Adjusting To Life As An Artist During A Pandemic

Adjusting To Life As An Artist During A Pandemic

Three weeks ago I was exhausted. I was on a twelve-week touring jag with a single week off in the middle of it.

I was planning to be in Georgia, Florida, out in the Caribbean on a cruise ship, in Colorado, Chicago, and who knows where else.

There were keynotes, performances for adults and children, and multi-generational audiences, and I was ready.

I was ready to drive, fly, and boat to places unknown to find people who were happy to share stories with me.





Fifteen thousand dollars drained out of my budget in less than twenty-four hours.

Festivals ended. The world shut its doors and told me to stay out…or in.

Megan Hicks, me, Jessica Robinson, Sheila Arnold

My husband and I drove to Virginia for the Woman’s Festival. It snuck in just as everything was closing down.

Wanna watch some of the stories??? Click Here

We left VA, came home to NC, and locked ourselves in.

Our son had gotten his first true nibble on a job at a video game company…meeting canceled.

My daughter’s university shut down and she came home to do distance learning.

The Mister works as a Social Worker at Duke Medical, got a cold, and was sent home for a week.

In the meantime………I WAS NOT ON TOUR!

This is not a shocking thing. Nobody is on tour. All artists are in the same odd boat.

Well, there was only one thing to do. I had to make everything start again.

The brilliant Sheila Arnold

Financially, I was all right, but I knew that wasn’t the case for lots of performers out there. Something needed to be done.

Sheila Arnold descended from the heavens and said, “Let’s go.”

Sheila and I started a group called Artists Standing Strong Together. It was a way to gather information about resources, classes, festivals, and anything else we thought our community needed.

A Facebook page was created by Jim Brule, and Sheila stated holding online chats, festivals, and story sharing. Did I mention she’s amazing?

Jim holds Sunday classes on using virtual tools.

Artists Standing Strong Together, or ASST (assist)  also set in motion a fund for storytellers who are having trouble, and we intend to keep it going after this crisis is over. It will help new storytellers bridge the gap as they build an audience, and help others if they fall on unexpected problems.

(I promise I will get the links up as soon as we have them!)

I am an introvert by nature. Once Sheila was well underway, I became back-up. I have to be. I am too scattered to run an organization.

Meanwhile, I have been participating in online international festivals, local festivals, speaking on panels and attending meetings.

Finished editing a book. I sent it to my editor. I got more feedback from a friend I trust. Liked the feedback, waiting to see what my editor says. Know what to fix if I need to.

Started thinking about the next writing project.

Kelly Starling Lyons!

I am hosting a Story Lab on the 20th with an amazing author and friend Kelly Starling Lyons! I promise I’ll post more about this!!!

I’ve been recording a virtual artist in residence experience, am currently in the process of buying a video camera because I will be doing more of them, and planning to record concerts for the summer reading series if it has to be virtual…

My family is home! I’m making meals, but am I offering them the healthiest possible things I can? Another trip to the grocery store.

Family Game Night!


Have I done enough baking? I don’t see any more of those homemade donuts, I should get on that.

Oh, and I need to squeeze in a bike ride!

How much time have I been on the computer?

My husband works in a hospital. Totally not stressed about that.

MakeShift Recording Studio – No problem. GO!

Upload a new story!


I have been on lockdown for three weeks. Some of you have been on lockdown less and there are a few places that have been locked down longer.

The truth is we might be locked down until mid to late May or June.

I am the gremlin that lives inside my head that feeds me messages that make me nuts.

Do more!
Be more!
Give more!

Not doing enough!
Not being enough!
Not giving enough!

Telling the gremlin to be silent is not easy.

Now that my days are unstructured, and my time is my own, I have to remember that I am enough.

I have to remember that breathing is okay.

I have to remember that hot baths make all the difference.

I have to remember that every single day is a gift.

I have to remember that I am only one person.

I have to remember that I am loved.

I have to remember that I am capable.

I have to remember that I am enough.

As we go through this don’t forget that you are enough.

As for me?

Well, tomorrow I’m cleaning toilets, vacuuming, washing more floors, doing my daily doorknob cleaning, baking something sinful, reading with my husband, biking, planning some more virtual content, and spending time with my kids.

I’ll get back to my frantic pace on Saturday if I have time.

Take Care of Yourself

Wash Your Hands

Pace Yourself

Happy Sheltering in Place!!!