Overcoming a Creative Slump
One of the things that I've come to realize about myself during this worldwide "vacation" is that I think about the bigger picture...in a detrimental way at times. Because of this and its various inspirations, I have come to sacrifice my artistic self-expression in exchange for my perception of what would best benefit my future. If you are in the same boat that I am, you understand that this crisis has been a bit of a blessing I disguise for those of us that are dependents and blessed enough to have things fall in our favor. I have no work so that is no longer a distraction for me. I filed my taxes early and my state check has already come in. My parents do the grocery shopping because I was lucky enough to be home with family when the gates were closed (both physically and metaphorically).
The only things left for me to do are to play my part in babysitting/home-schooling, and to take care of my schoolwork. What I have found is that I still allowed this academic-I-have-to-secure-my-future-ASAP mindset to stop me from being the true Creative that I am. Personally, I wasn't always a type A personality. I would draw on anything and create collages when bored. I used to write songs and choreograph dances when my siblings and I were home alone. I'm working on getting back there.
So, how am I fixing this?
To start, I had to come to terms with the fact that I used practicality as a crutch to avoid having to discover more about who I am really meant to become. The next step for us more privileged creatives is to understand the sources of our mental blocks. There are so many emotions and excuses readily available to avoid perfecting one’s craft: fear about this pandemic, lack of faith that adds to anxiety, different creative settings (some of us are used to being an artist on campus but are now home), family distractions, lack of art supplies, and so on. I will attempt to address all these sources of mental blocks.
Establishing a Creative's Corner
If there are too many distractions wherever you are quarantined, try your best to clear out a corner for yourself. Don’t try your pretty hardest. Try your actual hardest. For example, it does not have to be a section of the living room that you block off with caution tape and a curtain. My current space of choice is the kitchen counter. I’m right next to the extremely sunny windows and near all of my windowsill plants. It’s a little like my room on campus because the kitchen isn’t usually busy (when it is, it is because I’m cooking).
Finding Sources of Inspiration
If you are a writer who has nothing to write about right now, it can eat you up. I always feel like my brain is too loud when I haven't written in a while. My thoughts feel messy, I forget things easily-- I'm a bristly mess. I start by doing a brain dump on paper. Every single though on my brain goes down on the paper. Network for similar artists like yourself. Watch them at their craft and let them inspire you. Listen to music. My inspiration playlist is a jarring mix of "River flows in You" by Yiruma, "Canon in D major", "Easy" by the Commodores, and the entire of Janelle Monae's "Dirty Computer" album. The moral is: inspiration comes from anywhere. Stay busy but find time to sit quietly and let it come to you. Process the art you just witnessed. Then, create your own.
Don't Stand in Your Own Way
Lastly, just freaking do it. Nike style. You don't have to find the cure for Coronavirus or fix all of your psychological traumas in this extra time given to us. But you can help yourself get out of this slump by doing something creative. Do as much as you can with the supplies you have. If you don't have anything to paint with, pick up another craft. Increase your reservoir. Don't stand in your own way.