Creativity And The Coronavirus Lock-Downs

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: Pixabay.com.

Creativity and the Coronavirus Lock-downs

Logic would say that lock-downs would be great for creativity. All these people that would never usually have time to follow artistic pursuits were suddenly presented with that very thing - time. And initially there did seem to be a boost in writing, in art, in music and anything else you might be able to think of. However, as the pandemic has spread and the length of the lock-downs have increased, more and more people that are usually very productive have found themselves struggling, and I am one of those.

I came across two interesting articles that go some way towards explaining what might be happening. The first is called ‘Brain Fog: How Trauma, Uncertainty and Isolation Have Affected Our Minds And Memory.’ The basic gist of this is that the human mind needs a certain amount of new sensory input and prolonged social isolation has been depriving us of this very thing.

One of the examples it gives is of someone walking into a room with a purpose in mind, only to find that, once there, they cannot recall what it was that they intended to do. Another example is struggling to find words mid sentence, be it spoken or written. I have been increasingly suffering from both of these, especially since the beginning of 2021.

Brain fog is very similar to the early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. Are the symptoms caused by ‘same, same, same’ or are they indicating the start of a progressively downward slide? The possibility leads to anxiety, which in turn makes the very causes of worry even worse.

Maybe before it was possible to head off to a doctor and discuss those worries, perhaps have your mind put at ease. Not now, though, for GP’s are only seeing patients face-to-face if it is really necessary. Phone consultations are the norm and people like me, who are made anxious by the very idea, will do anything and everything to avoid going through one of these.

If there is one thing that is the enemy of creativity, it is anxiety.

The second article, ‘Have Introverts Really Fared Better In Lock-down’, comes up with some surprises. The personality traits of extroverts and introverts are opposites, but are also on a spectrum. Other factors have to be taken into consideration.

Many extroverts were hit hard at the beginning of lock-down, suddenly finding themselves isolated from their friends, colleagues and anyone else. However, with technology, social media and the likes of Zoom, they quickly found ways to adapt and keep up some kind of contact. If they found themselves feeling down they were far more likely to reach out for support than introverts. These are the people who have thrived the most.

We cannot view introverts as just one group. Some are quite content in their own company for weeks and weeks at a time. These are the ‘happy’ introverts, whereas I am most definitely in the ‘anxious’, stressed-out group. If there is anything to worry about, either on a personal or a global scale, I’m going to be worrying about it... big time.

There has been another shift too. Due to the number of people who have suffered from coronavirus, or even worse, have lost loved ones from it, it’s not okay to be depressed without some kind of ‘valid’ reason. People are advised to avoid others who are ‘negative’ as a way of protecting their own mental health, making those of us who suffer from depression even more isolated and... depressed.

Having missed no more than a handful of days of writing for the past seven years, I came up with my own way of beating the ‘creative slump’. I would, I told myself, force myself out of it by taking on more and more projects. I would send my writing out there to publications. I would submit my digital art to places like Pixabay and Unsplash. In other words, I set myself up for an even bigger fall.

I could not keep up with the things I took on. My submissions were rejected. Even the everyday writing I had always enjoyed was soon to become a formidable task. Never having been confident at reviewing, my self-confidence hit such a low that I felt I had no right to comment on anything. I slowed down on reviewing and have now almost stopped completely. Each failure has led to less confidence, more anxiety, more depression and guilt. In other words, I did a great job of self sabotage, but not of anything else.

The lock-downs are slowly being lifted over here. People seem more relaxed as their lives begin to get back to normal, even if it is a ‘new’ normal. The thing is, my life has not changed. All through lock-down I’ve done the same as I usually do, going out twice a week for essential shopping, so can I really blame it for my creative slump? I don’t know. Only time will tell.

Writing this has left me feeling drained and exhausted; it is by far the longest piece that I have written for weeks. If I have shed a slightly reassuring light on anyone else’s difficulties, then it will have been worth the effort.

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/apr/14/brain-fog-how-trauma-uncertainty-and-isolation-have-affected-our-minds-and-memory?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB

 

https://theconversation.com/have-introverts-really-fared-better-in-lockdown-158800?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB


Submitted: April 30, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Comments

B Douglas Slack

I had no idea my problem was so widespread, Hully. I've experienced this very same slowdown and eventual work stoppage since early last year. I haven't written more than a couple thousand words on my next novel in over a year. And this depressed me even more.

