abrasiveMedia’s Order Of Procedures For Potentially Really Bad Situations Caused by Grown-Up Artist-Humans

1. Panic

The sky is falling, the world is ending, you can’t find your favorite pen, no one likes you, everything is pointless, life has no meaning, you’re reaching the end of your prime, someone else got there first, money is stupid.

2. Find Towel

You mean you’re trying to do all of this without a towel? For shame.

3. Don’t Panic

If the sky is falling you should grab your camera as that will be a really great shot, the world has been ending since slightly before the dawn of human civilization, you can love a new pen after a significant breaking in period, some people can at least tolerate you on your best days, nothing is pointless if it means you’ll get a decent story out of it to tell at parties during conversational lulls, life has debatable meaning, who gets to define what age is and can we vote them off of whatever committee they are on, the person who got there first may have had to cut a path on which to get there through a bunch of weeds and possibly has a terrible case of chiggers as a result, money is in fact stupid.

A row of yellow towel hooks on a green wall. A green towel is hanging on the last hook on the right.

4. Brew Tea

Never attempt to strategize without tea! Worlds have fallen over less. To brew a proper cup of tea, use 1-1.5 teaspoons of the tea of your choice for 8 oz of water. Black tea: pour the water just off the boil, brew for 3-5 minutes. Serve with milk and sugar if you like. Green tea: heat water to 175 degrees, or place an ice cube on the tea leaves if your kettle can’t adjust for temperature, and brew for 1-2 minutes. White tea: 165 degrees, or use the ice cube trick, and brew for 1 minute. Herbal tea: boil some water, pour it over the tea. Brew for 6-8 minutes, or just forget about it and heat it up later.

5. Or, There May Be Whiskey

If tea isn’t enough, and the coffee you’ve been on all day is making you both overestimate your own capabilities and never be able leave the loo, there is always whiskey (or your poison of choice). We’re not saying that whiskey is almost always hidden somewhere in the office. If you drink the last of the whiskey we didn’t tell you about, please replenish the supply. Or, if you are someone who finds money to be so stupid that you possess none, inform someone with money that we are out.

6. Make-up a Solution

Little known fact: if you can provide seemingly sound and logical arguments for your decisions which embrace some, if not all, of abrasiveMedia’s values (whilst only spending your pre-determined allocation of money), our beloved Overlord (or “Executive Director”) will probably approve. If she does not approve, the punishment by flogging is really quite minimal, so what do you have to worry about? Another little known fact: all Grown-up Artist-Humans are making sh** up, and the most successful among us are just better at hiding this fact.

7. Stop Caring So Much

We’re not saying that what you are no longer panicking about isn’t important (note: if you’re still panicking, either restart the Order Of Procedures For Potentially Really Bad Situations from Step 2, or just hang out on Step 5 for a moderate amount of time). But if you care too much, you will think too little, and make choices based on the hills you refuse to die on, which is probably what got you into this Potentially Really Bad Situation to begin with.

8. Hold a Meeting

Who doesn’t love a good meeting? It has everything: rambling soliloquies, redundant information, handouts, group problem-solving, and around here, Legos. After all, it’s quite possible you got yourself into this Ginormous Mess because you don’t actually know what you’re doing and need more practice at hiding the fact that you’re making sh** up. Schedule your meeting in advance and invite some know-it-alls, a couple bull-sh**tters, a wise guy, and at least one person who is really good at taking notes. The outcome of this meeting may inspire you towards an utterly new and life-changing direction. At the very least, you’ll be distracted from your panic for 45 minutes to an hour and a half by mind-numbing inanity.

9. Risk Both Failure, and Success

You might have begun to panic after thinking way too much about your own artistic importance. This is The Worst Thing For Artist-Humans To Do, as such thinking makes you want to avoid everything that could lead to failure. If you never risk failure, you are probably an extremely boring individual. We are not afraid of risk-taking or of failure, and in fact have a secret “Plan For Repairing Failed Artist-Humans So That They Can Do More Potentially Crazy Things,” so never fear. Our plan is almost fool-proof; we’ve used it on many of you already. We wiped your memory of the entire experience for your own mental health. (The few washouts are farming strawberries just outside of Cleveland, and will neither confirm nor deny their existence.) Yet another little known fact: Success can be even scarier than failure. We have another secret plan to address your potential success. We’ll let you know when it becomes necessary.

10. Remember, We’re All In This Together

Fine, we admit it: we don’t always know what we’re doing. We just pretend to know, and present this “knowledge” through beautiful marketing material so that you don not consider otherwise. But what we lack in perfect knowledge, we make up for in shared insanity. Crazy people get remembered in the history books more often than the sane ones do, so at least there’s that. When you wonder why you started on this Whole Plan which you now suspect is Utterly Nuts, and begin to wonder if you shouldn’t have listened to your parents and become something more stable like a dental hygienist, just remember you’re not alone. (And there’s definitely whiskey hidden in the office.)

11. Just Do Sh**

While the official mission statement of abrasiveMedia has some fancy words and hopefully conveys some inspirational messages, the real mission statement is this: we just want to help artists keep doing sh**. Sitting around and talking about the sh** you’re going to do someday will get exactly zero sh** accomplished. Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it does produce a good-sized body of work, and that’s a better legacy than being another someday-artist who just talked about doing sh**. So go ahead and try. What’s the worst that could happen? Note: if thinking about the Worst That Could Happen causes you to Panic, start the Policies and Procedures from the top.

A group of office workers sitting awkwardly by the wall in a party, wearing multi-colored party hats.

12. When It’s All Done… Throw a Party!

Fact: if your celebration at the end of a project is cathartic enough, everyone who worked with you will forget 87% of the stress you put them through while accomplishing said project. That last 13% isn’t to be worried aboutallowing the continued awareness of that percentage of stress is what separates “People In Charge Of Awesome Creative Ventures” from “Cult Leaders.” Play some good grooves, open some bubbly, make loud toasts, dance like no one is watching, hide in the corner and hope no one talks to you. It’ll be a great time. Plus, most Artist-Humans are terrible at celebrating hard work well done. Or even just done. The resulting euphoria from the all the food, drinks, merriment, and sneaking out early to catch up on all that Netflix you haven’t had time for because of your Crazy Idea will fortify you for the Crazy Ideas to come. You’ll forget at least 63% of how your Totally (Mostly) Accomplished Creative Venture at one point felt like a Potentially Really Bad Situation, and you’ll be ready to go forth into the further unknown. Or at least, little explored. Or hopefully, not yet trite. It’ll all be worth it in the end. (We’re pretty sure.)