Can you really be creative in quarantine?

Before we get started with super fun tips to keep you creative during these strange times of quarantine… 

A quick word about the reality of self-isolation  

Staying at home in self-isolation to combat the spread of the covid-19 helps protect our communities and our brave health care providers. But self-isolation is not easy on mind or body. Sure, some people have a lot more time to pursue quirky hobbies or learn something new, but, the reality for each and every person isn’t as romantic as often portrayed in healthy-lifestyle blogs or motivational posts. 

It’s not easy. It just isn’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your creative voice, simply to add joy to your days and self-expression to your new stay-at-home routine. 

Whether you’ve got kids or your job just got more intense, these tips are meant to be adjusted for your lifestyle in quarantine and take as little as 10 minutes! 

Let’s have some fun. Although these tips are based in writing, you can adapt them into any art form including painting, drawing, music and filmmaking.

1. You need only 10 minutes for your creativity

I truly believe this. Do you want to read more? Schedule 10 minutes of reading time per day. Want to draw? Same. Feel like knitting? 10 minutes. Don’t try to do more than 10 minutes, but if you end up continuing, so be it. After all, it’s food for your soul and 10 minutes is plenty. 

2. Set the clock 

Speaking of timing, the clock helps gives a clear perimeter around any task. To tell yourself that “I will write today” or “I will draw today” is just too broad and intimidating. Simply put, it feels like such a daunting task that your brain will inevitably psyche itself out. Instead, set your clock timer for 10 minutes, put your phone on airplane mode, and give yourself a writing prompt to get you started. The prompt could be as simple as “What have I always wanted to write about?” and then write for 10 minutes about whatever comes to your mind. No matter what the outcome, it’s fun… and fun is always worth it. 

3. Take a lot of breaks

Each time you do a 10 minute creative activity, open up your internet and do what you do on the world wide web. If you’re feeling productive, make your breaks short. If you’re having a particularly bad day, then use the clock to give yourself even more break time. For instance, finish your 10 minutes and set the clock for a 20 minute break and repeat. I’ve done upwards of 45 minute breaks on particularly bad days of writer’s block.  Check out more ways to make breaks work for you in 5 ways to procrastinate with purpose.

4. Talk to yourself 

If you have nothing to write (or draw or paint), simply talk to yourself on paper about it. This is like brainstorming with someone else, except that person is you and you’re writing to yourself on paper. It helps. 

5. Set the mood

Creative writing and art is like a relationship with yourself: make it special. Maybe brew yourself a cup of coffee, get your writing area spruced up or simply read your work for fun. Do this as part of your 10 minutes if you need to, but let it be a warm up for what’s to come. 

6. Plan specific tasks for creative projects already in the works 

This one is for those of you who already have a project that you’d like to continue to work on and finish. Kind of like tip #2, you want to give yourself specific tasks for the day that are reasonable within your lifestyle. If you’re already working on a project, make a specific to-do list for that day based on your timing. Here are some of my to-do list items: 

  1. Reread X for tone (15 minutes)
  2. consider revising for a different setting (15 minutes)
  3. Brainstorm character of Y (10 minutes) 

And check them off… ‘cause it feels good. 

Good luck. Click here to request information on all our online coaching sessions and workshops. Follow us on instagram and facebook for Saturday morning live lectures on creativity.