I’m a little jealous of people who can write full time or pursue their creative passions without the burden of a job. Especially in the last decade, when I decided I wanted to make a living as a writer. Almost all of my favourite creative people seem to make enough from their creativity to live on. I watch them in awe and dream of the day where I can quit my day job.
Since that day is far away, I work hard to maintain my creative momentum even on days where I’m exhausted from working. In the meantime, I look at my favourite creators for inspiration and motivation. I’ve established some avenues for my own creativity online and in my life; my blog, Medium, Instagram, painting, writing, baking, etc. And I’m proud of where I’ve gotten to, especially in the last couple of months when I’ve been struggling with some depressive episodes.
And then The Virus struck. We all know the one. Suddenly, my country started going on a soft lockdown. Schools closed; inessential businesses /stores closed; restaurants shifted to delivery/take-out only. My job and home situation have left me with minimal hours of work, which is a strange feeling.
But, weirdly enough, in a twisted morbid sort of way, this is a blessing in disguise.
Without (most of) the pressure of a day job, I have more time to create all the things! And I’m not going to feel guilty about it because I’m doing my job of staying away from other people — thus preventing spread of the disease.
I have grand plans to make more bread — after the decent success of my first loaf — and muffins, scones, and cupcakes! There are paintings to paint for an exciting new project. I have a new novel in the process of being drafted. And, of course, there are always Medium and my blog.
For the first time since I decided I want to live a creative life, I actually have all the time to do what I want.
If I can get into a routine of creating and self-care, I might make it through this stressful period without too much damage to my psyche. Luckily enough, I have enough ideas of things I want to write, paint, and bake, which should keep me going for as long as the world needs to get through this crisis.
This is an incredibly stressful and uncertain time, but finding the silver linings and little joys in this new reality are important for surviving and thriving. Whether that’s just giving yourself time to decompress, or if it’s using this time to do as much creativity as possible. Attend to what you need, leave what you don’t.
Last week was difficult. I was dealing with underlying stress, which had snuck up on me, and wasn’t writing or painting as much as I’d planned or wanted to. Unsurprisingly, I ended up in a bit of a downward spiral of bad feelings. But going into this week, I’m more balanced and ready to use my time for self-care and creative projects.
Of course, the life I dream of living – the one fill of creativity and freedom – doesn’t really fit in a time of worldly crisis. But maybe it can slip in place of a more stressful reality and provide a little bit of comfort and distraction from what’s going on outside my window, my town, my city, my country.
It’s these little distractions that will make staying home and social-distancing more bearable. The loaf of bread in the oven; the canvas waiting to be a painting; the first sentences of a new story.
While I’m not in the cute woodland cottage by the sea that I dream of, I can at least take advantage of this weird time and live my “best” creative life.