The last few days with ongoing updates for COVID-19 have been overwhelming. It's clearly not business as usual for any of us and I hope you and your loved ones are taking the necessary precautions to protect yourselves and our communities. One tactic healthcare officials have been encouraging is social distancing, which includes limiting your contact outside of the home and only going to public spaces to complete essential errands. Many workplaces are switching to telework arrangements to provide more incentive for people to stay at home. Both large and small events are being cancelled, left and right.
Which means that for at least the next few weeks, you're going to spend more hours at home and potentially have more free time on your hands. This is all well and good for a few days, when you can get a head start on spring cleaning and catch up on your favourite Netflix shows. But then, what next? We're used to keeping and staying busy and without social obligations or imperatives to leave the house, boredom will come easily and often.
But as I've long learned, boredom is actually not a bad thing and this could be an opportunity to rediscover your creative voice and to explore why you do what you do. Something I've noticed in the last few months in chatting with creatives is the quest to discover a personal brand is muddled up with questions of marketing oneself in order to pay the bills or with pre-defined notions of success. I've realized that part of my role in helping someone figure out their personal brand is to put them back in touch with their creative roots. And that starts with listening and paying attention to yourself. You already know what you want and what is important to you, but you're too afraid to speak to it because you fear rejection, you fear not being a success and you fear not paying the bills.
I want you to set all of that aside when crafting a personal brand. And the best way to start is to follow an exercise that helped me get creatively unblocked several years ago. This is an exercise that led me to realize my interest in film and television and to even acknowledge that I was an artist. It's called the morning pages, from The Artist's Way.
It's so deceptively simple that it's hard to believe it's such a game changer. It's three pages of stream of consciousness writing, every single day, first thing in the morning. I will confess, as someone who is not an early riser, I didn't end up following this rule to a tee - my morning pages soon became night pages. But I can understand the reasoning behind doing it first thing in the morning, when the day's activities haven't overtaken your thinking. It's a form of meditation, because you are literally writing every single thing that is on your brain. And once you are done writing, you do not look at it. The point is to not judge yourself and get comfortable with allowing your thoughts and feelings to simply flow. It seems so silly, but trust me it works. Try it every day that you are stuck at home these next several weeks and see if it reignites your creative spark again, to remind you why you choose to be an artist and why you choose to create.