Using Jealousy Productively

“Jealousy is a map”.

I’ve read Julia Cameron’s words before and it usually hits me the same each time. Profoundly.

Amber wrote a great article about it here, and Lindsey wrote another great article on this same thought here.

The Artists Way is a life changing book. Chapter 7 is where Julia discusses the jealousy in our creative lives and how to use it for our own betterment. One of the tasks she recommends is writing down who you are jealous of, why, and how you can make positive changes in your life to develop those same things in yourself (thus jealousy being the map of what goals we need to set and pointing us in the direction of self improvement.)

So I sat down, ready to think jealous thoughts 🙂

Some interesting things happened.

My jealousy didn’t have anything to do with what I thought it would.  It wasn’t a matter of photography, music, or business.

What was it?

Who I was jealous of?

My sister.

Watching her be a mother and wife is inspiring. She lives the everyday in an extraordinary way.

She can cook gourmet meals out of leftovers or food storage, she engages in imaginative play with her kids, she can assemble fun fashions out of random things, she writes profound thoughts, she teaches her kids the value of adventure, and there are several moments of spontaneous dancing that occurs throughout her day.

I however, pour all of my best self and creativity into my business and have no creativity to spare for the other parts of my life. A new recipe for dinner? Wait… fix dinner period? I have no creativity left for it. Build a fort or use my imagination with Buzzy? I already used up that creative energy earlier that morning writing a new photography class!

Yes, I am jealous. I am jealous of the way she lives creatively in the every day small things.

But here’s the thing… the small things aren’t so small.

For it is “by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass.” -Alma 37:6

Thus, I’ve determined a new focus for 2012.

I have one goal: to live a creative LIFE.


The part that doesn’t get blogged, photographed, financially compensated, praised, or likely even recognized. 

A true creative life does not consist solely of an artist and their work.

A creative life is how you approach everything you do.

A creative life is ultimately who you become because of it.

How do you solve problems?
How do you make decisions?
How do you get out of the routine?
How do you teach your children?
How do you use those leftovers in a third variation of a meal?
How do you deal with disappointment?
How do you find time for yourself?
How do you stretch a budget?
How do you repair a relationship?
How do you jazz up a relationship!?
How do you show love?
How do you show gratitude?
How do you play with your kids?
How do you relax?
How do you give?
How do you strengthen your own talents?
How do you not lose sight of who you are?

Creativity solves a heck of a lot of problems! The thought is scintillating to me! I rarely put creativity to work in the areas of life I don’t consider “creative”.

I thought areas of my life were lacking creatively because I had simply “run dry” by using my creativity elsewhere.

But I don’t think that is how it actually works.  Its really a matter of perspective.  Can I use creativity intentionally in all those other areas I’m sorely lacking the spark in?

I deeply want to change this for 2012. I’m hypothesizing here, but I believe that the more creative LIFE we live, the more creative ARTISTS we become.

I’m ready to put it to the test! Anyone want to join me?

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She hopes to include in her bio one year from now that she is a creative cook (wow!) and exciting mother who makes the everyday an adventure.  Resolutions are awesome.

Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.

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17 Responses

  1. Thank you for these thoughts Brooke. I really needed that insight today especially. You take such amazing photos. I have always adored the one of your sister dancing!

  2. I think if I could inherit your focus, drive, motivation, and persistance, and you could inherit some of my stellar dance moves we would both be so perfect they would have to lock us up and study us somewhere near an alien crash site.

    Thanks for making me look good today Brooke! I love you big!

    And, just in case anyone is wondering, what being a mom like me really looks like–on a day to day basis–is not what you see in pictures. (Try finger paint on my favorite shirt, toy trains in all my pots and pans, and a trail of laundry that isn’t just growing…its growing things. 🙂

  3. I love this post. This is definitely the direction I want my life to go but I have never been able to peg it down like you have in this post. Must share.

  4. Hi brooke, love you blog; one thing is to be technical about all the stuff photographers have to deal everyday, but other thing is the inner struggles: family time, own style, been noticed, etc. Thanks for all your advices.

    On the topic. At first my thoughts were how am i going to use a bad quality of character to make my life better?, but (good)jealousy or admiration as i see it, drive us every time we know someone that it’s doing something that sings to our tune. I think that even make us be grateful for those that surround us.

  5. For years I have said, “I do many things well, none of which generate income”. It seemed to be my ‘out’ to all the questions about why I didn’t work outside the home.
    A few months ago, a lovely lady I had never met in person, gave me these kind words… “those ‘many’ things make life worth living for you and your entire family. Thank you for doing them as a wife, mother, and so much more.”
    I’ve wasted so many years trying to be some else’s idea of wife and mother. I can’t teach my girls to braid hair, but they know how to use power tools, and my husband has never had to hire a plumber! :))

    1. Beth, you sound like an AWESOME mom!!! You use power tools?! I want to live with you and learn those skills! I think the most noble and challenging job in the entire world is to be a mother. And anyone that can find their own niche and glamour doing the everyday small things will make a far greater impact on their family than they may ever know. I have a feeling you’re in that group 🙂

  6. Hi Brooke! My name is Lindsay and I just stumbled across your website today. I like you’re outlook on life 🙂 You want to know what’s weird though? I just picked up Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way yesterday! What a coincidence! I have to force myself to put it down and quit reading on to the next week. Good luck in your journey

    1. Oh Lindsay!!! I’m thrilled for the adventure of wonderful discovery that you have ahead of you! The Artists Way has changed my life 🙂 Blessings to you!

  7. Finally get a chance to come back and read this post today and so thankful that I did! What a great perspective on jealousy and creativity! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks Brooke, this is just what I needed.
    Sometimes all the responsibilities that mount up just exhaust me and make me feel … well, Bleh!

    As you said, it’s about perspective. It’s about intentionality. If I can be up-beat and creative with my clients, then I can do it with the other MUCH more important people in my life.

    Camping tomorrow with a newly seasoned camp oven with full intentions of creating relatively gourmet experiences for my littlies so will give you some tips if it pans out! 🙂

    Good luck with the project, you’ve made an awesome start anyway. What a great project to fill a family life yearbook. Hmmm…might have to join you in that goal.

    Take care,

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