Creativity In Hard Times
No, I’m actually not referring to that global pandemic thing. I don’t wish to erase anyone’s experience (undoubtedly challenging experiences at that), but I want to talk about hard times at a smaller scale.
I have chronic pain for mostly unidentified reasons. I know when and where I hurt myself, but the jury is still out on why I haven’t recovered. Technically it’s all from distinct, acute injuries that are healable. And yet, 18+ months on from the first injury … pain is an issue most days. So how do you juggle creativity?
I can only speak from my own perspective. Your hard time might be very similar or very different. I’m a big believer in taking on the advice that suits you and discarding the rest. Please always do that with my posts. I’m a questioner, not a “sell you a 10 step never fail formula” person.
Plan (but only in a useful way)
I don’t know which day will be good and which day will be bad. I can’t plan in a “SMART” goal way as I can’t predict my ability. Therefore sticking to “write 1000 words per day” is bad advice, as I may not be able to use a computer on a particular day. What I can do is write notes to myself about what actions I want to take next.
I’m a pantser at heart, but with limited energy, I do have to use some of my working time to think ahead and write a few lines on what the next chapter of a book will be about.
That means that the next limited energy day I have, I can log into my writing app and know where to pick up. I don’t know if writing a single sentence makes me a plotter instead (I doubt it), but this is the type of balance that I find useful – have memory/plan triggers rather than some detailed plan that I will never be able to keep.
I used to have (non publicised) monthly themes on my blog. It helped me write and focus. One thing I’m considering still is seeking a formal diagnosis for ADHD, because while I can organise and focus, it comes at a great energy cost to me. Which is why the mild direction of monthly themes really helped me. And then I forgot all about them and my blog went all over the place…
Cue early 2021 and I was reading the Artful Business Magazine and there it was, a reminder I needed. The gist was, don’t choose a word of the year (or similar) if you aren’t ready, set a monthly intention.
Just the reminder I needed. Monthly is doable without mental overwhelm.
I find that most productivity advice assumes a fully abled body and a full time availability to the “thing” in question. In hard times, we often have ability, money, time and other variables dry up. So you need to find a way to remind yourself that you can set your own productivity levels for your creative works.
Also, I mean… I hate productivity. Creativity does have a lot of “work” to it, but there are times when you have to appear unproductive for ideas to mutate into what they really need to be to be an output you like.