6 Ways to restore creative energy

by Jun 14, 2020

During COVID-19 physical isolation, many people are feeling pressure to organize, learn, create- generally be more productive. The reality is that many of us find ourselves with more time on our hands while others are doing much more and facing more time pressures. Some are home with young children demanding attention or rebellious adolescents looking for a distraction.

Those of us working from home might have additional demands or be juggling different schedules. Those deemed ‘essential’ have had additional stress about exposure to the virus. Others have lost work or jobs and worry about money.

Through all this, there are pressures from ourselves and others to make something of the time. Our social media feeds are flooded with people baking, learning and instrument, taking up a new hobby. We are told that Shakespeare wrote King Lear or some other great work while quarantined during the plaque. If you are tired of that pressure, you might enjoy this New Yorker Article What Shakespeare Actually Did During the Plague for a different perspective on how Shakespeare might REALLY have spent his time.

Restoring creative energy

As cities and businesses move towards reopening and returning to ‘new normal’ we are also recognizing that it will be sometime before things return to old ways of doing things. Indeed, there are things we might want to learn and take forward into a changing world.

If you are looking to revitalize your creativity, these tips might help.

Start Small

Set a timer for 15-30 minutes. Commit to creating for just that much time. Write, dance, sing, stitch, design, draw, carve – or whatever your preferred outlet. Don’t stop before your timer. If you are energized and want to keep going, that is great but there is no pressure to continue, which can be freeing. Start small – but start.

Establish routine

Create at the same time every day. You don’t have to do the same thing every time if you balk at routine – mix up what you do but determine to be consistent about when. This can be especially empowering at a time when so much is out of our control.

Find inspiration from nature

Get out in the fresh air. Visit parks, trails or beaches if it is an option for you. Step out in your yard or balcony. Sit by an open window if you have to stay at home. Appreciate the sounds and colours of the outdoors, the comfort of seeing sunsets and sunrises, the entertainment of wildlife or domestic animals. Browse nature illustrations in books or magazines. And if you absolutely can’t get outdoors, take a virtual tour through a wildlife cam like those at Explore.org LiveCams including the AfricanWatering Hole Animal Camera. Nature has restorative powers for mind, spirit AND creative inspiration.

Join a challenge

If you are struggling about where to start, take away the pressure to come up with an idea. Join a group or challenge and get daily or weekly prompts as a jumping point. Whatever your interests or ambitions, there is probably something that is just what you want. Writers might like the Isolation Journal Project by Suleika Jaouad; Visual artists can find inspiration with daily prompts at Doodlewash. Readers can find recommended books at Booklist Queen’s 2020 Reading Challenge. Whatever your interests, you can find someone other creatives, consumers, collectors with similar pursuits.

Be accountable

Get and offer support.
You can share in online groups or your social media, or with a local group of friends. Set goals and exchange ideas. Set what you what to achieve for each day or week or month or … whatever time you want to set. Then check-in, compare notes, reassess, and plan for the next time.

Create without pressure

Make something creative that doesn’t require focused creativity. Don’t worry about advancing a major project but sit down and play. Doodle. Paint colour palettes. Write simple descriptions of your environment – what do you hear, see, smell, taste. Write a poem or a song about something on your desk or outside your window. Be silly. Stitch a row of flowers.

Not feeling creative? Do something that lets you create without thought. I like to use fabric scraps to make scrappy blocks that will eventually go together in a charity quilt. No planning or big time commitment required.

What steps help you restore creative energy?

What do you create when you are not feeling creative?

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


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