It’s been nearly two years since the initial COVID lockdown here in the US. My previous employer sent me home to work March of 2020, and I only returned to the office for a couple of months earlier this year. I’m still working remote, home alone all day Monday through Friday, pounding out content at my new job.
During this time I’ve found my creativity has ebbed and flowed. There are periods where I’m on a streak, writing and drawing, playing music, trying new things. Then it tapers off, and I then find I’m at a loss. The words and images are in my head, but I can’t seem to get anything to coalesce.
Oddly, I think the isolation has been both helpful and harmful to my creativity.
It’s been helpful in that I’ve had more time to be creative. Without having to commute to and from work five days a week, not having to think about what I’m going to wear (other than shorts and a t-shirt), and not having to plan and prepare to-go lunches, I’ve had an extra hour or two each day to do my own thing.
On the flip side, the isolation has also restricted my movements and exposure to the world. While most of my stories originate in my dreams, those dreams are fed by my daily experiences. Talking to people, hearing their stories, their adventures, seeing new things, the smells and sounds and sights, all of that goes in the mental filing cabinet for later reference.
Without that exposure, I don’t necessarily find the inspiration I need for new ideas. One of my favorite little vices is listening in to conversations around me in public places, like restaurants. Snatches of conversation are always entertaining and feed my creative fire. Without it, well, I have to remember and rehash things I overheard two years ago.
Luckily, I’ve been able to keep the dreams playing in my head each night. It just seems like I could – should – be more creative than I have been. Like I’m not taking full advantage of the opportunity I have.
But it’s getting better. I’ve been able to get together with friends, I’ve challenged myself, and every time I’ve felt like I was slipping out of my routine I’ve been able to pull myself back onto the path.
It’s been a weird year and a half and I don’t think it’s over yet. It’s a good thing humans are adaptable.