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’.


Profession Consultant commented on 23-Aug-2018 12:35 PM
Wow ! Thats worth a read. Thanks for writing it for us! Much appreciated

Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


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