Sunday, June 22, 2014

If you're ever able to attend an Artists U presentation, get thee there in a hurry!

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the ArtistsU/SC at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC. And let me tell you: it was awesomeness of the first water. There were all sorts of artists there at the conference: glass blowers, painters, sculptors, weavers, musicians, poets, writers. It was a conglomerate of phantasmagoria, a veritable treasure trove of aptitude. The entire room buzzed and glittered with talent, all so bright I considered keeping my sunglasses on.

Yes, I did have the passing wonderment of the typical insecure writer: just what the heck am I doing here? When did K.G. McAbee become an ARTIST? Doesn't she just write stories about zombies and monsters and the kick-assiest, smart-assiest women?

But one of the many things I learned at the conference was that all you other writers and artists are just as insecure and intimidated as I am. It's like a great big fancy club of the overwhelmed and apprehensive. How cool is that? Well, not cool exactly, but how reassuring and comfy.

Some of the things we discussed at the ArtistsU initiative:

1. Time management, as in making time for your art, whatever it may be.

2. Balancing your life, so that work/family/play/art all get their fair due.

3. That artists are workaholics. Wow! That was certainly eye-opening for me. I've always thought of myself as lazy, and I tend to beat myself up if I'm not producing massive amounts of words. Every. Single. Day. Seems that's not the most productive way to be. Who knew?

4. Strategic planning can help you reach your goals. Accomplish small steps, but don't be afraid to dream big.

5. Don't think you have to do everything. Find someone who likes to do—and is better at—what you hate to do.

And all sorts of other wonderful, useful, interesting ideas to try.

If you're interested in learning more, visit and click on Get the Book. You can download a free copy of MAKING YOUR LIFE AS AN ARTIST by the brilliant Andrew Simonet, which is an excellent compendium of all the information covered in the conference. Did I mention free? Go get it now!


  1. Ah, you have all the fun (g). Wish we could all get to Pulp Fest in August. That would be a blast. Oh, did you take pictures?

    1. I felt so intimidated! There were all sorts of real artists there...wait a minute! I'm an artist! See, I learned something. :-)
      Ooooh, I would love to go to Pulp Fest!

  2. I can attest - Making Your Life as an Artist is sort of like using a power-up in videogame when you're low on health. It's just what I needed when things seemed to be getting overwhelming. For me the best piece of advice (which I have to continually hammer into myself), was this: "Lead with what is most distinctive about your work, not with things that other artists do." That's hard, that's intimidating, and the more I try to do it, the less I suck it. I'm making progress!