You don’t owe anyone anything. If you need to rest and step back, THAT is OK. Also, rest is an important part of the work, research, and creative process. Perhaps you’ve been feeling burnt out, well, your body is probably telling you to take it easy.
Productivity is challenging for so many people. Whether you live on your own, with family, and/or a partner, there is a lot of shifting going on. Be open to the shifting that is happening and be still for it (and delve into whatever practices bring you ease and comfort).
If you’re the type that really feels compelled to do or make something, reach out to a friend or someone you trust and discuss your ideas and be open to vulnerability at this time.
Try your best to not feel guilty if you’re making. I’ve been seeing some really negative things out there bashing on folks for creating at a time like this. This is what we say to haters 👋🏾👋🏾👋🏾 and thank you 🙏🏾
Comparing, at a time like this, well, please try to refrain from this activity as it will only cause you distress. Nobody has the skills or experience you have in the particular way you do. So, it’s not that productive to compare yourself especially now.
Create ritual(s) for yourself. Find activities that enable you to ground yourself. These things are equally if not more important than whatever you’re making! THIS IS REAL. Trust. As someone who is survivor of severe traumas, my rituals have saved me.
If you’re just wanting/needing inspiration, try making a list of your favorite things using good ole pen/pencil and paper! Be silly, make it fun, and/or as deep as you want/need. Writing is such an embodied experience that many of us don’t do anymore.
Don’t feel compelled to do what you see on social or any other place for that matter. Just because everyone is doing this and that doesn’t mean you have to do it too. Unless you really want to. Again, you don’t need to do, make, or produce anything as proof of your existence!
Also, making, doing, and producing (AT ANY TIME) is hard AF, but it’s extremely difficult at a time like this. If you want to make and NOT share with the world, that’s OK too. Do what is best for you. But also, see #5.
PLEASE, if you’re experiencing serious challenges, difficulties, and/or distress, reach out and ask for help. Feel free you share your thoughts too and yes, reach out if #10 is where you’re at. I will do what I can to assist, support, and/or connect you to a resource. ♥️
Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, race and technology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.
Her writing appears in art21, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, Ars Technica, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the program manager for the Processing Foundation.