Why Artists Get Grumpy

April 22, 2015 Megan Eckman

The other day the cat made a noise at once familiar and strange. It was not a meow or a yowl or a purr. It was an odd rumbling noise that I had heard often but never from a cat.

'She's grumbling just like you do,' my partner said with a laugh.

Indeed, I have taught the cat how to grumble. It's the sound of frustration, annoyance, and near rage that erupts when I am away from my art for too long. I know I'm not alone is this feeling. Most artists admit they get fidgety, waspish, and downright unpleasant to be around if they can't get to their workplace like usual. For some of us, the grumble won't erupt for two weeks. For others, a single day confined to non-art tasks can transform them.

And while you could take the grumble as a sign to calm down because you can't always be making something fun, I would argue that you should take it as a sign to drop everything and get creative. We're told to trust our gut but we hardly listen to our artist gut. We feel more justified listening to our you-have-to-do-laundry gut or the you-have-to-do-errands gut. But why give those feelings more validity? Even if you did listen to the voice telling you to play with paint, the laundry would still be there waiting for you and washing clothes at 4pm instead of 3pm wouldn't lead to the end of the world or less white underwear.

It is all about priorities. Artists, and everyone deep down is an artist in one way or another, need to prioritize their art. If you really feel that you simply MUST do laundry first, then make it a game to see how much art you can make before the washer beeps. Otherwise the family will have clean clothes and one very grumpy cleaner.

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