Corvus Creatrix: Isolation & Creativity

New to – Corvus Creatrix – just a bird divining a path between a wish to create and the hard realities of life.

How do we stay creative when in isolation? 

a child's hand doodling ink drawings

Maintaining a creative flow is hard enough when you work in your passion, but throw in a recent cancer diagnosis on top of freelancing, being a Mum/Wife etc and I knew it was going to be er, a blip? A bump in the road? NOPE. It was a super massive black hole.

You see, I’m 20 years into working as a professional photographer (as in, its my actual day job not a hobby as such but lets not start that argument), so everyday creativity is ingrained within The Day Job.

I’ve totally taken creativity for granted, pushed my luck on saying one day I will do such and such… or I *should* really do…. And then getting busy again. But we all do that right? 

So how do you stop yourself from functioning on autopilot and getting back into the swing of creating for yourself, not others…. Not a client brief, a job, or assignment but just for kicks? I genuinely don’t know.

Previous to my sudden kick up the arse from the universe diagnosis of breast cancer, I was actively discussing my waning creativity with fellow photographers, artists and anyone who’d listen. 

I was already aware that I had hit the wall, almost burn out and needed to step back. Funny how that works out right?

So here I am. 3 months into active Chemotherapy and 3 months ahead of everyone else who has now been forced to go into self isolating/working from home. 

You always hear about singers/song writers/artists locking themselves away for a bit to find their mojo…. So that will work right? (Hello Netflix/Pug Videos/Podcast collections).

I have no excuses for ducking out of being creative now, I’m only halfway through my treatment and lets be fair, have nothing better to do but work on getting that creative mojo back or kick started again…. I’m incredibly lucky that I have time to heal, I really am.

That said, it’s amazing how many other things there are to distract you before you succumb to completing the task in hand isn’t it – here’s my list of failed creative tasks so far…..

  • Learning to crochet….failed at least 4 times now watching the same video casting on. Managed to cast on then confused myself sneering should I be turning the hook clockwise or anti clockwise – yes chemo brain is real! I never dig figure it out the got myself knotted up and put it away.
  • Painting…. I love acrylics. I studied A Level Art and loved painting, not the watercolour landscapes or flowers, but Miro or Mondrian style blocks. My biggest love of more traditional art was the wonderful Georgia O’Keefe…. Who’s books I have dug out to re-read and inspire. The paints are here somewhere….we even have a canvas board from Christmas left over from my daughters haul and the paintbrushes are literally sat ON THE SIDE. But am I painting? Nah…. Ooh look, shiny things.
  • Drawing/Sketchbooks/Doodling …. I started the wonderful #Inktober twice now over the years. My 8 year old even did better than me at sticking to that one. A few days in, even with a prompt list for each day I lost interest!

The list goes on…. I get that this is nothing new to most creatives – we are often compelled to self analyse, critique and fit the cliche of the starving artist…. But to be honest with you, I have actually looked forward to time off, time to heal and time to create. I think the isolation may be the key ingredient for me…. No matter how bored bored bored my brain tells me I am. 

How do you guys keep inspired when you’re tucked away? Where are your sources of creativity? Because I can’t keep googling stuff, watching everyone’s Instagram stories and keeping myself busy listening to podcasts forever? Or can I?

Corvus Creatrix


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