It’s been an awful year and not just because of Covid-19 and successive lockdowns.
Speaking purely from a writing perspective, it’s been the worst twelve-months of my career. Even the commissioning of my seventh feature in July did little to lift me out of an extended creative slump. I barely wrote a word in 2020 and what I did write, I’m still agonising over months later, bogged down in the detail of the first ten pages of a TV drama spec I can’t push myself to complete. I’m still rewriting/deleting/rewriting those same ten pages over and over again, never managing to get any closer to something I can conjure any pride in. None of my ideas have clicked, none have added to the original idea and in most cases, they’ve made the overall tone of the screenplay considerably worse.
I’d like to think the lack of creativity is down to my private writing space being invaded by a work from home wife and two homeschooling kids, all four of us competing for the same workspace and wi-fi bandwidth, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month…
Unfortunately, months of lockdowns have sapped all creativity from my little grey cells. I even hit Netflix, Disney + and Sky Box Sets hard, binge-watching my way through a series or two a week in an attempt to jumpstart my creative drive, and I still find my creativity is a pale, lifeless corpse. I can barely muster the enthusiasm to sit at a keyboard for an hour a day. That blinking cursor taunts me and my impotent creativity as I witness other’s achievements posted on social media with a sense of resignation and envy and not the pleasure, pride and camaraderie I used to. This is what I have become, a shadow of who I was before anyone first mentioned lockdown and isolation, a creative and emotional cripple with no drive, limping from one day to the next like a directionless zombie.
I know others are experiencing the same sense of hopelessness and demotivation but it’s of little comfort because it still feels as if I’m the only one. I can’t help but wonder how honest people are when posting their successes on Facebook and what the real struggles are behind those celebratory headlines. I also know this isn’t forever, that it’s just a temporary, insignificant blip in a lifetime of dedication and that I shouldn’t punish myself during an unprecedented global situation where over a million people haven’t been as lucky.
Now and again there are a few hours of frantic focus that may or may not result in a page of something half decent and I try to hold to those moments of encouragement amongst the hopelessness I feel for any future, personal or career-focused.
You are not the only one. Hang in there. Stay safe.