Covid-19 and the Creative Mind – a PSA

Just a friendly reminder that it is absolutely okay if you’re not spending this extra time at home plotting, writing, or polishing your novel or finessing your latest creative project. Some may still be risking their necks commuting to essential jobs, some may have a gaggle of unruly children to homeschool or other dependents to play the caregiver for, and to those people I say, “BRAVO and GOD BLESS YA.” I consider myself one of the fortunate ones: childless, no dependents, and able to work exclusively from home with a stable income. Believe me, I do not take that for granted by any means.

However, due to so many global societal shifts and social changes on a scale never before seen – including the inability to leave our homes for any non-essential reasons – many of us might be experiencing far more time alone with our spiraling thoughts. It seems logical to attempt to make the most of those rampant thoughts by churning out our next masterpiece, written or otherwise. If that’s what you’re currently doing, then good for you! Envision me sending all the gold stars your way. I’ll toss in a few cookies, too. Lord knows I’ve eaten too many of those during quarantine, anyway.

However, if you haven’t really put a solid creative pen to paper since 2020 virtually imploded, then guess what my friend… we’re in the same boat! Hop on in and grab a paddle – from a safe six feet away, of course. We are in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, and our thoughts may be running wild in ways that are certainly not stoking the flames of creativity. In fact, our thoughts may be more along the lines of, “OMGTHEWORLDISONFIRE, RED ALERT, RED ALERT!” Perfectly normal reaction, to be honest.

If you’re anxious, sad, scared, and unable to produce a single plot point or coherent sentence, THAT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE, and there is no shame necessary. No need to pile undue pressure on top of an already stressful situation. Do whatever you need to in order to survive these next few (days/weeks/months/who knows what) of social distancing. Don’t feel guilty about your perceived lack of productivity. If you want to cook, cook. If you want to video chat, video chat. If you want to color, color. If you want to write, write. If you just want to sit on the couch binge-watching a show about all the narcissistic, backwoods, big cat owning crazies of America while crying into a tub of rocky road… well, you get the idea. Do what you must to keep yourself sane during these times. If creativity has to take a back seat until normalcy returns, then it is what it is, and there’s no need to beat yourself up.

Be smart about social distancing, but above all, be kind to yourself. We’ll get through this.

Until next (and a hopefully pandemic-free) time,

J.B.

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