In August last year, I made a spreadsheet and it produced the graph you see before you. I was trying to express in some kind of numerical way how my creativity had slumped during the long months of Spring 2020. I don’t remember the logic I used to arrive at the numbers or even what I was trying to say through this graph. One thing is for sure though – August 2020 Kate had nothing to complain about. Sure, I was tired and the kids had been off school for ages but the infection rates were super low and the option of a couple of days at the seaside or a trip to Legoland were within our grasp.
January 2021 Kate has plenty to complain about…and among those complaints would be a continued downward curve on that creativity graph. Like many people, I had a spurt of creative energy in March 2020 – moving choir and worship online required a bit of creative thinking and that in turn inspired other projects. In Lockdown#1, I was posting a parody song on YouTube every week right up to the 100 day point, when I filmed an epic song and dance routine and then got thrown off course when someone said something mean about it on social media.
Whether that was the trigger for the creative plunge in June, I’m not quite sure. But lockdown lethargy set in and, over the summer, my creative brain shut up shop. I’m not convinced it’s ever woken up again. Lockdown#3 certainly hasn’t seen us recreating entire Perform shows in our lounge or throwing elaborate Dr Who parties for the four of us. There’s been a lot of TV watching, eating and bickering. The kids and I baked this afternoon but that’s the first mildly wholesome thing we’ve done in weeks.
So, what to do about this creative slump? I’ve cut down on my committments this terms and reminded a few people of my limitations, exacerbated by the current lack of mental energy. If you’re feeling similar, I’d recommend doing the same – hunkering down and managing your own expectations of what you can achieve in times like this. Spring is coming and the sunshine may well help us all to find a little bit of inspiration again after such a long and dreary winter. Although vaccinations are being rolled out, this is still a long haul and we need to pace ourselves. We can’t keep up a constant flow of Insta-friendly family pictures for a year without the normal mood boosters of company and activity. If your surroundings aren’t inspiring you, it’s OK to not be inspired for a while.
Or you can be like Nathan and master a whole new hobby this month, leading to an outstandingly prolific level of output. But let’s not compare…