Due to popular demand, here’s another thing you should know about your creative, artistic, and possibly maddening spouse:
We need your encouragement.
Problem: We will NEVER admit it. In fact, most of the time we will seem to arrogantly dismiss your heartfelt encouragement via veiled self-criticism. This is also known as “Inconspicuously Fishing For Compliments.” Typical convo with my wife:
Iris: Nice job, hon! That was awesome!
Me: Meh. I shouldn’t have done that one vocal ride so early in the arrangement. Should have saved it for the bridge to really interplay off the harmonies of the lead guitar. I suck.
Iris: [stare of death] Me: Wait, uh I mean…thanks?
Iris: Do the dishes.
Me: But that drains my creativity…
Iris: Well, you suck so at least be productive and do the dishes.
Now, that’s not to say your opinion or feedback isn’t important. Trust me, it is. We just don’t want to act like it. See, creatives are rarely completely happy with their work. We seem to remember every fault, mistake, could have, should have, would have, why-didn’t-I in the creative process.
As if that wasn’t enough of a headache, creatives are a living paradox. The only ones allowed to truly criticize us? Ourselves. Yes, it’s true. If someone else doesn’t like our work, they are artistically ignorant or haters. Conversely, the highest praise we can get for our work: other artists! Crazy, I know. Deal with it.
Still, keep the encouragement and support flowing for your resident artist. Ask a creative why they aren’t famous or rich, they’ll usually respond along these lines:
- “I’m not a sellout.”
- “Crap like Bieber is what sells.”
- “The system is keeping me down.”
I guess this is why creatives need encouragement. We think the deck stacked against us is pretty high.
So if you’re hitched to, dating, or just friends with a creative, don’t just support them. Support their stuff because it’s an extension of them. Listen to it, read it, watch it, endorse it, and learn about the creative process of their niche.
Understand they’ll almost never be happy with their work until they think it’s perfect, so don’t take it personally.
If you really get sick of your resident artist’s whiny ways, just agree their work sucks. Maybe they’ll go back to work and leave you alone for awhile, which might not be a bad thing after all …