Thursday, November 1, 2018

Art vs. Real Life - Being a "Creative Person" Is a Bad Excuse

For artists there seem to the two worlds: the world of art and "real life". While it might be legitimate to enjoy the former more than the latter it's dangerous to neglect one's everyday duties and responsibilities ...

If you don't care about anything else than your art,
you're destroying your own life and that of your loved ones.

Sometimes artists seem to live in another world. Here are all the hustles, daily needs and responsibilities - and there is that world of beauty and imagination. There is that world of creativity and endless possibilities. That world without limits.

We tend to glorify that world. But is there really no danger in it?

Art and Escapism

The audience often enjoys art for escapism. Most of us are honest about it. We read books, watch movies and listen to music in order to flee our grey daily life.

And on the artists' side it seems just the same: We flee from the "real world" into our own worlds of creativity. They help us coping with real life issues, yes, but ... While a reader gets kicked out of the imaginary world once a book is over some artists tend to quite literally live in it …

Imagination as a Drug

What I'm talking about are people who isolate themselves. Who neglect friendships and even their families. People who don't even try to cope with their real life problems.

Because if you spend all your free time practising with your band you automatically neglect something or somebody else. Your household doesn't manage itself, and neglected partners and children quickly become unhappy. Spending all the time you can spare on what you love is in fact very selfish: If you don't really care and create space for anything else in your life, then you're something like a drug addict destroying your own life and that of your loved ones.

A Balancing Act

It's quite a challenge: Making time for your art, but not neglecting other things in life either. Not everybody can handle it, and I'm afraid those who are most convinced not to have this issue are the ones most affected by it. Artists who don't even notice they are hurting the people closest to them. Artists who are honestly surprised when their spouses leave them and then blame the oh-so-cruel world for all their mishaps.

On the other hand, many great artists in history seem to have been people who were quite difficult to live with. Learning about the biographies of great writers gave me the impression that many on them wouldn't have come far without the selfless sacrifices of their wives who were their editors, critics, therapists and life managers in general. Indeed, sometimes such writers seem to me like little children playing around in their worlds while their mum takes all the nasty tasks and responsibilities.

Art and Excuses

I've seen artists excusing their social awkwardness, irresponsibility and unreliability with being a "creative person". While there was a time when I believed in geniuses und special people I now know of other artists who manage to live a creative life and still take responsibility. There are artists who are single mothers, artists who take care of relatives, artists who manage to properly organize their everyday life.

This is the kind of artist I'm trying to be: A creative person, yes, but one who does her household chores, one who takes care of her cat and one who works hard on organizing and balancing her job and her business.

What kind of artist are you?


  1. Do you have any suggestions for maintaining the balance? Like scheduling time with your spouse, or joining a church ministry?

    1. I'm so sorry I noticed your comment just now! The automatic notification system didn't work for some reason. :/
      I think scheduling is great. What's important here is to actually stick to the schedule. This is why the schedule should be realistic and have some extra time for buffer (since many tasks tend to take longer than planned).
      A smartphone is very helpful here. You can enter your plans into the calendar and activate notifications. You can also use the timer function and set the time you want to work on your artwork. As soon as you hear the alarm you stop working (or finish one last detail) and then turn your attention to whatever is next on your schedule.
      I hope these suggestions are helpful.


  2. Being creative is not an excuse for poor behavior or a license for anything. I don't hold people accountable for social awkwardness, it's not something they choose any more than disliking broccoli is.

    1. Well, we always have the choice to succumb to our feelings or to do what is necessary. Broccoli is healthy, so sometimes It's good to fight our disliking of it and eat it nonetheless. With social awkwardness it's similar. We don't choose to be like this, but it still can trap us. So it's up to us to work of this problem and find techniques to fight it.


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