Creativity in Quarantine

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If you’re anything like me, this season of self-quarantine has provided an interesting opportunity to pay attention to the rhythms and patterns of our lives. My observation is that these rhythms, because of the season in which we find ourselves, have conglomerated into a big gray mass where every minute of my day looks like the previous one. Not unlike a casino with their endless blinding lights, massively confusing layouts, and limited perspective on the time ticking away in the outside world, our homes can start to feel like a place where our time, responsibilities, hobbies, work and rest come together in one ambiguous swirl.

In the midst of this, I’ve felt a sort of tension between my desire to be creative and my capacity to do so. For myself and other creative/feeler types, this extra time probably, at least initially, struck a chord of imagination and excitement. Maybe you’ve enjoyed some creative output over this period of self-quarantine, but you’ve probably also experienced a lot of brick walls that you might not have expected. That said, I don’t believe that the circumstances in which we find ourselves and our capacity to create are unrelated. As a reflection on this lesson, here are a few observations I’ve had about creativity in this season:

  1. Everyone is a creator. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you think of yourself or what a personality test says about you. As people made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), you have been given a spirit of industriousness, a desire to solve problems, an eye for beauty, and a longing for excellence that is reflective of the truth, beauty and goodness of our Creator.
  2. Bland is boring. It’s fascinating to hear how people are exploring new hobbies and learning new crafts in this season. So often, our lives are strapped to grind of the 9-5 and we exchange beauty and form for function and efficiency. We replace appreciation with transaction, looking to how the components of our day can serve us rather than shape us. It’s interesting how this newfound freedom through free time has made us all just a little more in tune with that desire to create and enjoy good things.
  3. Creativity is tied to experience. We need full lives to be creative. We find creativity in the fibers of our life where we need to solve problems, process feelings, make things better and enjoy things more. When we remove certain rhythms from our life, it should be no surprise when we find ourselves at a creative stalemate.
  4. Community fosters creativity. Often our best, creatively, is sharpened and honed by the people we surround ourselves with. If this time in isolation has taught us anything, it’s that the human soul wasn’t made for this. I miss dreaming, exploring and enjoying with other people. Hopefully this season will be a lesson to us all to appreciate more deeply and press in more fully to the communities in which we find ourselves.

This is just a season. Eventually, we will be back to old, familiar routines. Hopefully, though, this challenge and opportunity will awaken the God-given creativity in all of us- that we would settle into rhythms of creating, sharing and enjoying good things to the glory of God.