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To Create or Not to Create: That is the Quarantine Question

Reading, watching movies, browsing artwork. Everyone has been drawn to enjoying creativity more than usual during these stressful times.

There’s also a lot of belief that creators should be creating even more during this period, since they’re staying at home more. It seems, though, that it’s not that simple. While some people are indeed creating more works of art and finally writing that book, a lot of creatives are more tired than inspired these days.

The important thing is to remember that if this is you, that’s okay. We won’t all, by default, go into some uber-creative mode where we start churning out bestsellers or masterpieces. In fact, the “collective sadness” that many are experiencing seems to be having the opposite effect.

Sure, people may have more time on their hands — especially if they are not working at the moment. The important thing to remember is that everyone has stress in a different form right now.

If you have been laid-off or furloughed, you obviously have a lot of financial stressors. Being out of a job and wondering what to do is hardly going to put someone in a good frame of mind for doing much of anything. It may give you time to work on creative projects, but if your mind is bogged down with a million things, it is not time to go into creative mode.

If you are still working, you have a different issue. You’re being expected to function normally when everything around you is falling apart. Your workplace may be pivoting, as many are, to address the current situations. If you have a job working with the public, you have new policies in place to keep social distancing in place — and it doesn’t help if you have to confront naysayers and force them to wear masks to keep everyone safe.

If you’re in healthcare, you obviously have it rough. In the midst of trying to save lives and possibly seeing people dying in front of you, you have people protesting because they can’t get a haircut.

The Return of Creativity

If you have been experiencing “momentary creative difficulties,” it will likely come back to you when you are ready. For me, it was a bit of inspiration to do an easygoing micro-fiction series on Instagram. It’s hard not to address Coronavirus, but it’s also not a headspace to always be in, so it helped to have a motivational twist to the stories that can be relevant at any time. Quotes and highlights from the series, “The Time-Traveling Photography Club,” will be posted here at a later time.

Yet even that did not come easily. It’s hard to do the all-day creative session now, and in fact, sleeping breaks seem, oddly, to help.

Don’t force yourself. Be gentle with yourself — because not only is life hard in general, right now, for some, it feels nearly impossible.