Creativity, Inspiration

Watching what others are doing instead of creating our own art

Ali Pye illustration
Image: Ali Pye

I was reading Joanna Penn’s Business for Authors this morning when a sentence whacked me round the chops.

Joanna was talking about how distractions such as twitter, facebook and the internet can swallow up hours of our time…

Time spent “watching what others are doing instead of creating our own art.”

This new take on distractions took me so much by surprise, I had to put the book down for a moment so that my brain and I could have a little conflab.

After much frowning and staring into space, I concluded I do this A LOT.

For example, one of my favourite pastimes is looking up books on Amazon. (Strangely, my Amazon wish list contains 174 items.)

I am also partial to whiling away entire afternoons chuckling at children’s illustrator’ websites, e.g. Ali Pye and Ed Vere

Trouble is, when I spot the kind of quirky illustrations I like, I am overcome with happiness and, well, envy.

(You know when you scratch an itch and it’s painful and pleasurable at the same time? It’s kind of like that.)

Now I’m seeing ‘distractions’ in a new light. How many of us watch other people’s art enviously from the sidelines, when what we really want to do is create our own art? And does how we choose to ‘waste our time’ tell us what sort of art we’d be happiest creating?

Hmm, I’m off for a cuppa to ponder the gigantic mind-boggling enormity of all this …

6 thoughts on “Watching what others are doing instead of creating our own art”

  1. Definitley spot on! So true. Same when I was running rather seriously, and getting inspiration from a great running forum but realised I spent more time reading about other people’s experiences than running myself… So much easier to sit in front of the computer. I’ve found a really useful middle ground recently: I listen to hours of podcasts about illustration and comic art, while doing my own. Perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm good food for thought with this one. Envy is definitely a big part of seeing others’ work. Not all the time, though, and I try to notice when I’m enjoying the art vs. when I’m feeling envious of the art.

    Like Michi, I try to kill two birds with one stone, and I’ll listen to podcasts / watch videos while I paint or walk (can’t do this with writing of course lol). But I do find it’s a great way to ‘watch’ and learn WHILE creating.

    The bottom line I’m trying to remember is that we are all in this together. Supporting each other helps the world be a better place, and envy doesn’t help *anyone*.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!


    1. The “we’re all in this together” feeling is one of the most rewarding things about blogging I think – sharing and connecting with like-minded, creative souls (and knowing we’re not alone). Thanks Zee, great comment.


Leave a comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s