People often say I don’t cope with reality too well. I’d like to beg to differ. I think I have a pretty good handle on people, reality, and situations. Sometimes I just choose to ignore them for the betterment of my health, that’s all.
But when it comes to being a creative person—a writer, nonetheless—I feel confident that I can offer advice to people who have to live with our types and be pretty helpful in offering tips for how to live with the likes of us. Whether you reside with a musician, composer, poet, painter, artist, author, photographer, blogger, social media influencer, or any other creative type, here are some tips for coping with the often maniacal behaviors that come with the territory of being a creative person:
- When we’re in the throes of a project, just bring us tea. We don’t necessarily want to talk about the work, take a break, make dinner, or throw the laundry in, we just want to finish whatever it is we’ve begun in that setting. A cup of tea (or your creative’s favorite beverage) helps calm the nerves and helps us refocus.
- If we begin to brood about something that’s not working, just ignore us. This type of behavior really means that we want to work it out for ourselves, and if anyone else is listening, that’s fine. You can feel free to offer assistance, but sometimes, we’re just working through something on our own and will brood until we get it right.
- When we agonize over the smallest thing, just know it’s not small to us. Whether it’s a sentence I’ve written or a decision on how to transition to the next scene, I can agonize and write and write and then agonize some more. I’m sure musicians do the same over melodies, painters worry about composition, photographers worry about lighting. Agonizing comes with the territory, and some of us handle agonizing better than others.
- Remind your creative to take a walk—it helps. When my family says, “Let’s go do something” or “Let’s go for a walk” after they’ve seen me hunched over the keyboard for a while, I tend to take them up on it. I know I need to “step away” for a bit, and it’s always refreshing. I come back to the table with a clear head.
- Understand that our deadlines are real. Whether it’s a deadline imposed by an editor, art director, musical director, employer, or ourselves, when we have a deadline, we often wear that “deadline driven” face. You know the one. The one that has a furrowed brow and pursed lips. Striving to meet self-imposed deadlines or deadlines set by someone else helps move us toward completion of a project. Please understand that we have to complete it by that date or we could end up like Sylvester from Bugs Bunny.
- Frustration comes with the territory; be a cheerleader. There will be moments when you will say, “Why do I live with this insane person?” That’s normal, and don’t worry, we say it about ourselves. Living with ourselves isn’t easy, so we can only imagine what it’s like for you. Nonetheless, it’s our only option. So, sometimes we get frustrated; that’s when you can step in and be a cheerleader and tell us it’s all going to be okay, that patience and persistence will win out and that whatever it is we produce is going to be just as it should be. We need our cheerleaders.
- Stay the course and accept that it’s a way of life. I hate to say it, but when one project ends, there’s typically another one looming and getting ready to launch. This is the way of creative people. It’s not “one and done.” There will be many things we create, so just come to an understanding that it’s a way of life. And it’s probably going to continue until the creative decides that he or she has had enough.
- We know that our success is your success. We could never do the work without the support of our family and friends. When we complete something and find satisfaction in it, we know it’s because you’ve allowed us the time and space to do it. We can never say THANK YOU enough.
Stephanie Verni is the author of Beneath the Mimosa Tree, Baseball Girl, Inn Significant, The Postcard and Other Short Stories & Poetry, and an academic textbook Event Planning: Communicating Theory & Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt, that she co-authored with colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus & Chip Rouse.