It's a vicious circle--one end feeding on the other. The more I don't write, the guiltier I feel and I withdraw deeper into myself. If it hadn't been for my extensive (over 2500) DVD collection, I'd have gone completely nuts.

Bill

Fri, April 30th, 2021 6:07pm

Author
Reply

It's so true about the vicious cycle. I think we are far from being the only ones that are struggling.
Thanks so much, Bill.

Fri, April 30th, 2021 11:26am

Donald Harry Roberts

Well said Hully

Fri, April 30th, 2021 6:07pm

Author
Reply

Thanks so much for giving this a read, DH. I really do appreciate it.

Fri, April 30th, 2021 11:27am

Mike S.

An excellent essay as the what might be the cause of creativity-drain, Hull

Fri, April 30th, 2021 7:13pm

AdamCarlton

Interesting. You are not alone in getting your stuff rejected. I'm a collector of rejection letters. Chronic oversupply: everyone's a writer !

I think introverts underestimate the value of getting out and experiencing new stimuli because it's not so congenial. But nevertheless it can be critical both for mood elevation and escaping mental ruts.

Let's welcome the spring, huh? Like your poem suggests.

Fri, April 30th, 2021 8:29pm

Author
Reply

This is a perfect example of me not being able to express what I mean, Adam. Apart from the news and the face masks it has been life as usual for me. Even if I wanted to suddenly change and become 'social' I wouldn't get the opportunity.
I should have kept the essay totally focused on the articles and kept myself out of it.
Thanks for reading.

Sat, May 8th, 2021 9:10am

LE. Berry

Interesting and thought provoking piece. I wonder when this phase is over what writing will be inspired by it.

Fri, April 30th, 2021 9:25pm

Author
Reply

I hope it's not a big burst of unrealistic rainbow specs, but I fear that's the way it will go.
Thanks, LE.

Sat, May 8th, 2021 9:06am

moa rider

One thing's for sure Mama Hullabaloo, the more time you have on your hands, the more you waste it. Luckily we didn't have a very long lockdown, it was interesting to see the different coping mechanisms. We have two families in the UK and our gandkids promised to do things for us to amuse themselves. A complete flop! Daily, do 100 steps in your house or your yard, 25 forward and 25 backward and so onas you count them. Usianguke

Fri, April 30th, 2021 10:17pm

Author
Reply

As I said to Serge, I think I made a mess of saying what I wanted to say. I should have kept it from being in any way personal.
Thanks for reading.

Sat, May 8th, 2021 9:05am

Serge Wlodarski

Interacting with other people, traveling, doing new things, are good sources of creativity. The lockdown has affected all of that. Hopefully we'll get past this soon.

Sat, May 1st, 2021 5:20pm

Author
Reply

The thing is, Serge, apart from the news and face masks my life has been unchanged. It's like a kick in the teeth, and nothing is ever likely to change.
Thanks for reading this. I think I made a mess of saying what I wanted to.

Sat, May 8th, 2021 9:04am

SimonClemens

A fascinating sentiment kept re-appearing as I went through the creator section of the Social Media....always this need or belief that if we're suffering or sad enough we should be trying to convert it to art, as if our life experiences have an exchange rate where if you put one Pain&Suffering Unit into Slot A then out'll pop some Art/Produce from the bottom tray in exact change.
I hate it.

The Onion's satire headline was perfect for this: "Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive."

People need to stop putting this needless pressure on themselves and others and acting as if negativity/pain/suffering has to be a requirement or even a preference to stoking creativity.
And introverts thrive when they have the *choice* to leave situations and collect themselves; obviously the imposed exile of quarantine is NOT the same!
It is, if you will forgive my language...goddamned idiotic.
Let a person be depressed about their losses and the change to their status quo without poking them about turning it into a product someone can consume. You've lost a big chunk of your 'normal' and that's a grief of it's own sort. The uncertainty and constant deluge of bad news on a scale the human brain is simply not designed to process certainly does not help.

Sun, May 2nd, 2021 12:06pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Simon.

Sat, May 8th, 2021 9:01am

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