Many of us thought we'd get so much done during the COVID-19 lockdown.
We'd take care of those niggling projects around the place that we'd put off for years, finally landscape the garden, have a big clean out, catch up on those books we've wanted to read, clean the house from top to bottom ... write the books we've been thinking about forever ..
Well, we can't water-blast any more in Auckland because of the water restrictions; the libraries are mostly still closed (although some are opening now); and writing that book, well, don't feel badly if you only wrote a couple of pages or a few words, or just spent the time thinking about it. You're not alone.
I had hopes too that I would get stuck into the book I'm writing but you know what? All I managed during the four+-week lockdown of Level 4 was my daily isolation journal. I've kept up my own personal journal though ... but I have to bribe myself to sit down in the late afternoon with a shot of whisky.
Here we are in Level 2 with less restrictions but I still feel as if I'm in a creative slump. I cannot manage a single paragraph. I have learned over the years not to beat myself up if I cannot write. There's always a reason for the dimming or disappearance of the creative powers.
It's been an anxious, difficult time these last couple of months. My mind has been preoccupied with so many different things, like that first trip to the grocery store during the early weeks of Level 4, not knowing what to expect and thinking the virus might leap out from behind the apples and up my nose, or it'd hitch a ride home on a bag of nuts.
There have been financial worries too and when that happens, Creative Mind gets paralysed and cannot imagine or create anything and Manager Mind takes over as we search for money here there and everywhere, budget and ration, plan and scheme so we can stay afloat for another week. Ah the writing life! It's a delicious challenge (almost like a guilty secret) at the best of times and when an economic calamity befalls the country, one that is out of your control, it's a precarious situation.
The 'not knowing' what the future brings is disorienting because we usually have some control and choice over that. Feeling disempowered, having decisions made for you (ones that you may not like too much), being told what you can and cannot do, all piles up to challenge those plans to clean and scrub and hammer and nail and write.
But we are getting there. We have some time to go yet but we are making progress and that is cause for the no-more-than-ten people celebrations and behaving oneself in the bars whilst drinking beer. I haven't been out for beer yet. We're all a bit wary of this however I am working up to it because I need to fill up the well. Not with beer but with what a friend of mine calls 'input'.
I have to get out and see things, talk to people, take those cautious steps back into life's mainstream, experience the colour, hub-bub, the noise, and stir up the sluggish imagination.
Fill up the creative well.