Welcome! How is everyone holding up? It's probably an understatement to say your 2020 hasn't gone as planned, has it?
Usually this is a good thing for artists, such as myself, whose often find creative inspiration in current events. But it's hard to make space for inspiration when fear & uncertainty cloud up the room and nobody is sure what the future will bring. It's an extremely weird period to be living through, especially when many don't seem to be taking it seriously.
So where does creativity fit into this messy picture? A lot of amazing corona-inspired artwork appeared on social media, ranging from informative, to hilarious, to thought-provoking. This makes sense-so many things are happening right now and there’s a bottomless well of raw material to mine good pieces from. And on the other hand, some of us did.......nothing.
Because the entire world is staying indoors, it feels like we have all the time now to pursue everything we've ever tossed at the back of our minds. It was quite difficult to not fall into the trap of the productivity contest-I gave into it at some point and created a series I abandoned halfway and will likely never complete.
Forced things are just not sustainable, and hardly are they ever good quality.
My initial reaction of forcing creativity, while trying to juggle a thousand other things….was a fail and led to a complete burnout. Placing additional pressure on yourself in an already stressful situation is a bad idea. Wow... who knew? Lol.
There is no right way to cope with a pandemic (I mean, besides following the expert recommended guidelines) but it was only when I resigned myself to the worry and the anxiety, that I could really process it and start emerging from the murky, grey clouds. Right now, I'm still working through my burnout, and here are some examples of the many things I've tried to overcome it. Hopefully something resonates with you:
Managing creativity through a pandemic:
1. Take care of yourself first. Not always as easy as it sounds.
2.Don’t overthink. Whatever it is, don't overthink, just do.
3.Create something just for yourself that you don’t publicly share. They can be as hideous, nasty, explicit or bland as you want :)
4. It’s okay to ignore the incessant chatter. Leave social media if necessary. When asked if I was making any corona-related art, I said I wasn't up to it. End of story.
5. Keep a journal and describe what you're going through so it’s easier to recognize when next it happens.
6. Allow yourself to feel things without turning them into action-points. You don’t need to channel every emotion and every thought into a project. Sometimes just sit with them.
7. Stop working for a while. Easier said than done, but a clean break helps sometimes. Try exercise or something.
8. Support other creatives: watch their youtube channels, share their posts, enjoy their content etc. Get out of your own head!
9. Go back to the start: work on a study, look through old projects, find the first thing that excited you about the work you do.
10. Learn a new thing at your own pace! Some suggestions: YouTube, Skillshare, one of the several course sites etc.
Bonus : Stay out of the “productivity olympics”- not everyone will launch a start-up, earn 7 online degrees and write 1,834 think-pieces in the two months of quarantine, and frankly I'd appreciate they didn't. Create at your current rate, slow down or speed up-As long as you’re not competing with anyone else.