Being Creative in 2020

Some people thrive on adversity. I am not one of them. If a time machine dropped me in some other time and place, I would immediately meet an unfortunate end, and probably in the stupidest possible way. Oh, you mean I wasn’t supposed to pet that saber-tooth cat? But it was so fluffy!

So while Taylor Swift is busy dropping a new album that she wrote and recorded while stuck at home, I am… not. I write slowly in the best of times and 2020 definitely doesn’t qualify.

In the entire month of May, I wrote the same number of words (in total!) that I can write in one really good day.


So if you’re struggling to create this year, know that you’re not alone. Don’t listen to the people (hi, mom!) who tell you that you should be super productive because you’re stuck at home and can’t go anywhere. Mental health is important for creativity, and stress and anxiety aren’t great for mental health—and there’s plenty of stress and anxiety this year.

The myth of the tortured, starving artist, is just that—a myth. Sure, some people probably thrive on chaos, because nothing is ever one-size-fits-all, but I am not one of them. I have two deadlines upcoming, and I’m behind on both. Usually, this would fill me with panic, but this year the best I can summon is a detached sort of dread. I’m all panicked out.

But I continue to trudge onward because that’s all I can do. New Shiny is over 30k, and TQT just crossed 30k, too. I was trying to get TQT done by the end of the month, but that’s just not going to happen unless some sort of miracle occurs.

But, lest you think it’s all doom and gloom around here, I sent the first six chapters of New Shiny off to Mr M and my bff, and they both loved it, so that’s nice. They are biased, naturally, but at least it’s not completely terrible. :)

Now back to the writing cave, Batman. Be kind to each other, wear a mask, and hang in there!

P.S. If you’re in the US, don’t forget to register to vote! And if it’s a been a while, check your registration to ensure you haven’t been dropped from the voter rolls. Even if it hasn’t, it’s a good idea to check. November isn’t that far away and many states have registration deadlines that are quickly approaching.

6 thoughts on “Being Creative in 2020”

  1. I feel ya. I’m a high stability person, so 2020 has totally knocked me off balance. I didn’t write in March and April. In May, things became sufficiently, weirdly stable enough, that I was able to make progress, finish the damn book I’ve been working on for three years (exit for the edits that will probably take another three!), and am almost through the edits of the urban fantasy I finished last year. But now, school has started. Life is back to being incredibly unstable and my brain is filled with debates about home schooling versus this remote thing that’s not going awesomely versus maybe we can muddle through for nine weeks so I can send them back in person.

    I’m still trying to fit in thirty minutes a day of writing, but it’s tough. I have to get up super early. Once my kids are up, my brain is so not in the right place.

    So, yeah. It’s freaking hard.

  2. It’s rough out there right now and you should never have to apologize for not “getting stuff done” when it feels like the world is burning around us.

    Thanks for the voter registration link. Just checked mine and I’m good to go. This year I’m so thankful to live in CA, where anyone can register to be a permanent mail-in voter, no excuses needed, and we have dedicated, secure ballet drop-off boxes in most communities.

  3. No worries.

    And if TQT doesn’t get done by your self-imposed deadline that’s perfectly okay. We can wait. Take what time you need to refill the well.

  4. I typically thrive on chaos, but 2020 has been so off the charts and completely upside-down that I haven’t been able to get my footing either. It has been rough all the way around. In the moments where I find myself lacking motivation completely, I take a break to stay sane. Scrabble Go has been a big help for relaxing in a way that doesn’t encourage my mind to turn to goo!
    Thank you for the voting information, and for the reminder to be kind to others and wear a mask! Don’t forget to be kind to yourself, too! Hindsight is 20/20, but 2020 is also almost in our hindsight!

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