Quarantine Ups and Downs

By now most creatives are familiar with the “But Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine!” argument that being stuck at home should increase creative output. And by now most creatives have gotten fed up with non-creatives expecting them to compartmentalize emotions during social distancing.  Well, we know it isn’t that simple.

What about when you get the chance to work from home? For many, doing so has resulted in a creative malaise, or too many distractions, from having their kids home 24/7 to having their work life creep into their creative space. Honestly, working from home has been a godsend for me. I have physical disabilities, and working from home has alleviated many of the distractions caused by them. No longer am I coming home in pain, with eye strain, struggling to get any word count. I mean, my home office is an easy chair, after all. I’m even giving the business side of things the proper attention, which I so rarely do. Damn querying!

The only logical conclusion is that the words are flowing and everything’s peaches and cream for me at the moment. Not so fast. My creative output IS up, as a direct result of social distancing, the quarantine, and working from home. No denying that. What IS suffering while my writing thrives is ME. After I close the computer, what is there? I make connections online, talk to friends and family, and…sit around and do nothing. Watch TV. Surf the ‘Net. Read. Get things done around the apartment. Watch TV, surf the ‘Net, watch TV, surf the ‘Net, become more of a hermit, forget the positive things I can do at home, watch TV, surf the ‘Net…

I’m falling into a vicious cycle because of this quarantine. For now, the writing is good. I don’t have the problem many creatives have, of finding it harder to create. For how long, though? There will come a breaking point, and if it is reached, I have no doubt I’ll be in a deeper rut than before. So I have to guard against that. Try to lift myself in these trying times. Work on coping strategies to deal with the difficulties. You know, the hard stuff.

We talk about the obvious problems, that it can be difficult for many to create in these circumstances. We also need to worry and take precautions when things are going WELL in these trying times. We need to recognize our own fragile mental states and balance our creative output against our mental needs. I’ve written this rambling post as a cathartic tool, not so much to find answers to my dilemma–because there are no easy answers here–but to process what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. Hopefully, in reading this, it will help a few other creatives do the same.


  1. Brandon, well articulated what many of us are going through as writers and just being confined (mostly) to the house. We live in WV and didn’t make it back before the virus hit and now I am reluctant to travel. So my ideal situation is here, Florida weather, but pool is closed because of danger of infection, comfortable place to stay but retired so don’t have to deal with work but…it has taken a while to focus on the creative part. My head wants to focus on the dystopian ‘now’ that we live in. I’m blessed with a few other distractions, guitar and drawing comic books, rebuilding my programming skills. But, yeah, there is an inherent need to have a bit of normalcy, go out for a burger or ice cream with wife. Hang in there, dude. Exchange some creative ideas.

  2. stout says:

    Thank you! Hope you make it home safe and sound as soon as possible!

  3. Very nice and appropriate article, Brandon. Amazingly, it articulates almost exactly what I’ve been going through. Hang in there and hang tough. Know that we’re all in this together, albeit separately. Keep safe and keep writing. (Hope to see you at Confluence this year.)

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