These last few weeks have been, in a word: surreal.
As full-time creatives, we are pretty much used to flying by the seat of our proverbial pants on the daily, however nothing could have prepared us for the current Corona pandemic and its implications on the creative community. I, like you scrolled stupefied down my social media feeds as I saw my friends’ premiers, concerts, tours, cruises and works of heart being rescheduled and, in so many cases, postponed indefinitely.
It was creative carnage out there.
As we stand in the rubble of our well-laid artistic plans knowing that the Corona situation may be far from over, many creatives, live performers, and artists of every genre are asking themselves how to exhibit resilience and, even more than that, how to continue to thrive in the creative space during such uncertain times.
Is it even possible to create art in the midst of a situation so devastating?
I happen to think that those of us who are blessed with our health in times like these have all we need to continue to thrive creatively. Even in the face of canceled contracts and delayed dream jobs — let’s be real — making something out of nothing IS our area of genius.
Here are five things that will help you make some magic and thrive creatively and the time of Corona:
1. Assume Creative Control
As we watched Broadway, as well as our beloved community theatres, major theme parks, High School productions, opera houses, and ballet companies the world over close their doors, one thing that became very clear to us as artists is what we do and do not own. The projects that many of us were slated to design and perform in were beautiful, but they were not ours.
So, as they disintegrated one by one without warning, many us were left feeling shocked and helpless. In the days and weeks ahead, consider using what would’ve been your rehearsal hours, at least partially, as brainstorming hours to list the ideas of creative projects that would belong to you and you alone.
Projects that you put you in creative control of when/if they shut down or take a break. This may look like a new online endeavor, a series, a product invention or simply a project that you plan to produce yourself. What is it that lights you on fire creatively that you also own completely? Now is the time to find that thing.
2. Slay Your Fears
As you brainstorm the new idea that is yours and yours alone, you will inevitably come across your own limiting beliefs. These nagging thoughts are the ones peeking around corners reminding me you why you are dependent on already existing systems and helpless in this current Corona crisis.
This. Is. GREAT!
Why? Because only when the limiting beliefs (i.e. lies) pop up can you get to the righteous business of vanquishing them. Take vigorous notes of the uncertainties that pop up as you brainstorm your new and inspired ideas. Taking a moment (or many moments) to analyze these fears often reveals the complete opposite of them is the actual truth.
3. Go The (Social) Distance
Ever notice on social media that a lot of the same thing is being said and done in the same way? So often the blessing of modern connection leads us accidentally into a cycle where everything we see feels slightly derivative. However if we take this time to unplug both online and in person, we increase the opportunities to hear our own voice more clearly.
Inspiration is a beautiful thing, but there is something truly magical when you get quiet and create out of your own unfiltered personal voice. Take time in this period of forced social distancing to step away from the noise and the news and to record what your authentic artistic voice is urging you to create.
4. Take Immediate Action
This is the moment to seize hold of our one nonrenewable resource: time. We as artists often feel pulled in so many directions that our projects and ideas don’t get off the ground. And who do we blame? The elusive clock.
I hereby give you permission to take the time right now to make your art. Send that email. Reach out to that contact. Write the proposal. None of us has any way of knowing how long the Corona shutdown will last, so why not make a move right now?
You might also find that this is the best time to collaborate. Reach out to your dream collaborator. It’s likely that those who had very little availability to in the past are currently re-prioritizing and are open to new and innovative projects.
5. Go Pro(lific)
Mozart is credited with over 600 works, J.S. Bach composed with over 1000 with another 300 unfinished works to his name. These big boys of yesteryear have seriously thrown down the gauntlet when it comes to being prolific.
But what is the secret? It’s simpler than we think.
A huge part of being put prolific is just going for it. If there is a play brewing within you, for example, take this unprecedented time to write and keep writing. Starve the self-critic by writing with the goal of putting it on paper, rather than creating a perfect piece of art.
I think that the aforementioned composers were bonafide geniuses. But we would be remiss if we assumed that that kind of genius doesn’t exist today. And it is in no way arrogant to believe that that kind of genius exists inside of you. Just. Keep. Creating.
Now is the Time...
Creatives, we are superheroes. If anybody knows how to thrive in times of crisis it is undoubtedly us. As you take care of yourself and those you love in this unprecedented time don’t forget that the best answer to destruction is and has always been creation.
Drop me a comment and let me know which one of these five steps spoke to you the most and how you will be putting it into gear NOW to transform this moment of crisis into your most creative time yet!