How To Stay Creative (Or Not)

By Jannie Chang

May 30, 2020


Disclaimer: I fully recognize the privilege I hold right now being able to stay at home and remain relatively stress-free. I realize that this is not the case for many right now. In no way do I mean to speak for those who are in a different situation than I am right now.

Music is cool but have you heard about making stickers?

Little doodles and renditions of my favorite snacks are turned into stickers, thanks to a newfound passion for Adobe Illustrator and Redbubble. Although I do earn a miniscule 23 cents for each sale, I’m not doing it for the money. I’m doing it to make myself happy!

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Personally, this is the first time in forever where I feel no time pressure in being “creative”. No deadline for assignments, no feeling guilty for wasting time, just me alone in my room quietly learning different things. Although it’s not much, I feel proud of my little Redbubble store. I like the feeling of knowing that I’m still creating during this time, still putting pieces of me out there.

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Creativity means something different for all of us. For some, it might mean a breakthrough in a new genre, while for others it could simply be using stickers to spice up a work calendar. Either way during this day and age, we all need a creative outlet, something new, something fresh. Sometimes, creativity feels like an intangible goal, and that’s where we get stuck. I know that I tend to give up when whatever I’m doing fails to match my expectations, but now is the time to change that. When I say “being creative”, I don’t mean immersing yourself into another task in pursuit of “productivity”. I mean really just doing what you want to do, letting your imagination run free and making ugly things.

"How often do we have the chance to do something simply for the sake of doing it, rather than to make progress or a project to present?"

Draw something and hang it up, play whatever you want on that new guitar, it’s okay if you haven’t mastered it in 10 minutes. It’s about trying, not succeeding. After many years of striving to be productive, I’m trying to train my brain to take joy from the process in addition to the cool new thing I made. Maybe your creative form is laying in bed and thinking about a new dream scenario.

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Don’t fall into the trap of productivity propaganda right now. We all deserve a little break for the sake of our mental health. Pick up that new instrument you’ve been wanting to learn forever, and make time for things that make you happy, not just those that make you productive.

You can find more of Jannie's work on Instagram @jchangstore