Creativity During COVID
- 9 Min Read
The Cambridge Dictionary defines creativity as the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas. But we all know that creativity is, in reality, particularly hard to define. I like to think of creativity as a spirit that passes in and out of every single person. Some people use their creative spirit to write, others to make new sounds, some to design, and yes, some people use it with numbers (if you don’t believe me, check out this article).
As a so-called creative, I am painfully familiar with the coming and goings of the creative spirit. Sometimes it can be an immense challenge to get creativity to stick around. In the current global climate, online brainstorms and meetings from home have become quotidian. Our creative process is changed as a result of these digitalized interactions, and we’re forced to think outside the box to stay creative.
The life of a socially distanced creative has positives and negatives. But as we all know, it’s detrimental to dwell on the negatives. This time is a chance for you to assess your creative process, better your craft and most of all, try new things.
I put together a list of activities that you can do to capture creative energy. I can’t guarantee that one of them will cure your writer’s block, but here’s to hoping.
Ah. Glorious hobbies. A hobby is something you do outside of work that makes you happy. It’s good to have a few of these if you can. When we get too busy with work or the worries of adulthood, hobbies remind us of how simple life is. “Hobby Breaks” are my idea of a time in the workweek that you dedicate to your hobby. Even in the most hectic weeks, try to make time for this. 15-30 minutes is all you need to give your brain a much-needed break from all the chaos. Spending time on a hobby gives you an outlet to be creative in an environment that isn’t your office.
COFFEE DATE WITH NATURE
The outdoors is one of the best places to go when you’re lacking inspiration. If it’s cold, grab a coffee or tea and take a walk. Wherever you choose to go, walk without direction. Do anything you can to absorb nature’s impeccable sense of balance. Pretty soon, you’ll be feeling back into the swing of things yourself.
Fundamental to most of our lives, technology is a vast resource for news, inspiration and connection. It can also distract us from where creativity actually comes from—ourselves. Sometimes it’s best to take a break from the tech and create things with our own hands. Instead of pushing buttons and touching screens, put pen to paper and create. Write your mother a letter, sketch a life-changing new product or draw something that you saw on your morning commute. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything that tech has to offer, hit the power button, close the computer and do something inspiring.
“In the digital age, don’t forget to use your digits.”- Lynda Barry
CRAFT A FANCY DINNER
Since you’ve been spending more time at home, you’ve probably been cooking more than usual. Although it can be alluring to order takeout after a long week, I suggest cooking your own fancy meal. Cooking is a great way to utilize creativity to make something delicious, plus it’s good for your mental health. Cooking is a great way to hang out with people and get those social interactions that you’ve been missing during online work sessions.
START A LOGBOOK
I read this in a book recently, and it was too good to keep to myself.
“Just as you need a chart of future events, you also need a chart of past events. A logbook isn’t necessarily a diary or a journal; it’s just a little book in which you list the things you do every day. What project you worked on, where you went to lunch, what movie you saw. It’s much easier than keeping a detailed diary, and you’d be amazed at how helpful having a daily record like this can be, especially over several years. The small details will help you remember the big details.”
– Austin Kleon
A logbook is important for creativity because it reminds you of what you did during a day and how it made you feel. If you got a big idea yesterday, look back at your logbook to see what you did to form it.
TAKE PHOTOS OF EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
The newest trend on Instagram is to take photos of every single thing that is picture-worthy and post it to your Instagram story. The photos could be anything: a terrible meal you made, a curious-looking cloud or maybe a candid photo of your significant other. Take photos of everything that you’re doing so that you can look back on your adventures and smile. Smiles and laughs are great inducers of creativity.
MAKE YOUR HOME OFFICE OFFICE-WORTHY
Office spaces are an atmosphere where you feel comfortable and are productive. You customize them to your liking and make them your home away from home. Sooner or later, you’ll probably have to work from home. If this happens, you’ll need a space in your home to work from. Unless you have a dedicated home office, your space is probably some kind of makeshift table covered in old pens, loose documents and a myriad of rainbow-colored sticky notes. Make an effort to make your home office a productive, comfortable setting to work. Invest in a comfy desk chair, get a file sorter for those loose papers and make it homey.
“Where you sit is important…your environment is important.”- Rich Silverstein
GET SOME DIFFERENT PENS
I’m a blue pen kind of guy. I used to be a black pen kind of guy, but I switched when I saw how cool writing in blue was. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be a green pen kind of guy. Changing the medium that you write in can help bring on creative energy. If you write a lot, invest in a really nice pen. It will change your life. If you’re a pencil person… maybe switch the size of the graphite that you use? I don’t really know anything about pencils.
DO SOMETHING COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Do something that gets you out of the normal swing of things. Try a new kind of food. Ask your boss for a project that will challenge you. Read a book that talks about something you’re not overly interested in. Volunteer somewhere. Learn how to fix a part on your car. Whatever it is, make sure you feel uncomfortable doing it.
MAKE A CREATIVITY PLAYLIST
If you’re working from home, your workday is probably a little quieter than a typical day at the office. To jazz it up a bit, I suggest making a playlist on whatever music service you use. The playlist should help spur creativity. Throw in a few dance-worthy songs that force you to get out of your seat. Act out that guitar solo. Sing that hook.
It’s okay—you’re by yourself, so no one will know!