Self Care for Artists: A Personal Journey

I’ll be blunt – I have generalized anxiety disorder.

It’s not that people make me go, “Oh no I said the wrong thing they’re gonna’ hate me etc.” That’s social anxiety. I don’t have that. I do not fear making a dang fool of myself in front of other people.

No. My anxiety stems more from future-based thinking. Specifically, I’m REALLY good at worst-case scenarios. And my trigger for cooking up worst-case scenarios is getting a bit of unexpected (especially bad) news.

So, in a video I made fairly recently, I said that my living situation was looking to change within the next year. That’s because of two things:

  1. I currently rent my house from my mom while she and her boyfriend do the RV-lifestyle thing. And,
  2. Mom said (at the time of the video) that she was looking to sell the house I’m currently renting within the next year.

She has since changed her timeline and decided the house won’t be listed for 2 to 3 years at the soonest. But when I first got the news, when she told me the 1-year plan, my anxiety kicked into High Time Worst-Case Scenario Cooking Mode.

That, coupled with dealing with my emotions around the death of my grandfather at the beginning of the year – and those feelings resurfacing because we sold/auctioned off the estate – meant that I was in Emotional Shutdown.

Right on the same week that The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 on KickStarter wrapped up, and right around the same time that one of my side hustles decided, “you should work 35 hours this week!”

So there was a period where I took 4 days off of EVERYTHING in order to take care of myself. No studio work. No side hustles. No freelance. Nothing.

And in that four day period, and in the days after, I had a realization.

The thing is, I’ve made drawing and making art my full-time thing. Drawing and making art is what pays my rent, my groceries, and basically everything else. I do not regret making my art be able to do this, and I’m proud of the fact that my art can do this.

BUT.

There are a lot of self-care guides out there that recommend that people “make art” as part of taking care of themselves and having time to relax.

Let me be clear: I do make art for self-care, as well as for work. It’s just that the art I make for self-care is VERY different from the art I make for work.

I love comics. Otherwise I wouldn’t have made it my job.

But when I’m in Emotional Shutdown Mode, I do not draw comics. That’s work. Instead, I crochet. I bake. I paint. I do anything but make comics.

Most importantly, I discovered – when I take care of myself, I WRITE.

I’ve been writing so god-diddly-dang much these past two weeks, but not on email newsletters or comic scripts or blog posts.

I write stories.

(Granted, the one story I’ve been writing for self-care purposes is fan-fiction, but it still counts as writing. The act of writing, whether fan-fiction or not, is an act of practicing the skill.)

Do all of these stories I write for self-care become comics I make? God no. Especially the fan-fiction. That shit is for ME.

But for some reason, writing is the catharsis that makes me less angsty. It is the thing that stops the Emotional Shutdown train of thought. And it is the first thing I turn to whenever I feel the Worst-Case-Scenario-Cooking Mode begin.

If you’re an artist, I hope this helps you get some ideas of what you can do for your own self-care. Yes, making art is great. Making art for a living is even better. But you don’t have to be making art all the time in order to be valid.

It’s ok to take time for yourself. And it’s ok if taking care of yourself looks like something besides making art. You have permission to not make art in order to take care of yourself.

Thanks for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

LGBTQ Myths and Facts

This was written as an op-ed piece for submission to my local newspaper – which ran an article discussing how 3 West Virginia state lawmakers support and even endorse the idea that LGBTQ people are “the next Ku Klux Klan.”

It came to my attention that there are now 3 lawmakers in West Virginia who endorse the idea that the LGBTQ community is on the same level as the Ku Klux Klan.

So I thought it would be helpful to debunk some myths about the LGBTQ community.

Myth #1: “LGBTQ people are neo-Nazis!”

No.

It’s widely known that Nazis hated and persecuted Jewish people. Less well-known is that Nazis persecuted LGBTQ people, as well. Nazis would mark them with a badge bearing a pink triangle. Those with the pink triangle would be sent to concentration camps, just like the other “undesirables.”

Part of the reason the Pride flag has a pink stripe is to honor that history. Think of the POW MIA “You Are Not Forgotten” flag. That’s the same sentiment for why pink is in the Pride flag. It’s also a way for the LGBTQ community to reclaim the color pink as a positive color, not a color to be used to persecute them.

Myth #2: “LGBTQ people are terrorists like the Ku Klux Klan!”

No.

The Ku Klux Klan doesn’t just chase after black people, though that’s their most obvious target for their hate. The KKK is not a fan of LGBTQ people, because of their “sinfulness” and “perversion.” The KKK is an extremist Christian terrorist group. They takes the concept of “love thy neighbor as thyself” to mean “love the neighbor that’s most like me,” and to “correct” or eliminate anyone who does not fit their standard.

However, this leads to the next myth…

MYTH #3: “The LGBTQ community is violent!”

Are you talking about the Stonewall Riots of 1969? Because those riots were against a police force who had been actively targeting LGBTQ people, especially transgender folks, and shipping them off to prison for violating dress code laws. (Yes, dress code laws were a thing. Dress code laws were partially why women wearing pants was unheard of pre-1960.)

