I think this pandemic has really (and is continuing to) hit us all in very different ways, but I’ve found it’s actually drastically influencing my creativity.
So how can I be creative during a pandemic? I don’t know about you guys, but I find it very hard to be creative when my livelihood is at risk. While I perceived the first few weeks of this pandemic back in March as quite liberating, the months since have slowly but surely become less so, if anything they have become more and more constricting, as my savings slowly drained away.
Some people thrive under this sort of pressure. Some people blossom and bloom and create the most astounding feats in this time. I am in awe of those people. Some of my colleagues have written some insanely beautiful songs, EPs and even full albums in this time. In some ways, it had made me feel inadequate and most of all, I have questioned why I was not able to do the same.
I have not been inactive. I have been caught up in the mundane struggles of creating a living for myself, filing taxes and applying for grants. And it started pulling the colour from my life.
I know I might be sounding quite melodramatic, but this last month I have really felt as if someone had rattled my very foundations. The rug has not quite been swept out from underneath me, but it’s not from a lack of trying.
It somehow didn’t feel quite real before. It didn’t feel touchable, it didn’t feel like it could hurt me. And mostly, it didn’t feel like it would last very long. I don’t know if that was just naivité, but I thought to myself ‘Well, these next three months are going to suck, but everything will go back to normal after that.’. But as time progressed and things did not turn back to normal, people started saying things might never turn back to normal.
People might never be able to go to concerts like they used to. I might never be able to perform in front of big crowds like I would love to. And that might not be true. Things might well go back to normal, or as close to that as possible. But it is the possibility of these things never happening again that just shook me so deeply. It disturbed me on a level that took me many weeks to realise what had actually happened.
It shook me so hard, that I wrote a song. For the first time in months I was able to write a song. And it wasn’t me going to the park to sit and write, carving out time for songwriting or working with someone else that made this happen. It was the pure desperation that I felt that not only made me able to put that to paper, but actually forced me to put it into a song.
And I realised once again, that I am a very emotional songwriter. I write mainly about things that are very close to my heart, things that people around me have gone through, or things that I myself have gone through. And I don’t think that’s wrong or that other artists don’t do that.
I have realised I need to feel safe to write a song. Because that song I started out of desperation, I couldn’t finish it until just this week I was put into self-isolation because of some Covid-19 cases in my dance school. It’s a precaution so don’t start worrying about me, I’m fine. But this isolation was like the first few weeks of quarantine. That feeling of ‘I don’t have any obligations, I don’t need to worry about anything because it’s out of my hands anyway’ came back in an instant and I managed to finish the song I had been stuck on for weeks.
It’s interesting how many psychological aspects influence our creativity. And me living alone, creating on my own, being reliant on only myself, this whole pandemic has just put me through a rollercoaster of awareness. Because I have become more aware. I now know myself better than I did before and I know how to work with myself better than I did before.
And that, I feel, is the key to being able to be creative in any situation. It’s to know how you work, to give yourself time to figure that out and not to force yourself if it feels like that is going completely against your grain. Give yourself permission to fail, to feel badly, to secure your base income first. Give yourself permission instead of castigating yourself for all your perceived incompetences.
These past few months I had nearly forgotten why I started on this journey in the first place. Not being able to do live events, not being able to get that feedback from the crowd, it really does something to performers. So I decided to do the next best (and long overdue) thing.
I am recording an EP. And I am aiming to get it out before Christmas.
Sending Love xx