For the last month and a half, I’ve put off writing this article due to, well, the point of this article. But seeing as I’ve been struck with COVID-19, I figured there was no better time to write this.

Hyper-creativity. When I say this, I’m relating to that need to always be creating something; basing your worth over what you make and the frequency you release it into the world. It’s something that has been pushed on creatives since the beginning of the pandemic, with musicians and bands creating entire albums during lockdown due to them lacking anything else to do with their time. Admittedly, I suffered from the same issue. After lamenting over the loss of my full time job, as well as watching my touring plans for the entirety of 2020 go up in smoke, I turned to the idea of creating an album. After taking time away from making solo music, I decided to give it another shot under my old moniker ‘Kern Parks’. I mean, why not? Why wouldn’t I devote myself to the craft I’ve loved for over a decade?

Fast forward to July 2020, one of my bands had broken up, I signed a deal with Beth Shalom Records and began planning my releases for the rest of the year. But, despite my claims of “I’ve never felt so rested!” over drinks in the park, I was already burnt out.

We pushed ourselves into a state of hyper-creativity, most likely due to our need to escape the mundanity of lockdown and our shared trauma of the pandemic (sorry to get *deep* on you). Surprise drops were coming out every week, with some artists opting to welcome people into their album process from start to finish (see Charli XCX’s ‘How I’m Feeling Now’). This only spurred me on more, making me push myself to the point of exhaustion due to my comparative outlook on my art. I’ve been creating music since I was 12 years old, I learnt guitar purely to write songs and play in bands, and my obsession with composition and (later) production can border on unhealthy, so it’s really no surprise that my mind was so laser-focused on trying to create during such an unnerving time.

Now, it’s August 2021, the country has opened back up (for now), and I’ve made a lot of music. I’m not proud of a lot of it, and when I sit down to make something during my current self-isolation, I get the shakes. Call it a personal issue, but I feel like I’m yet to really see the fruits of my hyper-creativity. I effectively ended my solo project and began releasing music under my own name, in an attempt to remove the pressure (defying logic entirely by essentially starting a new solo career). I went back to being independent (all love to BSR, we’re still tight), and began working with/on other people’s music. Yet I still struggle. The pandemic removed my ability to be able to collaborate effectively, which in turn has ruined my perception of my own work. It feels so run-of-the-mill, lazy, and ineffectual, and it’s disheartening.

It’s important that we figure out ways to collaborate, ways to give ourselves a breather from creating, without the need of a global pandemic to make us take a break or double down on our creative streaks. Simultaneously, I feel as though it’s important to stop comparing our own output/successes to others. This pandemic has taken a year and a half from creatives, and no matter how much music you make, how much art you post, how many pages of script you write, you can’t get that time back. But that’s okay, in the creative industries, age should be arbitrary, because you can be 15 or 55 and still create a valuable and important piece of art.

Hyper-creativity is overrated, and it’s a shame it’s taken a global pandemic for me to realise it. Let’s take a step back, and figure out how to create healthily again.