How to Stay Creative in Quaratine
Ways to Stay Creative in Quarantine
So… you’re stuck inside, possibly trying to work from home. Ever since this crisis began its been a hard time for us creatives. But just because this is a world changing event that will probably be the single biggest event of our lifetimes, doesn’t mean we can’t use this time at home in lockdown, quarantine, self-isolation, whatever you want to call it – to be creative.
The problem is that being creative in a time like this can be extremely difficult. Most creative people rely on a certain level of decent mental health, a lot of us often channel our emotional state into our creative output and when that state is in a negative one, it can be hard to have the energy let alone the actual creative drive to write, shoot or develop any idea. For me at least I personally feel the myth of the “tortured artist” is a very damaging one that develops the idea that we as creatives need to be in some form of depression in order to be creative when it’s actuall
y quite the opposite. But that is a discussion for another time – today I’m going to talk about our current situation.
We’re stuck inside in quarantine and it’s driving us all slowly insane. But there is a solution, getting creative can help our mental state by helping us break out of what psychologists and cognitive therapists call “negative behaviours”, behaviours that circle us back into a depressive state and enhance other parts of the depressive cycle creating a dangerous feedback loop. Being creative allows us to feel a sense of accomplishment in our creations and ideas, which can break our negative patterns by learning what inspires us and makes us feel better.
Then how can you be creative while self-isolating or stuck in quarantine. It’s a lot easier than ever before in the modern era with a hundred things at your fingertips, but some of these ideas don’t even require that. And each of these will come with actionable steps to take to directly boost your creative workflow while stuck in quarantine. Let’s begin!
We have in our hands, the sum collective knowledge of the entirety of human history and now more than ever it’s easy to find something to inspire your creativity. Creativity doesn’t come out of no-where we are inspired by the things we watch, listen to, read – every person who ever wrote a novel or screenplay was inspired by those that came before them. Every photographer, cinematographer or filmmaker was inspired by the artists that came before them.
Find your platform of choice where creatives thrive. My suggestions include platforms such as Skillshare or for completely free, YouTube. As a search-based video platform it is an excellent resource for finding over a decade and a half’s worth of creations by other people. Find several creatives who came before you and learn from them, study what they’ve done, how they inspire you and take that inspiration to the page with you. Every creative will take what they’ve learned and put their spin on it, which is why even direct tutorials can help break the mould, because in the end you’ll find a way to make it your own iteration. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen or heard it before, it doesn’t have to be new to inspire. So, watch that movie or tv show or YouTube video, listen to that song, watch the Dancer on TikTok and find a way to be inspired by the creatives that came before you.
Famed writer Victor Hugo once said; “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” And take it from the guy whose novel about a French revolution went on to become one of the most popular musicals of all time, nearly a hundred years after he died. Music can inspire. As a writer I personally have created playlists that inspire me as have plenty of other writers, such as Brandon Sanderson. Personally, I find music that doesn’t have lyrics to it usually more inspiring. If music can generate an emotional connection to that creative part of your brain, then it can inspire you. It can also be a comfort to you, to take your mind away to another place, away from the current situation we’re in, without ever having to leave your home.
Open Spotify, Amazon Music, or again YouTube, and find yourself some music that will take you away. Listen to a few songs and create a playlist out of it all. And save that for future use, also in the description below I have a bunch of playlists I’ve created that inspire me as well as links to those from other creatives. Close your eyes and let the music wash over you, then channel the emotions it creates in you, to create something. Let it create pictures and stories in your mind and let the music to take your mood in the direction you need it to go to be creative. Put pen to paper and let the music inspire and guide you in the background.
Speaking of pen to paper, you’d be surprised that no matter how much artistic talent and experience you have, doodling can be a great way to just let your mind flow out and break those blocks. I’m not saying you must become a professional illustrator here, I’m saying doodle, for fun – anything, it doesn’t matter.
Grab a pencil and some paper and start drawing whatever your mind is telling you to do, don’t think just do it. Draw your favourite characters, doodle a superman symbol, maybe even try one of those TikTok art challenges. If you do decide to learn how to art, and I might do this because frankly my storyboarding skills need work, there are plenty of online resources from YouTube to Skillshare that can help you learn how to hone that craft. But just try doodling anything from a map of your world you’re creating to a random doodle of ducks – I don’t know what’s in your beautiful brains.
Take a Break
Alright people, I’ll be honest. I am terrible at this one. But sometimes the best way to stay creative is to stop trying to force it. One of the best ways to do this is to get out of your brain. We are allowed to go for a walk, or a jog, take the precautions we have to and stay six feet or two meters apart from people.
Go for a run, or a walk, get outdoors and let your brain turn off it’s forced creativity and rejuvenate itself. Your brain needs rest too. You can combine this with music if you want. But if you don’t want to risk it, if you want to stay in there is another way to take a break and rejuvenate the brain. It’s not alcohol, trust me - that does the opposite, it’s the baby out with the bathwater of a creative mind, kills the bad stuff and the good stuff. Like using a nuke to mow your lawn.