I know, I know, I’m tired of seeing the word ‘pandemic’ too.
But here we are, still in the midst of a pandemic, and we’re all managing to potter on in our own ways. And I’m really grateful to be able to potter with you. It’s been a rocky year on this blog and in my personal life, and I haven’t really shown up consistently or in the best ways that I could. Yet I’ve shared some posts that I’m easily the proudest of and posts that could’ve been torn right out of my bullet journal. Amidst uncertainty, doom and gloom, I’ve sought – and found – solace in emotion and leaning into all of the messiness of being ‘in my feels’.
Working as a professional writer and ‘creative’ during the pandemic has been a tricky experience, too. Of course forced creativity between the hours of 9am and 5pm is rarely conducive to a creative’s best work, but throw in a raging pandemic and you have a real corker to reckon with. Multiple meltdowns, 1-1’s with my manager, therapy sessions and Really Bad Work later, I think I’ve learned a thing or two about topping up the creative juices in difficult times. And I thought I’d share a few with you…
There’s nothing more daunting than a blank page. I spent the best part of my Thursday last week staring at one, for goodness’ sake. But the best way to coax out your creativity is to just start. Write a short sentence. Add another. Manipulate it into a paragraph. Then, take a 20-minute tea break and come back to it. Tear it apart or, better yet, unpick the paragraph line by line, word by word. Refresh and rejuvenate each part until it’s a touch better than before. I promise you, the words will keep coming.
Use your feelings
As a copywriter, I write a lot of brand speak and marketing copy. It isn’t always full of heart or wonderful witticisms or the weird and the wonderful that I brain-dump on here. When it felt awkward to continue, business as usual, I offered up some ideas at work to speak more colloquially and lean into these times.
People don’t want to be fed a whole spiel to buy something, they want to feel something. These 12+ months or so have taught me so much in becoming the customer to serve the customer. Words, and art, can be a welcoming pair of arms to embrace or lift you. Chances are if you feel a little downtrodden, so do ‘they’. These days I write Daisybutter just like I did in the older days – straight from the heart, forming human connections. This is a real life, lived by a real person.
Take time off and away
Hands up if you’re guilty of previously saving annual leave for holidays and ‘proper’ occasions? Me too.
If this pandemic has left me with anything – aside from a really low-capacity social battery – it’s that rest is required not earned. Once you’re starting to let the ball drop at work, that’s a sign you’re already burned out. It’s not the starting fizzle, it IS burnout. So take that as your sign to book a solid week off and reset yourself a little. Do anything but the usual routine, even if that’s giving your home a deep clean. Then, moving forwards, try and recognise when you personally start to feel burned out and book days off in advance.
Have you got any tried-and-tested tips for topping up your creativity levels in tough times? Share them with the rest of the Daisybutter community below.