Writer Wednesday: Creativity & Crisis Fatigue
Good morning authors and welcome to another Writer Wednesday. Often on the blog, I open up the topic of the day with a quick intro and a nod to what's going on in the world without ever really delving deeper. There are reasons for that, considering every media site most of us frequent is constantly bombarded with grim and grimmer news. It's harder than ever to keep our heads above the line with the state of the world and to be frank, it's vital that we find positives.
Creativity & Crisis Fatigue
It's hard to exist with the world shifting under us. It's an important struggle to acknowledge. So many of us are struggling to get from one day to the next right now, and that mindset takes a massive toll on our ability to create.
"Crisis fatigue is a response to the prolonged stress that develops due to unexpected or difficult events, such as war, economic depressions, or a pandemic." -Medical News Today
Crisis fatigue is a burnout of the body and mind. That constant exhaustion you feel? That constant struggle to get through the day? Your body has been on overdrive for the past two and a half years, moving from one extreme to the next. Even if you don't live in the epicenter of a crisis, the pandemic upended life in the most rural communities, while economic depression and war ripple through every layer of society in different ways. Our generation is burdened with the mounting helplessness in face of environmental catastrophe, born from a position of little power and influence over the people who can push for actual change.
Or are we? The world needs stories. It needs creativity and imagination. This is not sentiment or optimism. Creativity is vital to our survival as a species. It is the driving force of progress and innovation. There are entire genres of fiction based on the idea of 'what if?' that have propelled generations to see if those fever dream literary creations could be possible.
Stories and art serve a two fold purpose. They are vessels of escape, a balm to the mind against the constant barrage of reality. And they push us. Stories push us to explore our empathy. They push us to dream. Stories feed the spark of our imagination. They serve as cautionary tales and glimpses of what our world could be. Every genre of fiction has a place of importance. Every medium feeds the mind and gives an outlet to our emotional well being. Creativity is vital and this state of crisis fatigue so many of us are suffering is sucking us dry.
How do we create in this mess?
📣Don't feel guilty for not creating. I feel like I can't yell this enough. There are several authors and artists who had an epic burst of creativity during the last couple years. Unless you are living under a social media rock, you've heard of Sanderson's massive tomes he funded for publication via kickstarter. Some of us created a lot. Some of us created in the beginning of the pandemic and hit a death knell in the middle. Some of us struggled from day one. Every one's situation is different. There are factors of livelihood's and economic struggles. Crashing mental health. Juggling the upheaval of school and work place environments. There was a lot to wade through and no one should compare their creative journey to another. Even now, we are so far from 'normal' it's laughable.
📣 Kindness to Self. Kindness to Others. I tote a lot about self care which is vital to our mental health and well being, but kindness to others is vital too. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture that eats at your finances. There are small acts of kindness in every day gestures. Holding the door for someone coming in. A smile, mask or not. A smile transforms the whole face. It creases the eyes and pulls on your cheeks. Not one you have to force, but because you want to, a small offer of connection to a stranger. Having patience with a cashier at the store, thanking them, wishing them a good day. Human empathy is a driving force of creativity. Our connections to characters, to crafting believable people into our stories, is founded on our ability to empathize with people in all walks of life. It's something we don't want to lose, to nurture in kindness to others and ourselves.
📣There are Gems in Garbage. My biggest piece of advice in rekindling your spark or just finding a way to create in this mess? Write. Write trash. Write scenes that might lead to nowhere. Write a passing thought, a dream, a nightmare. Write to prompts. Write those characters you've been stuck on into weird situations. Write fan fiction. Write five words a day. This is not an overnight process. Writing will always be a marathon, not a sprint, and sometimes you flag for a while. Sometimes the writing suffers. You cringe at what you produced, but you can't edit a blank page. That saying is painfully true. And amid the trash you expunge, there will be gems. There will be glittering moments where the words click and shine. Words you can pluck out and keep and remember you can still do this. You can still do this.
The world needs your stories.
Resources and Further Reading