I’ve been making a series of short videos geared to my creativity coaching work. One of them was to be around the topic, “when projects shift, morph, and change.”
It’s gotten very meta around here.
While drafting the script for this video, my writing started to, uh, shift, morph, and change.
I came up with scenarios that face creative people. But these scenarios were all set in the Before Times. After writing several of these, I had a d’oh moment. I noticed that everybody is now faced with exactly this challenge. Why? One word. Pandemic.
From February of 2020 on, it sank in gradually how massive the changes were going to be, and for how indefinitely long they were going to last.
I, for one, was not happy about moving my office home to my apartment on 12 March. I liked my office. I loved the meetings I’d had there for years, all the a-ha moments shared with clients, all the fruitful collaborations with colleagues and friends.
Seven months in, however, I had given up my office lease. New tenants arrived, satisfying my landlord, and letting me off the hook.
Adapting to these changes is taking the time required. We’re all at various stages of denial, frustration, resignation, bargaining, and so on. (Watch out, Kübler-Ross.)
Everyone I know has become a marvel of resilience, sometimes in multiple ways. In the past eleven months since the mid-March 2020 stoppages, who among us has not changed their life drastically? Whose work has not been altered or eliminated and re-shaped? Whose family life operates in the same way? Whose typical week looks the same?
For writers, the forced isolation has sometimes been welcome. (See introvert stereotype, etc.) However, even for people who are comfortable spending most of their time alone, the reduced social contact of the past eleven months has also challenged people’s confidence, which can lead to a loss of creative momentum.
For those directly harmed by the pandemic, through loss of employment, compromised health, and even loss of life, the idea of having projects shift, morph, and change does not bear considering. More vital questions demand full attention.
For the rest of us who are able to continue to tolerate the danger and uncertainty, hoping that things will get better eventually, we draw on inner resources and sustain ourselves. In my circle, those tactics include cultivating old friendships, and availing ourselves of distanced culture, video calls, home cooking, nature walks, favorite books, contact-free library pick-ups and drop-offs, puzzles, knitting, closet reorganization projects, gardening, time with companion animals, and, of course, bread baking.
So, as everything remains in flux, and as the US examines itself – or insists on not looking – and as the world struggles with this massive public health crisis, we continue to muddle through.
What changes that you’re making will remain permanent in your life when we’re free to go about again and travel, meet, etc.? Do you feel you’re making progress in new directions, or are you just responding to the external pressures and changing as needed? What will the pandemic have taught you, when you look back on this time? What will have changed for you?
— A M Carley writes fiction and nonfiction, and is a founding member of BACCA. Her company, Chenille Books, provides creative coaching and full-service editing to authors and other creative people. Decks of 52 FLOAT Cards for Writers are available from Baine’s Books in Scottsville and Appomattox, VA, at the Chenille Books website, and on Amazon. Anne’s writer handbook, FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers, is available for purchase at Central Virginia booksellers and on Amazon. A new workbook, The Becoming Unstuck Journal is forthcoming.