4 ways to have a creative career without neglecting your friendships

Sheila Chandra - Thursday, November 02, 2017

It’s an age old problem. You work strange hours. You’re working all hours to establish yourself or survive. Or you simply get so focused that you forget everything else. All these are reasons why your friendships and emotional support systems can suffer badly when you have a creative career. Too often, your clients are expecting the impossible of you – and you probably pretty much deliver it. But that’s not a sustainable way to live your life.


Male artists often underestimate the power of friendships

Comforting as the myth of the ‘tough guy’ is, it’s not a healthy role model. All of us, male or female, need people we can share fears with, be emotional and vulnerable with, and gain comfort from. And I think creative people need it more than most, because of the pressures of their careers. Many men expect their girlfriends or wives to do this for them, and unconsciously believe that friendships are simply for ‘hanging out and having a laugh’. That may work for a while, but it can put an intolerable strain on your relationship. It’s a romantic myth (and a very unhelpful one) that your partner should be ‘everything you ever need’. No one person can ever be all that another person needs. It’s too much pressure. And what happens if your relationship breaks up?

Embrace the ‘friend zone’

If you’re male, you’ll probably have heard other men complaining ‘Not only did she not want to be my girlfriend, she expected me to be there for her and offer her emotional support!’ Now that seems like an outrageous expectation to some men – because commonly their male friendships don’t include the emotional support element; only their romantic ones. But women’s friendships do. The woman described here is actually treating the man who’s complaining like a real friend – and would probably be up for emotionally supporting him too! A wise man would take advantage of that as part of his overall support system, since his male friends are either unlikely to offer it, or when they do, are unlikely to be as practiced at it. The ‘friend zone’ is no bad thing.

Friendships help you regulate your hours and keep you balanced

Time spent with friends may seem like time wasted – when you could have been working on your career. But your emotional self, which does an awful lot of hard work when you’re an artist, needs time to rest and recuperate. In other words, you can use the time spent with friends to help you regulate your work hours and days – so that you get proper rest at the optimum intervals for producing good work. I know that sounds very ‘cold’ but I want to give you a reason to feel good about putting time for friends and family aside regularly. Even in career terms, it isn’t a waste of time.

How to nurture your friendships alongside your creative career

  • 1.Use your calendar – Your calendar is already your best friend when it comes to planning your working life. But you can also use it to make sure you get enough ‘down’ time. Make a note of every event you hear of that you might like to go to – and issue invitations well in advance. You’ll unconsciously ‘work towards’ that break – and it’ll be a proper mental rest.
  • 2.Encourage last minute invitations – If you find yourself unable to commit because your working life is chaotic, ask your friends to include you in last minute get-togethers. Thank them profusely when they do, especially if you’re not able to attend. It’s a good way to break things up.
  • 3.Set up lunch dates and ‘tea’ dates – It’s good for you to work regular hours in your studio. For a start your brain gets the message that the ideas need to start flowing at 9am (or midday – whenever you start work). Doing this means you’ll also break at a regular hour for lunch or tea/coffee. Which means you can invite friends to join you confident that an hour off in their company won’t impinge on your work.
  • 4.Prioritise important events – Regardless of how important your career is, you don’t want to neglect the important events in your family and friends’ lives. Your elderly grandmother’s 100th birthday, your own wedding anniversary or a friend’s wedding are not events you should try to avoid. Make space for them and be there for the important people in your life. You need their love and support – and it has to be a two-way street. And it’s what they deserve from you too.

If you want to know more about how to get the professional and emotional support you need, you’ll find more information in ‘Organizing for Creative People’.


Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


tidier nipping things in the bud emotionally secure artist creative wellbeing emotional balance good art work Sheila Chandra author collections hostile clutter : clothes cleaning buy fewer clothes clear desk too many commitments getting ready for work clear outs peacefulness compulsion working class culture diary mature artists wardrobe green room precious memories symptoms of creativity just in case creative confidence efficient work patterns good creative habits creative identity cupboard of shame nurture creativity innocence artist goals under-confidence mess self promotion why organise productivity buying wealth platform theft creative spark warm down slow and steady emotional support clarity of thought partners proposal writing branding car brilliant creator how to be naturally tidy artistic chaos streamlining routines friendships friends commitment pop culture creative magic fall of innocence clearing in short bursts confident in clothes creativity subconscious mind elevator pitch inconvenience parent work life VIPs hobbies arrogance organisation effortlessly tidy work trips double standard long-term artistic development successful artist living mess free clearing sheila chandra coaching cleaning your desk living clutter free clearing as you go proposals exhaustion business interface to creative businesses hijacking creativity creative ambitions card artistry vulnerability nurturing creative work multiple lifetimes 2018 goals display items being organized nascent artists resentment social media creativity diary great art workspaces binge jealousy ‘creativity’ email career strategy tidy people peer-to-peer networks tidy desk making decisions organizing for creative people artists to do list wind down artist mentoring crowdfunding hoarding storage being tripped up stop hoarding stuff feeling creative ‘stories’ about your possessions feel like creatiing work/home life balance stop cluttering great artists professional creative career slim-line wardrobe clutter addict focus the void temperament celebrity endorsed products grief copyright childhood how to work efficiently creative career smart artists low maintenance strategies writing funding campaigns how to save time creative person popular culture static spaces creative commissions buying happiness artist emotional resilience quality absences creative culture touring dynamic spaces hotel room home life pop music housework much quicker overwork anxiety buying stardust artist materials stay on top of email saving time lifetimes letting go staying in control culture creative people domestic life loss professional mentors chaotic tortoise and hare concentrated creative time artist workspaces tips for clearing cry buying youth critical acclaim organise stay tidy automatically buying hope networking effectively business-like new year spree minimalists artist mentors loving your audience well organized control tidiness in living spaces lazy good friend brands working class artists work priorities myth introverts email bankruptcy fine art disorganization too busy clean desk magic mornings well curated closet imagination networking much better friend professional encouragement tidy clutter business-speak artistic conviction procrastination email overload inspiration appointments network tension creative career coaching trope missed opportunities criteria for letting go of stuff morning routines home care creative organising normality visualising vocation motivation social media networking diagnosis boredom funding bulk buy business clearing clutter work efficiently goals guilty purchases low maintenance stardust sacrifice options time clutter home organising