Last week I was invited to take part in a New York based meet up for creatives – Creative in Quarantine: Finding Inspiration in Isolation – a space for artists of all disciplines to come together and discuss the challenges we are facing during lockdown, and to recognise our achievements.
It was an absolute honour to be asked to participate, and despite a deep aversion to speaking on camera, I dove right in and loved every minute of it. Afterwards I felt super exhilarated and inspired, in awe of everyone’s eloquence in discussing their creative journeys during Covid-19.
We were asked by host extraordinaire Tricia Patrick:
What does it mean to be creative in this time? Does it have to yield products/ advance our careers? Or can we just be creative for creativity’s sake?
Such an interesting question and something I consistently find challenging. For me, there’s an enormous sense of having to use this time productively. Create to produce a product. Create to provide content. Create to make money. When art becomes your business, it can be very difficult to separate the two.
But when the intention behind creativity is multi-faceted and not purely for the joy of creating, it can become a pressure instead of a release.
In an ideal world, creativity has the capacity to
- yield a sense of joy
- provide a release
- be utilised as a coping mechanism to navigate emotionally difficult situations
- connect one to oneself
- bring about a sense of purpose
- eradicate boredom
With that in mind, are we able to explore creativity separate from our artistry? Is this something you are able to do?
We were also asked to share the creativity challenges we’ve experienced and overcome during lockdown, our accomplishments, inspiration and self-care practises.
Here are my reflections on these areas.
Fluctuations in motivation – one week I’m energised and hugely motivated, the next I’m devoid of enthusiasm, lethargic and uninspired. How can I meet these inevitable changes with self-compassion, gentleness and grace?
Time management – how do I balance creating with all other aspects of my business – blogging, social media, newsletters, making videos etc. Once I create a routine, how do I stick to it? Can I practise softness and flexibility instead of self-criticism and rigidity?
Adapting – having redirected my focus to in-person workshops offline, how then do I shift back to online offerings? Trying to embrace the necessity to learn new skills eg. how to make downloadable colouring pages; how to make video tutorials
Expectations – mainly of my own productivity. How do I manage the demands and sense of urgency I impose on myself? Can I set myself small manageable tasks and be content with a slower, more organic pace of ‘getting things done’?
Comparison – my susceptibility to a ‘compare & despair’ mindset: other people got online quicker, other people are more productive than me, other people are more resilient and resourceful than me. How can I bring my attention back to my own lane and my own voice?
It can be SO easy to focus on what we haven’t done, what we haven’t yet achieved and quickly descend down the rabbit hole of ‘not enough’, so a practise of gratitude and self-recognition can provide a glorious antidote.
My lockdown accomplishments so far:
Website launched – I’d been procrastinating, endlessly refining and struggling with the inevitable tech difficulties of trying to build my own website, but I launched it! Ahead of schedule. With all its imperfections and unfinished bits. I did it! I built it and I launched it.
Youtube channel launched – quite literally after years of procrastination and ‘valid’ delay tactics, I’ve finally done it! Expect to find lots of tutorials, time lapses & much more. Please do subscribe 💖
Colouring pages created – a series of hand drawn mandalas, scanned, adjusted in Photoshop, and added to my website as downloadable printables for you to colour.
More blog posts & newsletters written – I love to write and this has gifted me the inspiration and opportunity to write more.
Sold more sobriety cards than ever before! From Tynemouth to Texas, Carlisle to California, Watford to Washington, my cards are reaching far and wide. It truly makes my heart sing to see my cards fly all over the world 💖
Created ‘Unsung Heroes of Covid-19’ – a series of interviews with extraordinary people with ‘ordinary’ lives, modestly, humbly making a huge difference but with no applause, no recognition. This idea was inspired by my friend Del and I am excited to see it grow.
MY INSPIRATION/ MY ‘WHY’
What inspires you? What is your ‘why’ behind your artistry, behind your business? Has it changed during lockdown? It’s so easy to forget these but so important to remember and reconnect. A sense of purpose propels us forward and provides grounding amidst uncertainty.
To find an oasis in the chaos – to feel grounded myself and provide tools for others to do the same.
To harness a deep sense of connection – within myself and with others.
To find joy, beauty and colour within the array of grey – it’s so easy to descend into a scarcity mindset, especially at a time when so much of our security structure has been dismantled. But despite the darkness, there is always joy. It is my commitment to myself to find it.
What helps you on a day to day basis stay sane? What keeps you connected to yourself and others?
Here are my essential tools to keep my mental health in tact:
One day at a time – by keeping my focus rooted in today, I am gifted a reprieve from the frenzy of future worries. If I allow my thoughts to drift into the weeks and months ahead, I can experience a sense of panic and anxiety rise in my chest. I can still make plans and set goals for myself, but my attention is on the day ahead.
Routine & flexibility – despite a deep rebellious streak within me that fights against routine, I know it serves me tremendously. I set myself a daily and weekly routine but also allow for space to modify it.
Morning ritual – this is my saving grace. My daily grounding practise. It can vary each day but always involves a combination of yoga, meditation, journaling, affirmations, reading spiritual literature.
Exercise – I am too often too comfortable sitting on my backside, so this one requires a little extra work for me! Joe Wicks I am not. My favourite exercise is dancing in the garden or walking in the park, music in my ears and singing at the top of my voice. I probably look like a lunatic but I always feel exhilarated afterwards & there’s something very freeing about letting go of what other people probably think of me!
Online connection – for me, this is recovery meetings, my ‘home alone’ meet up for local solopreneurs, and my spiritual/ self-development book group. Seeing that sea of faces over Zoom has become an immeasurable support for me and provides a surprisingly soothing level of connection.
Phonecalls – there’s something still immensely comforting about a familiar, disembodied voice at the other end of the phone. Just a good old-fashioned phone call where I can’t see their face and they can’t see mine; where I don’t have to care that my hair looks shit and I’m still wearing pyjamas.