This blog was first published on my Patreon page earlier in the year.
What strange, cruel and uncertain times we live in.
First of all, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
Here in the UK, our lockdown is slowly easing, but we seem to be heading straight for a third peak…
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic I’ve seen a lot of trite posts on social media about taking advantage of the free time we now have – often guilt-tripping people into being more productive while they’re stuck at home.
In particular, a lot of creators feel that they should pump out more content during lockdown – after all, most people have more free time in which to consume it (provided they see it through notoriously fickle social media algorithms).
Except. This free time isn’t like being on holiday, because, you know, there’s a worldwide pandemic and lots of other horrible shit going on, and such cataclysmic events tend to make people anxious and weary. I myself have anxiety disorder, and while it’s mostly under control thanks to years of CBT and recent meds, all this uncertainty, illness and death is sapping my energy. Some days are really tough, and that isn’t great for the creative impulse. It’s easier than ever to get burnt out and overwhelmed.
Of course, creating can be a welcome respite – a chance to do something for yourself.
I’ll repeat that. A chance to do something for yourself.
The whole devaluation of the arts through the transience of internet culture is a Whole Thing that I get very mad about – creators are under ridiculous pressure to pump out relevant and timely ‘content’ for their ‘brand’ (ew ew ew) so that they get more likes, more attention. With everyone in lockdown, that pressure is even worse.
But fellow creatives, please… Stop trying to be viral during a virus.
Turn off your phone for a bit. Stay away from the news for a few hours. Draw/create something just for you. Allow yourself to rest, to heal, to deal with any health conditions or mental health issues you’re facing. If you feel sufficiently refreshed after that, great! If not, that’s okay. Have more time to rest and process it all. It’s a lot.
Many creators have turned to making masks and PPE for health workers, which is truly noble – however many others are collapsing, unable to secure Government funding, and that only adds to the pressure to burn themselves out trying to make it work. So I ask you to please try and support small businesses during this time (if your financial means allow, of course). Even sharing the work of an artist you like on your socials will help.
If you don’t know where to start, try the following links:
Etsy’s curated list of LGBTQ+ businesses: https://www.etsy.com/pride?campaign_label=new_at_etsy&utm_source=adhoc&utm_campaign=etsy_newatetsy_061520_pride&utm_medium=email
List of LGBTQ+ food companies: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jesseszewczyk/queer-owned-food-companies
Buttcape has helpfully provided lists of black-owned kawaii and goth/punk brands you can support: https://stephano.me/fashion/blog/black-owned-goth-brands-list/
A list of over 2000 black-owned Etsy shops: https://themadmommy.com/black-owned-etsy-shops/
Etsy’s own curated list of black-owned shops: https://www.etsy.com/featured/blackownedshops
Finally, don’t pester your favourite creators for content – you don’t know what challenges they’re facing in relation to on top of everything else. A quick message asking if they’re okay is much nicer than demanding to know where the next comic page is!
Take care everyone, and stay safe!