It happens pretty regularly for me, and I usually feel the need to apologize, but I haven’t been creating content like I intend to. Pretty much every November I take a break until January from blogging, podcasting, and anything else which takes my brain space from working on my novel. This doesn’t even account for all the time I lose due to just the fact that I teach and that takes a heavy toll (on top of depression and seasonal affective disorder). This year, like for so many people, has been especially hard.
So how do we write or create during this kind of time?
1. Start Again
First and foremost, give yourself permission and space to start all over. If you’re anything like me, you have an ambitious schedule which you’re always trying to keep up with.
As a teacher, my only time to keep up with and possibly work past my schedule is during breaks—especially summer. But a summer burst of creativity doesn’t get me too far; I think the best I got was through October for all of my works.
But for I go any further in the process, I have to stop with the guilt for all the deadlines I’ve missed and start over. And I don’t pick the deadline that is tomorrow (sorry if you listen to either of the podcasts I’m on, but those won’t be up). Pick the next objectively reachable deadline for your easiest and most important project.
2. Find/Make a Workspace
Once you decide to work and what you’re going to work on, you need a place to work. While co-working spaces are becoming popular, I have two favorites for myself: my office and my local coffee shop.
This season within Covid changed a fundamental part of my home for a little while: my grandmother moved in with me. Working at home on anything creative became almost impossible. Recording something was an exercise in frustration.
So, while I love my office, these past months have left it abandoned. My best (and only) creative work has been done at a coffee shop. (Socially distanced in a corner with one of the bigger tables for myself and my mask on when I wasn’t drinking coffee.)
Has the place you’ve been trying to work allowed you to create lately? If not, where else could you go work?
3. Work on Something Important to You and Which Comes Naturally
For me, most important is usually my novel or my Dungeons and Dragons work. My novel is very important to me and my DnD supplements are more or less part of what I’m always working at to give my players and myself a fun game every week.
Easiest, for me, involves anything which isn’t recorded media. I hate recording my voice and my face. No vlogging for me (probably ever). Podcasting, for this, is out. But out of the things I like to think I do well and the things which matter most to me, blogging is probably the first you’ll see from me after an accidental hiatus.
Think about what you do which is most important and comes easy to you. When you get this next goal, you’ll feel great because you did something which probably comes naturally and which matters a lot to you. Start there.
Go and Create!
Best of luck in telling your story however you tell your story! The plan is that I should be able to keep up better now than I have been. (Spring does wonders for a depression brain.)