Show Aunt ‘Rona Who’s Boss!
Create Life-Changing Habits
Before the coronavirus, life moved very quickly. There was so much to do and so little time. You had to physically be in class, attend meetings, feed yourself and go to work all within the same hour. We had all kinds of desires that seemed impossible to attain. You might have wanted to read a book, workout, take on passion projects, and do all sorts of fantastic things. There was only one thing stopping you: time. Time was that one elusive thing that everyone wanted more of, but nobody could ever get. (Well except that girl, Productive Patricia, that seemed to have everything under control).Time was as unpredictable as Kigali weather, and we relentlessly blamed it for all our mistakes in life. And then COVID-19 came.
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted a lot of things in the dynamics of our societies. Many people thought that physically being in class would still be a thing in 2030, but COVID said: “nope, everyone must learn online starting tomorrow.” It was literally out of the blue! People prepared for a year full of parties, travel and what have yous – stocking up on all sorts of makeup and clothes – only to sit at home in pyjamas for months.
Thinking about it, you realize that the time you spent prepping for your day, rushing around in school or work halls is now in your hands. Yay! This means the 10 minutes you took to wait for a bus could be used to finally do some vocal warms ups or those many other plans that used to fail because of “time”. Collect all the little fragments of time you now have and invest in creating life-changing habits. Put more time into your creative work – you’ll be surprised that 10 minutes daily could make such a huge difference in your skill. Imagine this – whatever you do now could help you become just like Productive Patricia in the future because she wasn’t just born with a perfect work ethic – she had to create good habits.
But hey! Creating habits requires discipline. Discipline isn’t always a fun word to hear, but the fruits of it are definitely AMAZING! Also, it may not be as complicated. You can use the help of scheduling tools such as your Google Calendar or creating a to-do list and taping it on your wall. Regardless of the shape that your life-changing habits take, it is vital to take deliberate steps to create them. So if you are going to spend 4 hours on Instagram, 6 hours on Netflix, and 10 hours trying out the #sliptheswitch challenge, remember that you might be creating habits that will stay with you long after the pandemic.
Reach Out to people now for potential future projects
In today’s world of mobile phones, people can have hundreds of contacts on their phones. It is normal now. Even if you don’t remember them and some are saved as “Guy from the Shop” lol. In the long list of uncontacted people, some may be people that you’ve always wanted to work with. This time, we all have the opportunity to build lasting relationships with potential partners. As a Creative, you cannot thrive by yourself. And if you need to learn about the benefits of collaboration for Creatives, you can read my previous blog here.
You can use this time to nurture relationships with people that you can work with after the pandemic blows over. This is the time to build meaningful, authentic relationships that will yield great results. Find the right people, and share your ideas with them or if you don’t have any, ask them if they need help with their projects. When the time is right, you can work with those fantastic people to bring amazing creations to life. You have the time to plan for projects, find the right people, and authentically involve them today.
Get specific about your work and brand
Sometimes a lot of creatives are so talented that they find themselves doing almost anything. Sounds like a cool thing, huh? Well yeah, but this multi-faceted approach, while amazing, can become limiting for most artists because it may become difficult to brand yourself. A brand is basically an identity – what people know you to be. In branding, it is essential to know exactly what you offer, such that people should not be confused about what you do. If you play your creative cards right, you can enter the post-COVID era with crystal-clear clarity of your work and your brand that will benefit both you and your customers.
Take the time to understand yourself, your work, and what you want to be known for. Clarify things with yourself so that other people should not be confused about you. Do not just say you are a musician, zero in on what kind of music you primarily do. When you find it, perfect that music until everyone can identify precisely what to associate you with. Are you a visual artist? You can be even more specific and clarify that you use oil paint, pencil, a camera, or Adobe Illustrator. Be as specific as you can. Remember, you are not being asked to limit yourself; the challenge is to clarify where you stand such that people will not be confused about your work or your brand. The more specific you are, the easier it is to find your target market, and the more effective you will be.
It is crucial to be able to think beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. This too shall pass, and you need to be ready for the new world ahead of you. After all of this madness, things may never be the same, but we will have to return to life, and we will have to define that life for ourselves. There are a lot of things to think about. What are the odds that people are going to be willing to sit in large numbers ever again? Or at least in the near future? Some people/countries have even resorted to banning all kinds of gathering until after 2021( Al-Arshani, 2020 ). What does your creative future look like? The truth is that while there are a lot of challenges, there are also many opportunities. And now we have the time to carefully identify the opportunities and plan to make the most of them.
Finally, my dear friends, stay authentic. You are valuable. Your work is valuable. Strangely, this world doesn’t always support diversity. When someone succeeds in their creative work, there’s always a copycat around the corner wishing for the same success. The pressure to conform and become like other people is real. If you saw 700 people in one room, you would probably think to yourself, “wow, that’s a lot of people.” However, if you saw 700 views on a YouTube video, you would think, “well, that’s not so impressive.” The truth is that it is impressive, but you are subconsciously comparing the video with another one that may have millions of views. But you see, having fewer views does not mean that the content is not worth watching.
The important thing is to stay authentic and to keep creating. Nothing makes you more memorable than being authentic. And people will have to remember you to find you. When you are genuine and keep it that way, soon enough, people will notice and respect you for it. Regardless of the hurdles you may encounter, always be authentic; you are worth it.
Al-Arshani, S. (2020). LA Mayor says ban on large-scale events could last until 2021. [online] Facebook. Available at: https://www.pulselive.co.ke/bi/politics/la-mayor-says-ban-on-large-scale-events-could-last-until-2021/9l7d4ff [Accessed 6 May 2020].
McLaughlin, J. (2020). What is a Brand, Anyway?. Forbes. Retrieved 6 May 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jerrymclaughlin/2011/12/21/what-is-a-brand-anyway/#72b8a82a1b17
Mair, S. (2020). The Conversation. Retrieved 6 May 2020, from https://theconversation.com/what-will-the-world-be-like-after-coronavirus-four-possible-futures-134085