Creating is something I love .I love the thrill of standing in the middle of my sewing room, looking at all the fabrics and thinking about the next thing I’m going to make. I love the rush of the creative spark when I see a pattern and I immediately think of ways I could make it my own.
Creating is fabulous. But you know what sucks that thrill right out of my body (somewhat like a Dementor out of Harry Potter): comparison. While comparison might steal your joy, it also steals your creativity. Think of it as a psychological two-for-one deal where you’re at the losing end. There’s nothing worse than being in the throws of creating and you jump on social media and see the work being done by others. It’s a double sucker punch if you happen to stumble upon someone who’s working on the same pattern as you.
It’s human nature to compare what you’re doing with what someone else is doing. The difference between letting that moment of comparison debilitate you and letting it push you to do better is all in what you do with it.
Here’s something I’ve learned the hard way: the more you compare your work to someone else, the more you’ll hurt your own creativity. Creativity needs room to work its magic. It doesn’t need the voices in your head telling you all the things everyone else is kicking your butt at. It needs you to have faith in your own abilities. It needs you to look at other people’s work and be inspired to let your own creativity shine. Creativity needs to be nurtured, fed and loved.
The next time you find yourself comparing your work to someone else’s, remove yourself from the situation. Look at what you’re lusting after in their work. Is it their use of colour? Did they try something different for placement? What fabrics did they use? What’s speaking to you about their piece? Tap into the answers and use them to power your next masterpiece, or maybe even change the piece you’re working on right now. Use it to fuel your creativity, not shut it down. No one sees the world like you do and no one has the unique combination of gifts that you do. Don’t let your gifts be dampened by how someone else is using theirs. Embrace them and you never know – your creativity might just be the thing that sparks a creative fire in someone else.
Please Note: This article first appeared in Love Patchwork & Quilting in Issue 25. Angie is the back page columnist for Love Patchwork & Quilting. If you would like to read more of her articles then be sure to subscribe to Love Patchwork & Quilting.