“I’m running out of ideas,” he admits to me. He’s an accomplished creator who works in a different medium than I do. He hasn’t posted new content in a while. “I don’t know how you’re still posting daily.”
“Me neither,” I admit. “It’s not like nothing happens.”
“Well, it’s sorta like that,” he replies.
I laugh. “Sorta. I suppose you’re right.” I hesitate for a moment before adding, “Staying at home all the time isn’t the most stimulating state of affairs. It’s true. But I don’t think that’s the only thing creators are up against these days.”
“Oh?” he says.
“Yeah,” I reply. “It’s more that your mental space is always being at least partly taken up by everything that’s going on in the world. The pandemic, social injustice, climate change. All of it is there in my brain pretty much all the time these days. When I’m not doomscrolling, I’ll find my mind nevertheless wandering back there.”
“I know what you mean,” he says.
“A lot of it isn’t anything new,” I say, “but it’s become harder to avoid. There’s something about staying at home that makes the old head-ass thing harder. Fewer distractions or something. This could be a good thing if change were quick or simple or something I could do on my own… but…”
“These are big problems that everyone needs to work on together,” he says.
I nod. “And the people who need to change the most are the ones who are least likely to. They’ve bought into a different worldview and are highly change-averse.” I shrug. “But they probably think the same about people like me. Except maybe with a few more colorful insults thrown in.”
“Anyway, I keep showing up. Keep writing whatever I can manage. I always know it’s not enough. That no matter what I do, it won’t be enough to fix things.”
“And that the comments you get are going to be way meaner than normal,” he says.
“You’re getting that too, huh?” I ask.
“Yup,” he says.
As the pandemic has wound on, people are understandably in a terrible mood. Desperately looking for dopamine (which can be quite easy to obtain by insulting others, destroying objects, or even via violence) just to feel like they’re having some kind of impact.
“I try not to take it personally,” he continues, “but when you’re already straining for new topics, feeling that dread about all the ways that people are going to misinterpret what you put out there and tear it, and you, down…”
“It doesn’t help,” I finish.
We talk for a while longer. Bandy some ideas back and forth. I leave the conversation hoping I’ve given him something to work with.