Living with a Creative
We feel your pain!!!

Being a creative is pretty darn hard.

Every day you have to get up and be witty and charming and original and clever and inventive and spontaneous and disciplined. You’ve got to get the work done, stay on task, be fun and entertaining, and don’t take yourself too seriously while you’re doing it.

A creative person is one big paradoxical mess.

But the one thing that might be even harder than being a creative, is living with a creative. Pity the poor souls who got stuck with that!

Sometimes folks end up living with a creative out of no choice of their own … maybe they gave birth to a creative. Perhaps they are a teacher who has a creative in their classroom. They can always tell … that one kid who just isn’t quite right. All kids are different … some are quiet. Some are strong willed. They can have big, loud personalities or softer personalities.

The ones with creative bents will be the same, but with just a slight edge toward the extreme. The quieter and softer personalities will likely need more alone time and may stay holed up in their rooms. The ones with bigger and louder personalities will be more radical and out there, ready to challenge the norms and stretch the limits.

And drama … there will be drama.

It may be the quiet kind where they’re just so sensitive and tender-hearted and get their feelings hurt easily over things no normal human would even notice. If they have the big personality, it may come out as rebellion and demanding justice for some important cause either for themselves or others, or for the world at large.

Creatives are thinkers and tend to be idealistic, so when they see problems, and take time to ponder those problems, they’re as likely as not to come up with solutions that are perfectly logical to themselves. Then it becomes their mission in life to explain to the rest of us what’s so obvious to them.

I know what you’re thinking … I’m describing any average kid … especially older kids headed into their teen years. But trust me, a kid with a creative bent is just a bit different. Any parent with more than one kid can tell which one is the creative. They don’t even know how they know … they just KNOW.

God has a sense of humor. He also knows where to place His kids while they need raising. If you’re the parent of a creative, on those days when you’d like to shake your fist at heaven and demand to know, Why?!, just remember that He thought enough of you to entrust you with the job of raising one of His special ones. You will survive, and one day you will look back and be amazed.

But what about the folks who chose to live with a creative? The folks who either asked or got asked … and the answer was, YES!! Maybe it’s just a roommate. Perhaps it’s a spouse. Do you ever have those days where you wonder, What the heck was I thinking?! Was it a momentary lapse of reason? Were you the victim of a con job?

Creatives can be quite charming, especially when meeting them for the first time. It’s easy to be drawn to their zest and passion for life, and their uncanny knack for pointing out all the details most folks overlook. And who wouldn’t want an artist in their life? How cool is that?

So don’t be too hard on yourself. How could you not have been drawn in? After all, you simply made a decision based on what information was available at the time. Hindsight’s 20-20 … how could you possibly have known beforehand?

Or … maybe I’m being too presumptive … maybe it’s not been too hard living with a creative in the house … maybe it’s actually been quite an adventure!

Or … maybe you’re trying to decide if it’s time to take the plunge … maybe you’ve met your creative and you want them to stay forever …

So before you jump in with both feet, or if you’re already in the middle of it and think maybe you’re the one who’s losing it … read on … and keep your sense of humor. Most days of living with a creative will find you either laughing or crying, so why not train yourself to laugh when you’d really rather cry? Nothing much will change either way, but at least it’ll feel better, because, ultimately, the only real variable you’ll have any control over will be your own attitude about it all!

If you came to this article hoping for sage advice for dealing with the impossible, you might be disappointed. You’ll probably not learn anything new here, but, at the very least, perhaps I can help to shed a little light on the source of your woes. There is at least some comfort in knowing that others have been there, too, and lived to tell the tale.

I said earlier that creatives are a paradoxical mess. If you look up the word “paradox” in a thesaurus, don’t be surprised to see words like “creative” and “artist” appearing in the list of synonyms.

Here are ten hard, honest facts about living with creatives. If you observe these carefully, you shouldn’t have any trouble living relatively stress-free with your creative:

1. Give them space. Creatives need plenty of alone time to think, ponder and create. When they’re out and about in life, they are taking it all in … observing, listening, and noticing everything. Then they tend to hole up to think and ponder, and decide how they felt about it all, why they felt it, what they’ll do about it and create work to express it.

2. Keep them close. Creatives thrive on connectedness and shrivel when neglected for too long. They pull the motivation and energy they need to keep creating their work from their close relationships, so don’t let too much distance come between you two.

3. Don’t talk too much. Don’t yammer away to friends and guests about your creative’s latest work or about the creative themselves, especially when they are present. Creatives are very private and sensitive about both their work and their personal lives. They are generally mortified when they hear tidbits about themselves and their work pop up unexpectedly in casual conversations.

4. Be sure to tell them and others … how much you like and enjoy the latest work your creative has produced, and how proud you are of them.

5. Embrace spontaneity. If you like life neat, orderly and everything in place, and everything happening right on schedule, you will not enjoy living with a creative. A creative never knows when inspiration and great ideas will pop up and they have to drop everything and go work at a moment’s notice. It might be in the middle of the night or in the middle of a dinner party. Expect them to be perpetually running late.

6. Help them stay on a schedule. Creatives feel their best and do their best work when they are well rested and are eating well, getting regular exercise, etc. So help them stay on a steady, consistent, daily schedule.

7. Don’t correct them when they’re bemoaning their latest perceived disaster. They don’t need you to “fix” it, they just need to vent their frustration, and get their own bad feelings out of their head and heart.

8. Gently correct and encourage them when they’re bemoaning their latest perceived disaster. Be sure to lift them up and don’t allow them to just sit and berate themselves, their work and their own abilities.

And most important of all …

9. Be totally honest. There will come those fateful days when they will need you to give your honest assessment of their latest creation. Please know that it’s not helpful if they don’t know the raw truth. Honest, objective feedback is invaluable to a creative’s work and career.

10. Not THAT honest! What are you … some sort of cruel, heartless barbarian???!!! Yeesh!!

… are you confused yet?
Unsure of what action to take?
Unclear on how to respond in any given situation?
Bewildered as to how to go forward from here?

You must surely have a creative in your life or – gasp! – in your house!!

All my sympathies and condolences go out to you!

And if you are the creative, and you’ve suddenly been awakened to the paradox that is you (I know you’re not really that surprised, you knew it all along), heads up! We need to have a chat, too … so check out the September 2022 blogs.