Johnny Cash/NIN

Recently, an artist friend of mine asked me how I manage my relationship with my wife and my work at the same time. It was a great question, and my friend didn’t mind if I turned the answer into a blog post:

This is a significant problem with artists, photographers, musicians, and creators alike. In all honesty, I failed terribly to prioritize my relationship in my 20’s. I was teaching guitar 7 days per week, rehearsing twice per week with my rock band, and playing out 3-4 times per month. My wife became depressed because her husband was gone the majority of the time.

My thought process, was that I was building something for our future. I’d put in my time early, and reap some ambiguous pay-off down the road where her and I could be together all the time.

The short answer is: your time is now. Your life is now. There is no pot of gold at the end of a work-intensive rainbow. I teach lawyers, and surgeons who feel like they completely missed out on the first 18 years of their children’s life due to work commitments. As it turns out, it wasn’t worth it.

Since a creator’s vocation is often their avocation, the lines between leisure and work become very blurry. Here are some things to consider:

Is your significant other worth prioritizing over your work?

Maybe they’re not worth it. Many people are in relationships to be in relationships. If your not intending to spend the rest of your life with this person — why put yourself through the hassle of taking time away from your work projects?

The right person will some along, and you’ll want to make time for them.

Date a passionate, creative person like yourself.

Creative people intuitively understand creative people. If you’re a musician and your girlfriend is a photographer — chances are that she’ll need to be on her own for finite periods of time, like you. I’ve seen this work amazingly well with friends of mine. They’re passion about one another, as well as their individual work.

Adhere to a consistent work schedule and sneak in extra when you can.

I work on Intellimusica in the mornings while I’m off and my wife is at work. I only work in the evenings with her permission. Sometimes she’ll be engrossed in Hemlock Grove or some other Netflix series, and almost prefer that I not bother her.

If my wife is off on a weekday, I’ll get up extra early and work while she sleeps in.

Set a precedent early in your relationship.

You can’t spend every waking moment with someone — then suddenly vanish due to work projects. However, things might work if you say (early on) that:  Monday and Wednesday are my creative work nights. Let’s make time for each other on Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday.

Limits on your creative time is better for your work and productivity.

A relationship is probably the best thing for your work and career. Artists tend to get way too finicky about their work – myself included. By limiting your time, you force yourself to prioritize and complete your work faster — in a more efficient manor.

Parkinson’s law is the adage that: work expands, so as to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, your work isn’t necessarily better having spent more time on it. Have you ever wondered how I crank out so many songs each month? I use self-imposed time limits for the completion and recording of my arrangements and blog posts.


How to Play Hurt by Nine Inch Nails (as performed by Johnny Cash)

My instrumental arrangement for Hurt is a blend of both the Nine Inch Nails original, and the Johnny Cash remake. I honestly believe this song (especially the Johnny Cash version) is among everybody’s all time favorites.

Hurt for classical guitar, is not as easy as it looks. The first chord shape in the intro will be tricky for beginner and intermediate guitar players. However the verse is a very simple chord progression. 

The tab is very clear and easy to read. The order of play is: Intro, Verse, Chorus — Intro, Verse, Chorus. 

Enjoy the tab is available below: 

Hurt is played in standard tuning.

Hurt for classical guitar


Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, film composer - Broken Noons, creator of modern content for guitar.