Tag Archives: artist life

Five Ways To Nurture Your Relationship When Both You And Your Partner Are Workaholics

When I started my business I had this idea that since I was my own boss and able to choose my hours I would end up working a nice 9 to 5 and use the rest of the time doing whatever else I wanted. I was wrong.

When I moved in with my boyfriend after five years of a distance relationship where we saw each other one weekend a month or every other month – most of which we spent juggling activities with friends and trying to spend quality time just for the two of us – I felt a sense of relief and thought of all the time that we would now be able to spend with each other. I was wrong again.

You see, both my boyfriend and I are entrepreneurs. I run my illustration business from a home studio while he develops video games for the studio he and his friends created, from an office not too far from where we live. Both of us are very invested in our respective business and both of us work a lot. In short, we are a workaholic couple.

I’m not glorifying the fact that we seem to be busy all the time, not even close. In fact working so much can endanger a relationship and we have to make sure that we nurture ours on a regular basis.

With this post I want to share a few tips that workaholic couples like us can use to nurture their relationship and stay close to each other even when work do them part.

#1 Create your own rituals

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When I moved in with my boyfriend it quickly became obvious that our life together was going to be very different from what I had imagined and as things started to get a bit tense between the two of us (mostly on my end I must admit) we sat down together one morning to brainstorm ways we could get things sweet again. We came up with two ideas that we’ve been keeping up to this date: date night once a week and our weekend breakfasts together. Sometimes plans do change but when that happens we make sure that we reschedule straight away: this is our special time and it is important to us. Create your own rituals.

#2 Be a team

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Do things that help you bond and make you feel that you can count on each other. Cook together, go to the gym together (one of our top favourite bonding activities!), when you do the house chores do them together at the same time, take a class together, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or fancy. Just do one activity (or more) where you can be a team.

#3 Take time off (together)

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I’m not talking about going on an expensive long holiday somewhere far away (although if you can afford it and can make the time go for it!). You don’t even have to be away from home at all. What matters is that you use that time to do things together, ideally things that take you out of your usual routine. For example, my boyfriend and I rarely take holidays but we both had a big birthday coming up so we decided to treat ourselves and after saving for a year we went on a cruise to see the Northern lights in the north of Norway. Over the course of that trip we explored the ports of call, took silly photos, had our own private jokes, we talked for hours about the books we were reading at the time, shared our opinions on various topics, … Take time off and share moments together.

#4 Turn off your devices

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One of the highlights of our cruise to Norway for me is that for the twelve days we spent on the cruise ship we didn’t have the internet. If you’re like me you probably spend a great deal of time on it. I love the internet, it’s a great source of information! It is also a great source of distraction. And since you already don’t spend much time with each other you might as well make that time count. So be in the moment. Turn off your devices and share, connect and be there in real life.

#5 Pay attention to detail

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Good attention to detail is often praised as a good professional skill to have. It shows that you care. It is also a great skill to have and to practice in your relationship. It can be little things like complimenting your partner on their looks before they leave home in the morning or wearing the perfume you know they love. Or it can be a little bit more advanced like noticing a frown on your partner’s face and taking the time to discuss what’s making them feel concerned. I love leaving my boyfriend little drawings on sticky notes that I place somewhere he’ll find them when I go to bed before he gets back home. Show that you care. Pay attention to detail.

There are lots of ways you can nurture your relationship when you’re a workaholic couple. These are the top five that my boyfriend and I use on a regular basis and that have brought us closer even though we spend a lot of time working.

What do you do to nurture your relationship? Please share in the comments below as I’d love to know!

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There Is No One Else On Earth Like You

I remember how not that long ago I was obsessing over finding my style as an artist. It was always at the back of my head. Not only that but I was seeing so much great artwork online that I wanted to be like those artists that I felt were more successful than me (note the contradiction here: I wanted to find my style / I wanted to be like other artists).

I spent a lot of time looking at every piece of artwork I was creating and asking myself ‘Is this my style? Is this unique? Is this innovative?’

These questions were putting me under quite a lot of self-inflicted stress and often I felt like I didn’t know who I was as an artist.

In my personal life something similar was happening. When I became a freelance illustrator I was faced with the fact that I didn’t have to dress according to a specific dress code and where I should have felt freedom I felt confusion instead. I had been dressing for other people for so long that I didn’t know how to dress like me anymore. In fact I didn’t know what ‘me’ would wear.

So I didn’t know who I was as an artist and I didn’t know who I was as a person.

In a way this could have been overcome fairly quickly if I hadn’t been so darn stubborn about focusing on what I felt I should do instead of focusing on what I wanted to do.

One baby step at a time I progressively let go of the shoulds, both in my art career and in my personal life. I opened up to what I liked, what was making me happy, what was making me laugh and little by little I started doing more of that until it snowballed.

My art started becoming more like me when I started becoming more like me.

Recently I read that “all art is autobiographical” and I believe it is true.

About being unique and having a unique style, the title for today’s post is borrowed from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. In that book (which I really recommend reading by the way) I read a quote that really struck me. It said: “[…] let’s not waste a second worrying because we are not like other people. You are something new in the world. Never before since the beginning of time, has there ever been anybody like you; and never again throughout all the ages to come will there ever be anybody exactly like you again.”

Man, this quote feels good every time I read it!

So much time spent worrying about wanting to have a unique style and here it is, and it had been there all along:

“You are something new in the world.”

So if you ever wonder what your artistic style is and how to find it, my advice to you is: make lots of art, draw the things that you want to draw, be yourself and it will soon become obvious to you what your style is.

Same if you wonder who you are as a person. Do things that make you happy, do things that make you laugh, do things that make you feel excited and you will soon find out who you are.

As long as you are not imitating somebody else and that you are being you, then you are unique and so is your artistic voice – yes I said voice. Because your style might be similar to someone else’s (and as long as you are not copying that’s okay by the way!) but your voice, well your voice is your own take on whatever you’re doing.

I will leave you with two things:

1) A quote from Kung Fu Panda 3 (this film franchise is full of pearls of wisdom!) where Po says: “Your real strength comes from being the best you you can be. Who are you? What are you good at? What makes you, you?”

2) I made this ‘What makes me me’ illustration a few months ago and I thought that it would be fun to fill in the boxes again every year or so to see what changes and what stays the same. 

© Camille Medina 2017

You can download and print a version of this illustration with empty boxes here.

(For personal use only, no commercial use. If you’d like to use this for commercial/non-personal use, contact me here.)

Have a lovely day and enjoy being yourself in life and in your art!


Notes

CARNEGIE, D.,  ‘Find Yourself and Be Yourself: Remember There Is No One Else on Earth Like You’, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. London: Vermilion – an imprint of Ebury Publishing, 1998, pp.168-176.

I am in a video game!

One of the great things about being a creative is undoubtedly the fact that I get to meet and hang out with a lot of other creative people.

And once in a while I get to collaborate on some exciting and extraordinary projects.

Boy, if you’d told me that one day I would get to be in a video game I’m not sure I would have believed you.

And yet it happened!

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