Struggling to create? You’re not alone

We’re approaching the first anniversary of the start of this seemingly endless pandemic. And while I know some people have been super productive during the months of enforced isolation, the rest of us have been struggling a bit.

We’re living through a global crisis, and the constant, pervasive background worry takes its toll. Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can lead to exhaustion, irritability, anxiety, depression, and trouble concentrating. And then, you have all the other stresses of pandemic life. Some people are isolated and lonely; others are cooped-up together and struggling to get time to themselves. The way we work has been turned upside-down, and the nightly news has given us a white-knuckle political ride.

Small wonder we’re finding it hard to concentrate. A lot of my friends complain of “brain fog.” It’s almost as if we can’t think clearly right now, and we’re tired all the time. It’s difficult to summon the energy to write a shopping list, let alone a ninety thousand word blockbuster.

So, if this all sounds familiar, please know you’re not alone. Our mental health has taken a terrific battering this past year, and we’re not out of the woods yet. It’s okay to feel bad. It’s okay to get a lot of rest, if you need it. Life is demanding enough right now; don’t put too much additional pressure on yourself by expecting unrealistic performance levels. But, if it’s all getting too much, there is absolutely no shame in asking your doctor for help. In fact, from personal experience, I’d recommend it.

In addition, I’ve been trying to take pleasure in the small stuff: good tea, scenic walks, upbeat music, Zoom meetings with friends. And the more I build reading into my day, the more I feel my concentration starting to return. And with it, my desire to write.

Spring is coming. Hang in there, concentrate on being kind to yourself and those around you, and we will get through.

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Author: Gareth L Powell


4 thoughts on “Struggling to create? You’re not alone”

  1. Thanks, Gareth. Good to know I’m not alone!
    I used to read a lot regardless of my mood. Lately, I can hardly read new stuff apart from short stories and series I have started reading before the pandemic. *sigh*

  2. Thanks, Gareth. I got to a point where I was even struggling to concentrate on reading, but that seems to be behind me now. As always, good to know we’re not alone, and it feels like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. Thanks for this blog – I noticed this in myself last year and rather than doing nothing ended up editing one of my novels!
    I have just finished my morning writing session – and like one of many these past few weeks, it has been creativity / imaginatively over-productive. I started this morning’s session with a solid idea of where I wanted my new chapter to go and my characters decided otherwise, taking me instead to groundbreaking stuff. I have no idea where all this creativity is coming from. What I do know it is nothing like anything I have previously experienced. It is as if I’m making up ground for the lack of creativity last year.
    I strongly suspect that when the time is right for others, they too will experience this explosion of the imagination escaping onto the page. It is a matter of when, not if.

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