The topic is very important as this period of COVID-19 has brought the test of mental health that many of us were not prepared for. If you’re a student like me, you’ve probably been home for 4 months or more with restricted movement. Now being a creative can be very time consuming, and the constant thought of not being good enough takes a toll on one’s mental health. If you’re writer like me, there probably have been many points this quarantine where you lost all inspiration and motivation to produce content. In times like this, you might have to go above and beyond to not only ensure you don’t lose your creative mojo, but that your mental health is intact. Here are tips that have definitely helped me in achieving that balance.
TIP 1: JUST CREATE
“Here is the paradox: you will not be able to truly write your book unless you have truly written your book. Get it out of your head. Everything will probably change later, that’s fine. At this stage accept deep imperfection” – Jessie Burton
A lot of the time, if we’re being very honest with ourselves, “writer’s block is not a block at all but self criticism. You feel like what you’ve created is not good enough so you tend to avoid it all together. Instead of being so hard o n yourself just write whatever comes to mind. Your first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. Most of the time you won’t appreciate work you’ve done until it’s done. So pour out whatever you can on paper, video, recording, any format! Don’t worry about perfection, just focus on getting it all out.
TIP 2: FIND INSPIRATION
An aspect of creativity is definitely being able to think outside the box. When it comes to finding inspiration there are a million and one ways to go about it. When I started ‘Stories By Teri’, when I found it difficult to create content, I read, I went on social media and checked out pages of writers, went to newsletters and writing prompts and many more. The internet has been created for us to utilize at free will.
TIP 3: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
It’s okay to rest. Disconnect to reconnect. I can’t stress this enough but your well-being should be your top priority. Just like the body needs time to recharge, so does the mind. Take time to rest: sleep, exercise, go off social media, do whatever you can. It’s guaranteed that you will be more productive when you do so.
TIP 4: TALK TO SOMEONE
I believe in communication and collaboration so much and what better way to grow and become more creative than engaging g in conversation s with people doing a similar work as you. In my journey as a content creator, I’ve gotten to meet and work with amazing individuals, whenever I might be going through writer’s block or feel discouraged about my content. I reach out to them. There are many online creative communities such as Tell! Where you can meet people with similar interests, and talk about how to tackle problems with creativity. You can even go so far as messaging or emailing someone in the creative community that you look up to just to ask questions. Surprisingly, some of them are ready to help and share information.
TIP 5: DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
Remind yourself that a setback doesn’t equal failure and comparison kills creativity. There is room for you. No one can do it with your voice, your experience and your hindsight.
It’s okay to learn from colleagues in your industry but you must never compare your journey to theirs. Try not to compare your chapter 1 to someone’s chapter 20. Don’t even compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 1. You’re walking two different journeys, so work at your own pace. I try to remind myself “no one can tell my story, like me”. “I am bringing something to the table that no one else is”. I mean we all have different ways of preparing the same meal.
I’d like to end with a quote: “when in doubt, remember why you do it”. Your ‘why’ fuels your passion. The reason you started should be your constant reminder.
I started ‘Stories By Teri’, in the middle of this pandemic. I was very hesitant seeing as I hadn’t written a thing in more than two years. So before I started I spoke to a friend who was also a content creator. Thanks to her, and my passion for writing, I picked up the pen and I haven’t looked back. There have been times when I felt down and wasn’t able to put out content but I put these tips to use and it’s been working for me. I hope to works for you too.
*QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS*
QUESTION 1: Apart from struggling with inspiration or motivation to write, I’m also very protective, and apprehensive about sharing my work with others. How can I overcome this?
ANSWER: I definitely struggle with this from time to time. Personally, I’ve found that sharing with strangers or mere acquaintances rather than people I know helps. It always seems less personal when I do that. You don’t know who out there needs your story. I understand the hesitation, especially if it’s a reflection of your thoughts but sending it out could help someone and also help you as well.
QUESTION 2: What advice would you give to people who start writing but midway, it feels like inspiration just stops?
ANSWER: When this happens, I tend to first of all take a break, and reread what I have written. Then I read books, preferably those in the genre I’m trying ng to cover, to try to find inspiration again. Sometimes, I write backwards: if I’m stuck halfway, but I know the ending, I write the ending. I write a random scene, anything at all. Most of the time the reason why we’ve lost inspiration is because we feel like what we put out must be perfect or in a particular order. Writing isn’t always like that. There is no formula for finding inspiration like I already said, but you can try this and see what works.
QUESTION 3: As a writer and/ content creator how do you build a community through your content? How do you get people who you really don’t know to become a part of your journey as a creative?
ANSWER: 1.Utilize hash tags and pinterest.
These work for me: #writers #writersofinstagram #poetry #writer #writerscommunity #writing #writingcommunity #writersofig #poetsofinstagram #poetrycommunity #quotes #poet #poems #authors #bookstagram #wordporn
2. Find fellow writers online and talk to them, engage with their content.
3. Don’t underestimate the importance of the instagram/twitter bio.
These are tips on Balancing your mental health and creativity during this pandemic by Favor Atomon (Teri), A Creative Writer and Content Creator.