There’s certainly a lot of pressure to “do something” with this time being spent in isolation, whether it’s getting fit, upskilling in some way or starting a creative project.
There’s almost a sense of guilt tied to coming out the other side with nothing to show for it, which doesn’t exactly get the creative juices flowing, does it? And while some may have more free time on their hands, it doesn’t ring true for everyone, so how the hell are you supposed to emerge from quarantine with a work of art and a sense of accomplishment?
Well, here are five ways I’m looking at the situation.
You gotta make the time
Time can get weird in lockdown. Days melt into each other and weeks either last an eternity or like five minutes. There is no in-between.
Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that you need to set aside time for creativity, just like you do with everything else. I know it’s way easier to just chuck on some Netflix after work, but if you treat creative time with the same importance as your job, you’ll get way further than just saving a blank Word document as “my book”.
Aim for daily creative sessions, weekly at the very least.
Don’t force creativity, harness it
Forced creativity rarely yields great results. I can attest to this.
My creative goal for lockdown has been to write and record demos for my own hardcore/metal side project, HOUSE ARREST. It was going well for a little while, but the thing is, my writing is heavily influenced by what I’m listening to at the time, and lately it’s been a lot of dreamy, synthy vibes. Not quite what I had envisioned for HOUSE ARREST.
But that’s ok, I tend to have a few things on the boil at any one time for this very reason. If I tried to force out some brutal breakdowns when my inspirations are coming from dreamy soundscapes, I’m probably gonna get some pretty lazy writing and above all, it wouldn’t be as fun as writing what I want to in that moment, which is what it’s all about folks.
I like to think of creativity and inspiration a bit like energy. I’ll save you the long-winded science lesson, but essentially, the law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred or converted. Rather than trying to create something out of nothing, transfer inspiration into creative energy and harness that instead.
Sometimes I’m able to take inspiration from one genre and apply them to another, but for the most part, I’ve gotta be in the mood to create certain types of music. I’ve learnt that the best results come from going with the flow I’m feeling at the time.
Your mind is hungry – feed it
To keep that dope creative energy analogy going a little longer, inspiration works in the same way – it can’t be created out of thin air. In the same way we eat food to power our bodies, we have to feed our minds with inspiration, which can come from so many places.
Books, movies, documentaries, video games, music, nature, hobbies, pretty much anything you do or process with your mind can be used as creative inspiration. Some of the most vitamin-rich mind foods can come from the unfamiliar, so be sure to explore new genres or content outside of your norm every now and then.
Feed your mind often with a wide array of delicious mental foods and you’ll be amazed at where your brain can pull creative ideas from.
Try a new form of creativity
When you’re having trouble getting into your primary creative groove, consider channelling a different creative output to get the juices flowing again.
If you paint, try writing something. If you play guitar, give drawing a red hot crack. Consider it a creative warmup of sorts. Hell, it could even spark some fresh ideas for your main creative squeeze.
You could even give photography a go given almost all of us have a very decent camera attached to our smartphones these days. Get outdoors (in a socially distant capacity, of course) and snap some neat nature shots. Get creative with your approach, play with light or get some ultra-closeup shots, anything that gets your mind working in a new way.
Do a sick collab
A normal part of the creative process involves looking at your ideas and thinking that they might suck. We’ve all been there. Sometimes, it can be worth getting someone else involved for a fresh perspective.
Whether it’s for collaboration or just some simple feedback, having someone you trust on board with a project can really help kick things into gear or even become the beginning of the next best duo the world has ever seen.
But, most importantly, you should realise that creativity is different for everyone, and finding what works for you can take some time. Learn how to harness your creative flow and whatever process you follow will come naturally after that.