I think you would be a liar if you haven’t wanted to escape the real world for a bit this year. 2020 has been hard on all of us, to varying degrees, which makes creativity and art more important than ever. However, while we’ve had more time than ever to create the masterpieces the world needs, the impact of the pandemic has left us anxious, drained and without inspiration.
“I would get so much writing done if only I had the time,” I would tell myself in the past. Well, lockdown should have been the perfect opportunity for us creative types. I don’t know if you remember, but at the start of lockdown there were all these posts on Twitter and Instagram about how we all had time to follow our dreams. Write that novel. Take up calligraphy. Make that voodoo doll you’d always planned to whip up. I wonder how many people actually did any of those things? If you were one of them: congratulations. I am in awe. And I hate you with a deep envy.
Sure, I finished a book this year, but most of it was done pre-pandemic, when we were all more happy-go-lucky and able to go outside. Now, starting my third book, I’m finding it a lot more difficult to get into the swing. The artistic well has dried up. The muse is gone.
There’s a scientific reason for that, and since I’m also a science teacher, let me bore you with that for a paragraph. There’s this thing called Mawlow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is a psychological model of what humans need in their daily lives. Basically, if you don’t have the bottom of the triangle, the top has nothing to rest on. Humans need air, food, water e.t.c. but we also need to feel safe. 2020 has not felt safe. Therefore, the other tiers of the pyramid crumble. Friendship, family, and other relationships take a hit. Did you notice you fought more with people during lockdown. Then there is self-esteem, confidence, achievement. And finally, right at the top, is self-actualisation. That’s the hardest part of the triangle to get. It’s the part that holds spontaneity, morality, problem solving, and creativity. In short, being creative during a pandemic is really hard.
So should we give up? No! Like I said, art is more important now than ever. It’s also harder to make. But one of the beautiful things about humans is we keep making art, even in the most difficult times. It just takes perseverance and passion. Oh, and a little kindness.
Kindness to yourself. Because it’s really tough right now and if you’re creating anything - be it a story or a drawing or one of those voodoo dolls - you’re defying the odds. So keep going, keep plugging away. You are the inspiration we need.
Caroline Logan is the author of The Cauldron of Life, the second title in The Four Treasures series, published by Cranachan (priced £8.99)