Starting and Re-starting —

Coping Through Creativity While in Isolation


As the current pandemic has suddenly forced us indoors for extended periods, we highlight the underlying value of being creative. Nobody has to see or watch, it’s for you, and you only.

Creativity as Outlet

Aside from the positive outcomes of people re-centering their focus on other important matters such as family, physical health and mental health, many people including creatives are dusting off personal projects or starting new ones to pass time. But even for those who didn’t always have an outlet they’re suddenly discovering out of necessity like cooking, creativity is something that can be nurtured from where you are with what you have:

  • Free: Since this is no time to go out and buy new gear or other supplies anyways, this is a great way to start a new creative endeavor. If you didn’t before, write or take pictures using just your phone, draw using whatever pens and paper you have handy, start singing in the shower — the ideas is that you create from a desire to express yourself and not let tools be the limiter.

  • Fundamentals: With fewer demands drawing you outside, the extra time gained and slower pace of life means this is a great period to start a creative talent on solid fundamentals and patience. Want to start recording and telling audio stories? Our MAEKAN Classroom Series gives you the tools you need to create everything

  • Explore: When you’re not practicing the fundamentals, similarly use this quieter alone time for unstructured exploration. Feel free to discover your craft, make mistakes and not judge what you produce, whether you’re just starting or restarting.

  • Share: People are already re-connecting with friends and loved ones or making new connections online. Make some work and put it out there. Or if you’re trying something new, why not share your work with a small trusted group that can give you feedback?

  • Collaborate: It goes without saying there’s a great number of others in the same situation as you and now’s never been a better occasion to come together (virtually!). Seeking out peers or other creatively-inclined individuals to work together on something means you’ll both be able to create something bigger than you could by yourself and get some much needed socialization. Be on the lookout.

  • Infrastructure: if try what you may and the jobs aren’t coming anyway, consider taking this time to work on the infrastructure of your creative business, whether that means working on your website or putting together your portfolio. This means you can consolidate all the work you’ve done so far and be in a better position to seek freelance work once the situation improves.

Caveat: Technology as Crutch

We joke about the increased alcohol and calorie intake social distancing will create, but we also have to be wary of how other mildly addicting vices like streaming, gaming and scrolling will increase screen time as a result of being stuck at home with not much to do (other than work).

With social media already being an inseparable part of our lives, usage has no doubt increased from both turning to it for information on what’s going on outside and as a consequence of getting sucked up in the cocktail of outrage, hope, anxiety and dank memes that’s now blended into the feed. Unless your experience proves inspirational over detrimental, perhaps now might be the time to consider imposing that one-Reddit-rabbit-hole daily limit.

The Takeaway

Despite the seriousness of this period, there’s a silver lining in that it’s shocked much of society into re-evaluating its priorities. These sudden acute changes have also meant an unavoidable break in the constant stream of deadlines and client demands for creatives, meaning we’ve been freed to look on our work through a new lens and to explore creating art for personal reasons instead. For those who haven’t created for a long time and the general public, it’s a rare chance to dig deep into what we’re feeling and how we can express that through the limited tools and materials available — nurturing our creativity at the source. Don’t get it twisted, don’t feel guilted into needing to maximize productivity given the circumstances.

The team’s been largely staying inside since the beginning of February and we’ve welcomed the freedom afforded by the “artificially” lowered pace of life as we start to regularly catch up with friends and family separated by time zones. For insights on how some members of our creative community are coping, check out our Save Point on working from home.