Writer’s block is no laughing matter; it’ll leave you feeling deflated and unimaginative. I’ve taken an unintentional media hiatus for a few weeks and this is why: having spent the last three weeks applying and interviewing for jobs, I’m subsequently struggling to find any inspiration for things to write about.
While it’s a rare occurrence for me to not have an opinion on anything noteworthy, it does happen (shock). I feel like I have so much time and energy right now, yet I can’t bring myself to write about anything right now.
There are a number of reasons anyone might experience some kind of temporary creative flatline. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that creatives might be struggling to find inspiration during lockdown. While we have virtual access to the world at our fingertips, nothing quite beats writer’s block like leaving the house and doing something new.
I am feeling relatively uninventive, something which is exacerbated by the fact I’m applying and interviewing for jobs I rarely hear back from. This is annoying, but nothing out of the ordinary; it isn’t causing my lack of creativity but it’s probably not helping. What is more defeating, for me, is not only the current situation, but our government’s response to it.
The world is moving in the same circles right now, and we are moving in circles with it. Those of us on furlough probably have very similar routines; eat, sleep, exercise, repeat. Those of us working from home, too; eat, sleep, work, repeat. The variables are limited. Boris Johnson has (in my opinion) prematurely offered us conditional freedom and trusted us to “stay alert” (whatever that means) during our daily activities. Our government has made a shambles of dealing with the virus.
A couple of months ago I posted about how altruism and community spirit will get us through the virus. I still believe this. But I equally believe that these qualities and characteristics – alongside the will of essential workers – are amongst the only things holding our country together under a government that is so badly failing. We clap for an establishment that the government has notoriously underfunded and whose employees are usually unappreciated and constantly overworked (this is a matter to discuss another day). It’s okay to feel annoyed – uninspired, even – by this.
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My annoyance with the lacklustre leader from whom we’re accepting flimsy and confusing guidelines is something I’ll have to revisit another time. For now, I’m working on my ability to get back into a creative mindset to distract myself.
It’s okay to not feel like you have anything to offer sometimes. Being artistic always comes with a lot of pressure to constantly be creating new things – that’s hard! No matter how much I love writing, there will always come a time when I have little to write about.
I should also say that, in the grand scheme of things, writer’s block is the least of anyone’s problems right now. However, if you’re fortunate enough, as I am, to deem it an issue at present then there are some suggestions here for things that I usually do when I feel creatively challenged.
What interests you, really? I write about things I think people will enjoy reading and find useful, but an important part of reconnecting to your creativity is to go back to basics. I love brainstorming, it’s a method that helps me map projects and content planning in general.
Mapping out your current knowledge is a great way to identify holes in your understanding of a topic. This will hopefully lead to you doing some research, and before you know it, you’re thinking about a whole different kettle of fish.
Get out (where you can)
We’re now allowed to spend as many hours outside as we like – make the most of this. If you can find a socially distanced spot in a park, people-watching is great for inspiration.
Even take a walk around your local area and see what’s going on. Granted, it might feel fairly futile now, but you’ll be surprised what you come across. I often ask my friends and family to give me ideas about what to write, and they always offer some topics that get my mind racing. Sometimes, I genuinely think too much about a topic that I start to feel nauseous and don’t even know where to start writing, but speaking to people around you about their opinions is helpful.
Switch on; switch off
Depending on your situation, you’re either online 24/7 or hardly at all. Those of us who are furloughed probably don’t even want to check our screen time for the last two months.
Doing something different is good to get the creativity flowing again. Putting down the phone and reading a book or drawing or painting… whatever you choose, can often help you think outside of the unimaginative little bubble you’ve inadvertently found yourself in.
Perhaps you don’t even have to switch off your phone, maybe just switch up the apps. Vocal is a website creators are flocking to right now for inspiration from likeminded individuals (you can also get paid for uploading your work there). Basking in the creativity of others is a seriously handy thing to do anyway, experiencing other people’s work is important to better understand your own.
I can’t actually even remember the last time I turned my phone off on purpose, anyone else?