How I'm staying creative during the pandemic

How I’m staying creative during the pandemic

COVID-19 quarantine has really done a number on us. Many of us are distracted and frustrated, but also feeling pressure to be productive. I’ve definitely felt that pressure too, but have found a few gentle ways to keep my creativity going during quarantine.

I use the isolation in my work

The isolation that comes from social distancing is perfect for working on the main character of my novel, The Quiet is Loud: a homebody outsider who doesn’t let people get too close. It’s also great for writing my newer novel set in a city-ship in space, where people are always too close, both literally and figuratively.⁠ I can really get into the mindset of someone who lives in that environment and is desperate for quiet and personal space.

Solitude has helped me ask different questions

Solitude has a strange way of helping me sink down into my work and truly understand it. It’s the perspective that comes from being outside of something, observing from a distance. I’ve always been curious about everything, and solitude gives me a unique opportunity to delve into a question uninterrupted, and explore from new angles. Everything feels so strange right now, and it’s given me surprising new perspectives on my work.

Quarantine has sparked new types of creativity

My novel edits are going well, but when I feel like writing something new and personal it has to be poetry. Poetry fractures language, breaks it open and reworks it into something both indistinct and immediate. It suggests and reveals, expresses the inexpressible in ways that plain words would destroy. It’s perfect for right now, when things seem so uncertain. It’s cathartic in the way a short story or novel isn’t.⁠

Have you noticed changes in your creativity during the pandemic? Are you finding it easier or harder to remain creative in quarantine?

If you want to follow along to see how solitude and social isolation continue to influence my writing, join me on Instagram at @samanthakgarner!

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