Creativity in isolation


Art doesn’t stop

I have the attention span of a peanut. In fact, sitting down to start this article, I already know that it’s going to take me a hot minute to actually get it written. That’s because, in isolation and stuck at home, I’m about as productive as a peanut, too.

I focus best in every aspect of my life when I’m in a certain location. I study best on campus, I sleep best in my bedroom, and I work best, well, at work. So, now being required to do all of that from my home, I’m really feeling the artistic (and academic) struggle.

But for now I want to talk about art. Let’s try and have a little fun with this article, right?

Isolation is both a blessing and a curse for an artist, regardless of genre or kind. On one hand, if you’re like me, you have all the time in the world to actually create something. But, if you’re also like me, that isn’t going to happen. Because in isolation, inspiration and motivation is non-existent.

If I want a change of scenery to spice up my novel, I go from my bedroom to the living room. If I’m feeling real wild, I can even head down to the basement (I know, how scandalous). But, unlike what I would normally do if I’m not feeling inspired, I can’t really go anywhere to change that.

I can’t sit down at a coffee shop for a change of pace. I can’t sit on campus and feel a sense of urgency to write given the nature of those around me. I can’t go on a long walk with a friend or rattle off ideas with someone over drinks about where “I think my ok might be going.”

I didn’t actually realize until I began isolation just how much my creative process relies on the presence of other people. Can I still create alone? Yes (you are reading this article after all) but it doesn’t pack the same punch that other pieces of my work have.

Maybe it’s because when you’re forced to only look at your creations where you can’t see anything else, you become overly critical of them. Maybe then you feel less motivated to keep creating because, seeing as you’re only stuck with your creations, it seems like everything is diluted of value. To put it scientifically, you think everything you make sucks.

But, one of the best things about art is the ability to take whatever it is that you are feeling in that moment and turning it into something beautiful. So, maybe while you’re feeling unmotivated and uninspired, create something about that. Create something about being stuck in your home, hell, even make a collection about it. A series of paintings, or short stories, or poems, or sketches, or journal entries.

Maybe we all just need to take this moment of isolation and use it, ironically, to create art about isolation. Art is how we maneuver the world. Now, it just needs to be the way we maneuver our homes too.

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