When jealousy and self-doubt become terrible bedfellows
Can professional jealousy be internalised? Oh yes it can, as Clemenger BBDO copywriter, Fraser Nelson, discovers. The mere idea of the wolf pack standing by and waiting to rip our work to shreds is enough to send Fraser’s own writing on the very subject into a spin.
Gif by Jason Clarke for Giphy
Think you can write for an industry publication, huh?
Better hope your piece isn’t just a big ol’ steaming-hot pile of garbage.
Because it’d be pretty easy for the pressure of an open brief—for a publication people you respect might read—to kick your anxiety into overdrive; causing you to doubt your every move.
You sure that’s how you use a semicolon?
Gotcha! See? It’s happening already.
You’ll probably bash your head against the wall writing this. Spending hours on end pointing out flaws. Nitpicking every little piece of it. Writing it, rewriting it, editing it, going back through revisions, and overworking it within an inch of its life.
Then you’ll hit a deadline. Watch it go live. And beat yourself up about it even more.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing new.
You’re hypercritical. You need to be in this industry.
And here’s the kicker: the better you get, the more critical you get.
Creating this constant, niggling gap between what you can do and what you wish you could do.
Between what you’ve made before and what you hope you’ll make next.
Which is why, when someone else makes something super interesting and fresh and cool and better than you could.
You fuckin’ hate ‘em for it.
Because this hyper-critical view of your own work and jealousy of others’ are a byproduct of the same thing.
The curse of being a creative.
There’s no definitive answer to any brief. There’s no filename:v1_FINAL. There’s no end.
All you can do is just keep trying.
And trust that you’re headed in the right direction.
So give yourself a break.
And, when all else fails, go meta.