This one is for every poor soul out there that has married an artist or creative. My wife is one of you. Sometimes it drives her nuts. This also might be helpful if you work with, lead, hire, or are friends with creatives (especially if you aren’t one). I can’t tell you how much craziness we’ve had in our marriage because of this.
Creatives need solitude.
There’s a reason why many creatives are socially awkward but artistically brilliant. They spend most of their time in solitude. For those of us that actually found a way to get someone to marry us, our best creative time is often still in solitude.
A few years ago I took a personality test. It read me to the letter (quite scary). One of the huge findings was that my type unplugs by mindless, repetitive activities and works best in solitude. I also have a slightly addictive (Iris would say highly addictive) personality. My mom said she was concerned I had Aspergers when I was very little.
Iris’ response: “Wow, no wonder you play that friggin’ baseball video game over and over again.”
Mindless. Repetitive. Activity.
So, we’ve had to accommodate the way I’m wired. Iris has been great about it. She gives me space to do my “MRAs”, whether it’s videogames, 5 straight episodes of The Walking Dead, or repeatedly throwing Nerf balls at our dogs. (She gets kind of ticked about that last one though.)
We’ve also had to work around my need for solitude. This was never a problem because coincidentally our schedules always allowed for me to have Mondays to myself. Our schedules aren’t like that anymore.
To unknowingly compensate, I started staying up really late more than usual. I was craving solitude. The quiet, stillness, and coolness of night is the space in which I create. I live on West Coast time while living on the East Coast.
We’ve had many moments of intense spousal negotiations (read: fights) over my sleep schedule. I know she just cares for my overall health because if there’s anything I cheat, it’s my need for rest. That also affects how much time she and I spend together.
The flipside is that the way I am is what causes me to do what I do well. As much as she has accommodated my eccentric wiring, I’ve had to stop cheating my body, mind, and marriage and start intentionally cheating some of my creativity.
Honest to God, she just walked in the room (we’re at a hotel in Washington DC) and told me to go to sleep…or else.
UPDATE: Here’s part two of this series!
Question: What do you think is a creative’s biggest need?
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