Mustering the Energy and Inspiration to Create During COVID-19
Accumulating a sufficient amount of momentum is paramount to begin any endeavor, both creative or otherwise.
And, more often than not, that momentum requires a single source—you.
Of course, we draw inspiration from everything we see and do, but it requires our impetus to reach these sites of inspiration no matter if they’re physical, virtual or social.
However, during this period when many of us are bound to our homes and restricted to minimal social contact, due to both the modern way of living and the global pandemic, our usual modes of encountering inspiration are in disarray.
We are unable to visit the cinema, listen to live music or even interact menially with our co-workers.
As such we must all find new ways of mustering the energy and inspiration to forward ourselves during this bizarre period in modern history.
That said, periods like this have sparked phenomenal innovation and inspiration in the past.
During self-isolation during the Plague of the 1600s Shakespeare supposedly wrote King Lear among numerous of his long narrative poems.
Throughout the Spanish Flu, a mere century ago, biological innovation was fast-tracked in response.
And both during and post the world-wars we saw artistic, infrastructural and cultural innovation across the board—responding to the devastating chaos of the era.
As such, despite the worldwide chaos, devastation and instability we all face throughout this pandemic, we can rest assured that it provides fuel for mass changes for the future of humanity and, more importantly for us, for our individual lives.
Yet, that said, bringing together the energy, materials and time to achieve goals and nurture creativity is still a hugely difficult task. As such, let’s discuss four key features which help me retain momentum and motivation through this period.
First, and foremost, we must reconsider the restrictions placed on our way of living shifting them from an inconvenience to an opportunity.
That is, an opportunity to focus on goals we have shied away from, an opportunity to reconsider our career paths and an opportunity to connect.
The latter seems counter-intuitive, as we are all relatively isolated from one another, however thanks to the Internet and the many contemporary means of communication, now is in fact a better time than ever to reach out to others as, like you, they likely have a lot of time on their hands.
Thus, there has been almost no better time to reach out to fellow creatives, peers and entrepreneurs to establish future plans or undergo remote collaborations.
Furthermore, from a creative perspective, many of the greatest and most meaningful artworks are born from limitation.
Be it a limit in physical materials, physical space or social collaborators, creating works with inherent restrictions makes you work harder.
Yet that extra strain on your abilities will not only better your abilities in the long run, but is also likely to produce exceptionally unique works.
Thus, re-imagining limitation as a stimulating force is a hugely important first step.
Second, and more complexly, we have our self-confidence.
It is undoubtable that most of us, from entrepreneurs to artists, question both our ideas and our abilities to execute them.
In fact research quoted by Josh Waitzkin in The Art of Learning suggests that many of the brightest people “prove to be the most vulnerable to becoming helpless, because they feel the need to live up to and maintain a perfectionist image”.
It is important, then, to recognize this self-doubt as a sign of care, intelligence and diligence instead of taking it at face value.
Furthermore, now, when we have much time to practice our skills in the privacy of our own home, is the perfect time to further our self-confidence as, unlike in a professional setting, many of our failures will never need to be seen by another soul.
Thus, by using this time to practice, improve and perfect the skills for our work, we can not only overcome self-doubt but bolster our self-confidence for the future.
Thirdly, keeping a growth mind-set is key.
Although many people vouch for natural talent regarding music, spatial awareness or ability to read emotions (to name a few common examples), most of us can agree that nurture is far more influential than nature when it comes to skills.
As such, cultivating a mind-set whereby one is willing to try new things, fail and grow as a result is fundamental to pushing forwards and, in fact, has a huge impact on what you will tangibly achieve.
For example, an individual willing to graft towards a goal is much more likely to reach it than someone who gives up every time they fail.
But that brings us to our fourth point, and another of the most important ones. Keep enjoying what you are doing.
Whether you are a programmer, architect or composer, enjoyment and satisfaction are fundamental measures, especially when undertaking tasks alone.
Encouraging yourself to go out of your comfort zone and try new things is fantastic but acknowledging when those things are actually unenjoyable is fundamental for your growth.
Take as a prime example practicing a musical instrument.
As practicing is the majority of playing an instrument, enjoying it is fundamental and, if anything, helps the entire process as you will put in greater effort, experiment more and retain motivation for longer.
Thus, ensuring your pursuits still bring a certain level of enjoyment, be that from the process itself or the outcome, is essential to continue growing your skills and retaining momentum to do.
In sum, retaining a healthy positive and forward-facing attitude is paramount in instigating creation and personal betterment throughout this, and any, period.
Re-imagine the time you are spending away from friends, restaurants and commutes as time to practice your musical abilities, time to write, plan and edit film projects, time to pull together what you have to create art and time to plan for (and begin) entrepreneurial endeavors.
Ultimately, as it always has been, there is no better time than now to do—and when you start, the momentum will surely continue pushing you on to bigger, better and more exciting endeavors.
What have you been working on during this time?