By Amber Hunsicker
COVID-19 has brought a new challenge into our lives, one of the greatest challenges yet— excessive screen time. This has caused some to struggle with creativity.
Since COVID-19, there have been several protocols put in place everywhere you go, causing school, work, and social events to move virtually. The online world is becoming more of a reality to our everyday lives.
English Professor Robert Fillman said, “With classes and office hours and so many of my daily interactions shifting to ZOOM, it meant that I was spending considerably more time at a computer—sometimes eight to ten hours in a day.”
While some have excelled and have taken advantage of the time, others have struggled to adapt to this new lifestyle. Whether good or bad, COVID-19 has changed all of our lives.
To this, Fillman added, “ Because I write on a laptop, as most people do, I found myself initially dedicating less time to writing because I physically needed a break from the screen. All the time spent confined to the home forced me to slow down.”
COVID-19 has both increased and decreased the amount of creativity in others. We have learned that many need a balance in their lives, a combination of both lifestyles. For example, Professor Fillman states that to cope with the changes COVID-19 has thrown our way, he tries to “take things in stride.”
“While the pandemic has prompted high levels of uncertainty and anxiety, I have tried to appreciate all the things that I do have,” Fillman said. “While COVID-19 has changed life as we know it for the foreseeable future, it has also allowed me to spend more time with my children, to be more involved with their education, to spend more time outdoors, to appreciate those who I am closest to.”
How do you stay creative during the pandemic? Here are some tips:
- Take care of yourself first! Whether this is spending time outdoors breathing in fresh air or spending time with those closest to you (See my article “How to Love Yourself and Others During COVID-19” for ideas).
- Fillman suggested, “My advice would be to force your own hand. The great American poet Mary Oliver said that ‘the muse is fickle.’ Inspiration might strike and, of course, you should indulge it when it does. But you must realize that you also have to help inspiration along. So, my advice to try to do a little every day, even if it is only fifteen minutes of whatever it is that you’re passionate about. The more you set aside time for it, the more likely inspiration will come. I think that creativity happens when you set yourself up for it by seeking out inspiration.”
- As an English Professor, Writer, and Book Lover, Fillman also believes that creativity can flow from reading a writer you love, paging through your favorite book or just writing thoughts in your mind. He strongly feels that reading is just as important to getting your creativity flowing.
- Make mistakes, try new things and take time for yourself. Use this time to prioritize you, your life, your success and your future. Those big questions many of us struggle with—‘who am I? What do I want to do for the rest of my life? Where do I see myself 20 years from now?’—this is a perfect time to figure them all out.
- Feel free to utilize the internet and technology you’re surrounded with to find other resources. (See: Huffington Post article)
- Lastly, take a break. This time has affected us all in so many different ways, and it was highly unpredictable. Fillman stated, “People in the 21st century are calibrated toward speed and efficiency, and they tend to overfill their days with commitments and then struggle to maintain them.” Since the pandemic, I am very familiar with being overwhelmed and taking on much more than I can handle as now everything is in front of a screen for me. Sometimes a break can give you the relief you need to be open to your creative side and help your creativity to flow.