The spread of the current pandemic and the resultant quarantine is affecting all of us at the moment, and for each person its effects are unique. Something I know I've been struggling with in the midst of this change is holding onto my creativity, and somehow I don't think I'm alone in that fact. So I thought I'd share my top four ways to stay creative no matter the circumstances.
Let Yourself Not Be Creative
I know this might sound "backward" or counterproductive, but if you're really struggling with staying creative, then I suggest trying not to be creative. To me, forced creativity doesn't really count as creativity anyhow, especially if you're not enjoying it. The amount of creative-less time may vary per person before you're feeling naturally creative again, so just let yourself feel out what's right for you. If you're stressed or struggling, and the idea of writing, drawing, or creating in any way sounds daunting, don't push it.
It's my opinion that if you love creating — and deep down you are a creative person — then that love will present itself again, especially after some time away from it. That's the stage I've reached. At first, I didn't feel like doing much of anything, much less being creative. And for a while, I beat myself up over it. It was only when I allowed myself to take a true break for a second did my motivation start to seep back in again. Being without it for long enough made me crave creating again, but this time it felt genuine — and I truly enjoyed myself.
If you're stressed or struggling, and the idea of writing, drawing, or creating in any way sounds daunting, don't push it.
Let yourself Do Other Things as Well; Procrastination Doesn't Always Have to be The Bad Guy
This tip goes hand in hand with the first, and I know it may seem like I'm telling you to do what you've already been doing. But right now everything is completely different; it's a sensitive and unique time and so it requires a unique approach. And embracing the act of "doing nothing" may be the key. The point of putting these two tips at the top is to let you know that it's okay to not feel like doing anything productive or creative or anything you're "supposed to" be or do in normal times.
I've found that, in moderation, procrastination can actually help you during this challenging time we're all experiencing.
It's okay if you need to give yourself some time to adjust — some time to mentally acclimate or emotionally recover. Go ahead and procrastinate. If I don't feel like doing something I "should" be doing, I usually do feel like doing something else. For me, during this quarantine, that has been reading, playing games, or cleaning. Part of me wanted to fight the desire to do those things in order to complete a more "important" task, like songwriting or utilizing my creative side. But I've learned through all of this that, after letting myself sit down and read through a handful of books, I felt better about diving into the creativity that I had been loathing at the beginning of this situation. I've found that, in moderation, procrastination can actually help you during this challenging time we're all experiencing. I think it's important to give your mind, body, and soul what it wants rather than what you or others think it needs or "should be doing.
Remind Yourself Why You're Creative in the First Place — Rekindle Your Passion
Something I've been spending a decent amount of time on is reminding myself why I'm even doing the creative things that I love to do. Whether it's looking back at old photos or videos, watching others I look up to, or just talking with mutual friends who have the same passion as I do. Going back and connecting with these things or people, reminded me of how it felt to create, which made me want to feel that feeling again. It can be a slow process, but it's little things like this that can start to set aflame that creative fire inside that's just been in the shadows for a little while. It can remind you of the goals you had, what you wanted to do, and how much you've already done to achieve them — which for me started to bring back that stronger desire to actively be creative again
Start with a Project that May not be as "Important," but One You've Always Felt Like Doing, and Then Take it Slow
I know that some things just need to be done. But if you can help it, allow yourself to create something else, even if that something is for your eyes and ears only and will never see the light of day. After all, part of creating is enjoying the process, isn't it? The more you enjoy yourself, the more likely you are to continue and eventually get to those tasks that hold more importance or need to be created, and the less likely you are to not hate or regret every second of it. Create something weird, something dorky — who cares, as long as it's creative and you enjoy it. With this tip, you're courting creativity itself — tempting yourself to fall back in love with the creative process. And what you create in order to achieve this doesn't really matter.
A project can wait. Whereas your well-being and mental health really cannot.
I know this may not be some quick, four-step trick to jump immediately back into the creative realm again. But to be honest, I'm not sure if that's even possible or healthy right now. It's a scary and unusual time, and you're allowed to be scared; you're allowed to sit and watch Disney movies for twelve hours. That's okay. Maintaining your mental health should be the top priority. And if that means procrastinating like hell for the time being, then, by all means, allow yourself to. A project can wait. Whereas your well-being and mental health really cannot.
This article was originally published May 1, 2020.
WRITTEN BYJosephine Relli