Over the past three years, we’ve dealt with one local or global crisis after the next. The news and social media have inundated us with information 24/7, each new story presented as the worst thing in the history of anything ever. With each passing minute, hour, day, and month, it becomes harder to stay focused and keep going with any level of energy or positive outlook.
At my workplace, stores, and even at my dentist, I’ve noticed a sense of apathy; just going through the motions, a resigned outlook and attitude toward everyday life and activities. It’s pretty depressing.
The basic definition of apathy is a “lack of interest or concern: INDIFFERENCE,” and I understand why people feel this way. There are so many things that we can’t control that we can’t fix that we can’t just change overnight. It can be frustrating, and it can lead to a sense of hopelessness and – as mentioned above – apathy.
Creative people have a mission, and our mission is to entertain, enlighten, engage, and help people escape from their ordinary lives. While others may fall prey to the temptations of apathy, we must strive to overcome this desire to disengage.
We have to be the ones who fight back.
It can be a tough battle. I, too, have succumbed to these apathetic demons. And, why not? It’s much easier to binge an entire YouTube channel’s content than develop a story for a new novel.
But I realized that creative people need to create. In our private moments, when we feel the darkness closing in, we still desire to dig ourselves out of our apathetic doldrums and create something…anything…just to feel creatively alive and free.
When was the last time you wrote something creative? Why has it been so long? Can you think of the moment when you decided not to write or do something else creative?
It’s easy to let the world get you down, and it’s easy for us to get trapped in the cycle of despair that news and social media love to perpetuate. But I want to let you know that you can and should get back at it, get your mind actively creating again, and escape the apathy.
Take baby steps.
There’s a great book by Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird, and the title comes from a time when her brother had a report due the next day about various birds. He was panicked, “immobilized by the task ahead. Then [her] father sat down beside him, put his arm around [her] brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”
Sometimes, to rise out of our apathetic state and be creative again, we have to do what Lamont’s father suggested: “take it bird by bird.” One idea, one sentence, one paragraph at a time. It may seem like a challenge after so long away, but once things start to click, you’ll be able to stay at it for longer than you thought.
Being creative is good for the mind, the soul, and you as a person. Those TV shows, YouTube videos, and tragic news events will always be there waiting for you. But for an hour or two each day, give yourself permission to live in your creative space and your own world.
Apathy may be moving in, but working each day to evict it from your mind and your life will go a long way to getting you back on the creative track.
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!
Lamont, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor Books. 1995.