The Twitter reaction from Donald Trump and his allies to Meryl Streep's stirring speech at the Golden Globes last weekend demonstrates that the upcoming US administration will not be kind to artists and other creative types. Not only are they being blasted as decedent elitists, but some of the social benefits they disproportionately rely on—such as Obamacare—are being dismantled. In light of this hostility, the novelist John Scalzi offers a "10-point plan for getting creative work done in the age of Trump" in the LA Times. His advice ranges from taking a break from social media and news sites, to being especially vigilant about carving out time for your creative work. Here's an excerpt from the piece—points six through nine:
6. Do other things that make you happy. News and social media expand to fill the space you allot to them. Last year, I realized I was spending so much time watching my friends freak out on Twitter and Facebook that I read fewer books and spent less time with my other hobbies. This year, I’m intentionally carving out space to read, to play music, and to enjoy the movies and TV shows I haven’t caught up on. Likewise:
7. Connect with friends and community. The weekend after the election, when I and most creative people I knew felt especially low, I went to a wedding of friends, with other friends in attendance. For those several hours we laughed and joked and enjoyed life and remembered that even in dispiriting times, when it’s easy to curl up into a defensive ball or to shut people out, your friends and community will do a lot to see you through. They will inspire you creative. They will plan with you politically. And they don’t mind your goofy dance moves (or if they do, they’ll let it slide anyway).
8. Give help when you can. Many creative folks have made protesting and resisting a priority for the new year. But you find you don’t have the time or mental bandwidth to engage with the world and still be creative, there are still things you can do to protest and to help others. Among the simplest: Give money to organizations that are looking out for the people most at risk under the new administration. Do likewise for people you know in need. We’re in an era where “pay it forward” is an especially evocative phrase.
9. Get help if you need it. Everything above is a coping mechanism designed to help you stay creative and engaged in a challenging time. But you know what? Sometimes articles with lists aren’t enough. Sometimes depression and anxiety don’t go away with helpful tips. There’s no shame in acknowledging depression and anxiety as real things that benefit from treatment. And in many cases, treating them can clear a path to becoming creative again. Get help; it’ll help.
Image via LA Times.