At the start of quarantine, we saw several articles and thinkpieces about how, if the plague changed the landscape of art, COVID could too or about how quarantine was going to see a rise in works from creatives because of the time spent in isolation.
And these aren’t wrong. In the past seven months, we have seen different innovations in art and thousands of people who finally finished the first draft of their novel or a series of paintings they’ve been meaning to make during quarantine.
But what if you’re not one of those people?
Quarantine Isn’t A Vacation You Need to Make Use Of
The guilt of not creating anything outside of your job stems from the notion that quarantine is just free time similar to the kind you get during the holidays or between school semesters. It’s far from that.
Just because you may have more time on your hands doesn’t mean you’re expected to make use of it to create masterpieces. Especially when the reason you have this extra time is because you’re being forced to stay at home due to a pandemic that’s killing thousands of people around the world every day.
The past seven months have been filled with dread and paranoia. Many of us are struggling to look for or keep jobs, are worrying about our families’ health, are constantly filled with anger and uncertainty because of the political state of the country and the injustices they bring. For months. This can cause material conditions and long-lasting effects on our mental health that just aren’t conducive to creating.
If you can understand why it’s normal to expect yourself to get creative when you have free time because of summer vacation but not when you’re getting time off because of a family emergency, then you can understand this difference too.
Just Getting By Is More Than Enough
It’s hard to go easy on yourself when your timeline is full of people talking about a passion project they finished or posting photos of their latest piece. But not everyone responds to tragedy and hardship the same way. And not everyone has the resources or privilege to do more than just try and survive the pandemic.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still try to work on your craft and revisit passions when you can. However, if all you can do is your day job and take care of yourself, you’re already doing great.
Continue to do your best to create works for a passion project. Study your craft as much as you can. But no one is calling you less of an artist for the days, weeks, and even months when you can’t bring yourself to do more than just survive and make ends meet in the middle of a pandemic.