Here we are in the midst of summer. While certain things like our squash plant and our tomato plants are growing at exponential rates, I’ve found that in the last two months, my creativity has wilted. COVID has inched its way into my world, a garden pest that latches onto one part of my life and drains energy away from the other parts.
Luckily, like many things in life, I’ve found that with a little extra attention, my creativity has begun to perk back up. As I’ve done in the past, I’m beginning to reassess my current situation and determine how to keep my life filled with writing.
What steps am I taking to help my creativity grow strong during the pandemic?
- I’m taking care of my mental health. – This step includes limiting my workload. While I am happy to have picked up some regular freelance writing opportunities over the last few months, I am still working my full-time day job. With much of our staff on furlough or laid off, my day job responsibilities have grown.
In the midst of this change, I started receiving more writing jobs and was accepting them left and right. I am now at a point where I am choosing to slow down and acknowledge that there are only so many hours in a day, and yes, I actually do need to sleep more than five hours. I will limit the amount of work that I am taking on so I have time to foster my own creativity. In doing so, I will prevent my forever friend, Anxiety, from visiting.
- I’ve begun journaling in the mornings. – I’ve been trying to go to bed at reasonable times so I can get up a little earlier in the morning. I squeeze in some journaling time, usually about 15 minutes, while drinking my coffee. It helps me to slowly wake up my thoughts and to develop a focus for the day ahead of me.
I curl up with a blanket and my dog and write on the couch, rather than at my desk. Instead of seeming like “work,” my journaling time has again become a quiet retreat, which is why I started writing in a journal in the first place.
- I’ve joined a (virtual) book club. – I miss my in-person writing sessions with friends. I’ve tried writing online with others, but it doesn’t have the same effect for me. However, creating a virtual book club has been a helpful alternative.
The members of the club all suggest titles we would like to read each month, and then we vote on them. So far, we have read:
Verbalizing why I did or didn’t like certain parts of books helps me better understand what writing styles I appreciate. I also enjoy hearing my friends’ commentary because it gives me other readers’ perspectives. I can use this knowledge to inform my own writing.
Accepting that life will not be the same for the foreseeable future has been a relief. I wanted to cling to last year’s writing patterns because they were so effective for me, but I have entered another season of the times, along with everyone else.
I hope you other writers out there are finding your own ways to cultivate creativity! Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments section.