Nowadays, LGBTQ people are no more or less violent than the general population. But it is noteworthy that the most common defense for LGBTQ people accused of being violent is “self-defense.”

MYTH #4: “Political correctness is too rampant! That’s why gay perversion is allowed!”

Let’s make one thing clear: “politically correct” means to have actions and motives in line with whoever is in power at the time. Our current president has made it clear he does not tolerate LGBTQ people, by banning transgender troops from the military and repealing many laws that protect LGBTQ people from housing and job discrimination.

In this era, the politically correct thing to do is to discriminate, even hate, against the LGBTQ community because that’s the standard the President and Republicans in Congress have set. They are the ones in charge (for now).

So, if you want to be politically incorrect, and go against the people in charge, wave the Pride flag. Be friends with your lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender neighbors. And above all, don’t kick out your children who come out to you as one of these qualifiers. And don’t send them to conversion therapy, either. Conversion therapy is politically correct because that’s what the President and Republicans in Congress want.

Asking the Right Questions (To Grow Your Business)

There’s been some factors outside of my control lately that have made me brainstorm ways to grow my business.

Unfortunately, it can be easy to fall into the trap of brainstorming new content and social media management ideas – but those won’t really solve the problem of, “How do I grow my business?”

So I stepped back and had to ask myself the right questions. And that’s what I talk about in this video.

I hope you find this useful in your own entrepreneurial endeavors.

If you have any questions, though, please leave a comment below! I will do my best to help.

What Does a KickStarter Scam Email Look Like? Well…

You come across a LOT of junk mail and bull-crap whenever you run a KickStarter campaign, whether it’s your first time or your tenth.

As it turns out, The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 is my tenth campaign on KickStarter. And, true to form, I’ve been getting messages from total strangers saying that they “can help boost this campaign to millions of people” and that they know “the best outlets to promote this KickStarter to” so I should “reply to this email ASAP to jump on this unique opportunity.”

But there was ONE email that I got recently that stood out to me… for all the wrong reasons.

First, this is not the first time this guy emailed me. He had sent a previous email starting with, “I get it. You’ve seen thousands of messages from people saying they can help your campaign” (which I have). But the difference was this NEW guy emailing me called himself “a guru in crowdfunding.”

Pro tip: never call yourself a guru of anything. You sound pretentious and it’s step number 1 of making sure I delete your email.

But shortly after that one, he sent me a NEW email.

Here, I’ll show you a screencap of this thing. Don’t worry, I’ll censor out the guy’s email, name, and face. Just pay attention to the email text:

In case you can’t see it, the email says, “we’ve chosen The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 as our weekly “what could this campaign be doing better?” round table discussion.”

Already off to a bad start. I know what I can do better. This is my TENTH campaign. And I already made the fixes before this dude sent me this message.

And he adds, “We choose one very lucky campaign and go through it top-to-bottom to see what you can do better.”

This is the most slimy sentence I’ve come across.

And I’m saying this as someone who’s sat through brutal art class critiques and read thousands of pages of copy other people have written to promote their work.

I’m saying this as someone who studied marketing and promotional materials during college AND after. That sentence is slimy.

Why is this sentence slimy? Because it is preying on the email recipient’s insecurity about their campaign.

Whether you’re running your first campaign or your hundredth, there will always be a bit of insecurity that you feel when you launch. Will this thumbnail stand out? Did I make enough rewards? Did I overprice one of these tiers? Etc.

That sentence in that email is designed to snag onto that insecurity and make the email recipient feel like they NEED help.

Trust me: you do not need help from a guy like this.

I’ve had better luck getting help from ComixLaunch, and I found that program to be very hit and miss for me. Again, I’ve run ten successful KickStarter campaigns, and The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 is looking to be my eleventh successful one.

Never trust a dude who would use sentences like that, no matter how professional or “well-meaning” the rest of the email sounds.

I hope this helps you if you’re looking to start crowdfunding – or even if it helps you spot similar emails in the future. I hope this blog post has helped you spot what kind of language to watch out for and what to avoid.

Best of luck to you, and thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

NOW ON KICKSTARTER: The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1

HOLY BANANA PANTS, it’s finally here – The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 is now on KickStarter, looking for funding to get to print!

Patreon support has helped make the production of each individual page possible. But KickStarter will help cover the gap to get this first issue to print.

The book will include a never-before-published short comic about Captain O’Malley (just how DID she lose her arm?). Plus there will be behind-the-scenes sketches showing how pages for the comic are made.

Among the rewards available for backers, there’s commissions, WANTED poster-style mini-prints, and even a new 11 x 17 inch print!

So if you can back this KickStarter campaign, please do so BEFORE JUNE 20.

Broke? Share this campaign with your friends. Every share helps.

Want to back the campaign, but don’t see a reward you like? Hit me up via email at kelci(at)kelcidcrawford.com and I’ll work with you.

That’s all for now. Thank you for your support!

You. Are. Awesome.