Covid and Being an Artist or, a Treatise for Fighting Sleep.

In search of how other artists are doing during this hard time. Please, please comment below.

I have always been a night owl. I liked staying up late as a child and in college did regular “all-nighters” with nary a yawn. To this day I still do my best studio work in what most people would call the wee hours of the morning or what I call the “shank” of the day. It’s quiet in the house, the phone isn’t ringing, no one’s questions to answer and you can’t vacuum – in short, no distractions. I feel like my creative juices start flowing around 1 am and hit their peak around 3 am. Between 3 and 4 am is when I get that devil-may-care attitude of, “what the Hell,” and try doing wild and adventurous things that my 3 pm self would never have the nerve to try. I also lose my sense of, “if I do that, I might ruin it” and have a more, “lets just try this, it could be cool.”

But late night work is different from what this pandemic has done to me. I used to stay up til 2 am regularly and rise at nine, eight or the ungodly hour of 7:30 when little ones were around and catch up on sleep the next night or the next. Now it’s more like go to bed at 3 am and rise at 5:30 am, feed the cat, make some tea and go back to bed not to rise til mid-day. Then the night falls and I am somehow too wide awake to go to bed at 1 or 2 but too emotionally or mentally exhausted to start a project. So, many nights in a row after tossing and turning in bed I get up, go down to the studio and sit in front of the computer wasting time until I can finally fall asleep and then start the cycle again. This produces a cranky woman who is deprived of sleep and not producing any art. This makes her feel sad and useless.

I am searching for the magic pill to reverse this. I make lists of projects I want to do. I have created a folder of photos that are good references for future art. My art studio is the kind of clean and organized place that gives me the desire to go work in it (trust me, not too clean, not too much of a mess). I have eliminated all the road blocks that I can thing of, and yet each day I find time to watch art videos on YouTube mesmerized by yet another style or technique and don’t pursue my own creative visions. I feel like the stress of the Pandemic has somehow wiped my brain of those surges that drive you to create. Almost like something from a sci-fi movie. I am wondering how many other artists are struggling with this. How many other artists are laying awake each night with barely any energy or motivation to create. I wonder how many of us are struggling with insomnia and just kind of float through the day like a ghost. I would love to hear from other artists and their tips on how they overcame the lack of inspiration, or the lack of sleep. How they continue to function in this world that seems the same but is so profoundly different in every single way.