Creating During Chaos




Normally, January is my energetic month, the month of renewed vigor and motivation. I love writing and creating during the winter months when the days are shorter (I know, I know, they are getting longer by a minute every day) and it's too cold to much outside than go for a walk. 

My idea of hibernation is to stay inside and write. And until now, this has worked for me. Last year, it worked wonderfully! Two books I pitched in January -- including Alphabet of Faith -- were picked up. And last year, the first few months saw a surge of poetic creativity from me; I wrote a lot of poems before June (when I ended up working two jobs and doing a college course online).

But the start of 2022 has been a non-starter. 

I'm really struggling with getting my creative juices flowing. My energy is low, my distraction high -- wanting to know what is happening now, in Nova Scotia, in Ontario, in British Columbia, in the United States. Not that it really impacts my life but I can't help myself. 
What that news and information impacts is my creativity and my ability to focus on work. 

A great deal of how we're all feeling has to do with the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the new variant of the virus, and -- the last few days in particular -- waiting to know if we're going back to school or not. The energy of the world -- in the airwaves and on social media as well as in the grocery stores -- is anxious and run-down. We are tired of being unsure and not knowing. We are tired of the whiplash of "things are getting better, oops, no, things are definitely not getting better". And I think now, heading into 2022, into the third year of this pandemic, our coping mechanisms are no longer helping. We are stressed out about being stressed out. We haven't even been able to settle into a "new normal". 

I know I speak on behalf of a lot of people who feel like they are just dragging themselves around, weighed down by the big bag of worry we've been steadily filling since March 2020. 

Last year, a friend of mine took the winter of 2021 off; he did nothing creative, but rather got a lot of stuff done around the house that he'd been putting off. And by the time March and April rolled around, he found himself full of ideas that were ready to burst out of him. 
A writing acquaintance has decided to take a "creative hibernation" this winter, and not do any writing.

I just wrote in an email to a friend that I have no idea what writing project to work on next. But Alphabet of Faith just came out, and my children's book releases in the spring of 2023, so perhaps this is an opportunity to stop pressuring myself to be creative and simply stop trying. Stop trying to force creativity. I'm working on some magazine story pitches and perhaps that's enough. 

That's one of the words of the pandemic: Enough. We've learned, hopefully, that many of us have enough, do enough, are enough. Sometimes it's enough to just do enough to get by and be gentle with ourselves for the lack of creative energy. Let's accept it's at a low ebb right now, and be gentle with ourselves. As a Grade 8 teacher said on Twitter the other day, her main goal with her students right now is participation and fun. 

Participation and fun. That sounds like enough. 

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