Let this be a Cultural Reset… For You

As someone that is fairly creative, I engage with creative people on a regular basis. I am noticing in many cases that creatives that were very active in the pre-COVID era have struggled in the post-COVID era.

It’s different for each. Some had built up significant momentum in building a career based around their art, and that momentum was interrupted, and they are struggling to find that spark. For others, it’s not about COVID at all, but the emergence of AI and technologies that make creative feel hopeless for the future of their passions. And for others it’s even different.

Emotionally, we have collectively added a societal trauma on top of a heap of other stresses and trauma that existed already, and regardless of how directly we were effected by COVID itself, it’s impact on society is impacting each of us directly. Many people were pushed emotionally passed the red line of their emotional capacity, stripped down into a simple sequence of survival.

We need only look at our past to see that this huge event that occurred in our lives is with us for the rest of our lives. Just as the generation that survived the Great Depression became prone to collecting, canning and gathering supplies for the rest of their lives, we too will have things we do now because of what has happened that future generations may not understand.

As creatives, these shattering circumstances may have taken you out or sorts, lost, directionless, disoriented in finding purpose or direction. Always in the back of your mind dwells “could it happen again.?”

I have felt that way- angry at myself for the lack of energy, the exhaustion and frustration- the motivational breakdown.

Ultimately, while I do not feel that I have completely moved on from our collective trauma and some of the horrible things that have happened adjacent to that, I did work to process and start to regain footing.

I started with giving myself some slack. Being Ok with my emotional state, and understanding where it came from and why. Allowing more “doom scrolling” and less forced activity. Trying to recognize why I felt and in many ways still feel exhausted on a daily basis. Space… and time, are essential to reorienting.

When it came to my own creative endeavors, I started at ground zero. My first manuscript of prose dates back to 1990, and so my own apprehension at creating full works of writing predates COVID and permeates a much deeper place in my psyche than I can blame COVID for.

But I have always remembered what I loved about that first experience, the thrill of creation, the slow emergence of a great set of characters whose adventures were fun to put on page.

I grabbed that- not the prospect of publishing a book. Not the arbitrary goals of awards and dollars to be made. Not the pressures of whether it was any good. I grabbed the fun of writing characters. It was a slow haul- 2 years- but the passion stayed fresh, the interest stayed true.

That manuscript, which win, lose or draw I am very proud of already, went to the editor’s inbox for a second round last week. It got done. And now that it is done, and on to its next phase, my sense of purpose for my literary endeavors feels more clear. Future stories have started to present themselves. In short, what worked for me, was to write my way through it- focused the whole time of the joy of the writing.

If you are struggling in your art, strip away everything from that until you get to the simplest piece that brings you joy, and just let it bring you that joy. No expectation, no “next steps”. Just you, the art and the joy.

Maybe you’ll make your way back from there to where you were and then beyond. Maybe you’ll stay in that space, in that joy. It’s also entire possible that you come to the place that your joy no longer comes from that art or creation.  Just be Ok with yourself to let that happen and accept any of those outcomes path as true for you.

Either way, you will be creating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.