andrew Kaufman, Julie Koh, Caitlin Moran, Woody Allen, Cassandra Clare, Adele, The 1975, Vincent Van Gogh, Shakespeare, David Bowie and so many more (the list goes on pretty much forever). Anyone who knows me knows that at the moment, my great artistic crush is Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the hit musical Hamilton. I am endlessly amazed by his creative talent and nothing makes me happier than listening to the Hamilton soundtrack over and over, taking in every tiny little detail of the music and the lyrics and the little moments of sly humour that make Hamilton amazing. My friends and family must be sick of me going on about how much I love Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton.

But my going on about Hamilton all the time is more than just me endlessly enjoying learning all the lyrics to the soundtrack – it is my way of celebrating all the hard work, effort and creative talent that has gone into making Hamilton amazing. My admiration of Lin-Manuel Miranda is not just attached to his role in the show, it is part of my wider celebration of his contribution to his creative field, and his artistic bravery and willingness to share his work. And more than that, it is a way for me to combat my intense jealousy of his talent.

When I first listened to the Hamilton soundtrack, I was in awe of this immensely brilliant work, and I immediately felt jealous of Lin-Manuel Miranda because he had made it. How could someone be so talented? But being jealous of his work did nothing but make me feel small about my own work. Sure, I don’t have a hit Broadway musical that I wrote making headlines worldwide, but I have my own achievements that I need to be proud of. I just got my first ever paid article published. I have been writing some of the best poetry of my life this year. I’m writing a novel. INWORDSANDINK is constantly growing. And I am incredibly proud of those achievements.

Admiring the work of others is all very good, but you should never let this admiration turn into all-consuming jealousy. Jealousy only kills your own creativity and is terrifyingly unproductive. Being jealous of someone else’s work because it is good and/or better than yours is not going to help either, it’ll only ever make you feel small.

That’s why I aim instead for the creative crush, and I would encourage other creatives to do the same. Creative crushes, unlike artistic jealousy, work to celebrate the work of others in a positive way, and make you aspire to create your own unique work that has the same sort of powerful and intense impact as the art of those you admire. Plus, as someone who loves art and creativity, why should you ever hate someone for making amazing art that is doing incredibly well? It makes no sense at all.

So instead of feeling jealous about other people’s work, go out and join creative communities and celebrate the immense talents of those around you. Surround yourself with their great art and work to feel inspired by the work they create. And never, ever, let yourself feel like a failure, because other peoples’ artistic successes should always serve as a reminder to be confident and courageous in making and sharing your creative work.


© Hayley New 2016


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