Ways To Be Creative & Productive During A Crisis
This is a guest post by AirGigs top rated studio pro Katie Marie It’s part of an ongoing series we’re doing to help provide resources and practical tips during this crisis
There are a multitude of industries right now heavily impacted by the current pandemic. Here in Austin it’s been pretty devastating. Like many others in my community, I work as a full-time musician and a large portion of my salary is derived from playing live shows. In less than a week, 80% of my income over 3 months was wiped out, leaving me feeling rather fragile.
All of us are trying to find ways to stay positive and productive during this difficult time. We know this isn’t going to last forever and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But not knowing how long it will take before we reach that light weighs heavily on our minds.
Even in difficult times, the Austin art community is an incredibly supportive one and not only are artists helping each other, but music lovers are wanting to engage and support us in any way they can.
For those of you who find yourself in the same rather unpredictable situation as me, I wanted to share a few ways that we can be super productive during this crisis. But before I dive into any specifics, there are a couple of things I wanted to address first.
Dealing with Anxiety and Depression
I’m sure you’re already aware that as artists and creatives, we are by nature sensitive souls.
Over the past few weeks, many of my musician friends have been battling with panic attacks and depression, both of which were triggered by the current situation.
If you haven’t done so already, I would highly recommend starting a relaxation routine and sticking to it every day. Even doing just 15mins a day will make a huge difference.
Personally, I do a mixture of Yoga and Meditation, but you might also want to look into Tai Chi and Chi Gong.
There are dozens of free resources online and in the app store to get you started. Some of my favourites include DoYogawithMe.com, Mindful.org and Headspace.com.
Make the first goal to get your stress levels down and then begin with your creative tasks. You’ll be a lot more productive that way!
Structure Your Days and Make Lists
Not only will this help with productivity, it’ll almost certainly alleviate any of the above-mentioned issue you may be dealing with.
Structure your days. Write down all you’d like to achieve during this time and schedule it into your week. Set realistic goals and work your way through each one. Now is the time to tackle those jobs you never had time for! It is highly unlikely we will ever have this much free time again, so let’s make the most of it by getting stuff done.
Here are a few ways we can stay creative during these strange times.
I love my job as a side musician and adore playing tons of shows. But if I got a penny for every time I said ‘I wish I had more time to write songs’, I’d be very rich indeed!
This is the perfect time to work on new material, edit old songs and hone your craft.
Not only are there lots of online resources for songwriting, there are also some wonderful books out there (one of my favourites is 6 Steps to Songwriting Success by Jason Blume, Jason also has a fantastic blog on his website: JasonBlume.com).
A lot of people I know have signed up to songwriting groups on Facebook. These groups usually set daily, weekly or monthly challenges based on a specific theme or topic. You could even start your own group with some friends.
If you find yourself struggling for inspiration, be sure to check my blog post here on Airgigs for Overcoming Writer’s Block.
Recording and Releasing New Music
If you have your own recording set-up at home, now would be a good time to record some of those shiny new songs you’ve written. Everyone is eager to support indie artists right now, so get stuck into recording and release some music!
I’ve also been using this time to study recording techniques and their application. I’ve been reading some extremely helpful books (my favourite has been Modern Recording Techniques by David Miles Huber) as well as taking one on one Skype lessons with Isha Erskine who is a Grammy award winning engineer and a fantastic teacher.
Update Your Website
How about giving your website an overhaul? Is there anything you could improve? Any new features you could add? Anything you can update such as photos? It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to add donate buttons if you haven’t already.
Social Media Content & Online Shows
Now is the time to really connect with your online followers. Think creatively and offer your fans interesting and exciting content that will keep them engaged and wanting to see what you do next. With so many shows being cancelled, online streaming seems to be the obvious alternative that everyone is gravitating towards. Whichever website you choose to stream shows (Facebook, Stageit, Twitch etc) make sure that all of your followers from every platform know when and where your shows will be happening. Create fun content before, during and after the concert and give people an incentive to tune in again next time.
Start a Patreon Page
If you’re offering up quality content to your fans and they’re really enjoying it, consider creating a Patreon page and asking your followers to donate. Now that you have more free time, you could also offer exclusive Patreon only content as well as what you are already creating. As mentioned earlier, right now music lovers are actively seeking ways to support musicians so that they can continue to make art and Patreon is the perfect solution for both fans and artists.
If you have your own recording set-up at home and some experience recording remotely for others, I’d highly recommending checking out AirGigs.
I’m proud to say I’ve been an AirGigs member since 2013 and it continues to be a big part of my non- performing income. Setting up a profile is very easy and costs nothing but your time, and unlike other websites offering similar services, AirGigs doesn’t charge a monthly fee.
Right now, everything is a little weird and unpredictable, but this isn’t going to last forever, and while we need to find sources of income right now, also make sure to set yourself up for when this is all over. Your website should look fantastic, your social media content should be really engaging, and you’ll hopefully have dozens of new songs to play at shows. Keep in contact with venue owners and be the first to know when they are starting to book live music again. Also know that they too are seriously struggling in the current climate. Ask if there’s any way you can help them during this difficult time by promoting GoFundMe campaigns etc.
Above all else, be kind to others, don’t forget to breathe deeply and know that we’re all in this together. We’re going to be ok. Pinky promise.