You may have noticed that, sometime in the last day, the declared update schedule for this comic switched from three days a week to one. As the placeholder says, WTF?
It all boils down to a response to criticism. Kind of a second-order effect of criticism. I can say, honestly, I wasn’t really happy with the criticism. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say it wasn’t accurate. When you are trying to be creative, there always comes a moment where you must choose between chasing perfection and compromise. There are points where I chose to compromise. Not necessarily proud of those compromises but it seemed to me that the product I was attempting to create was worth it. That is to say, the ends justify the means.
Faced with the criticism that I didn’t necessarily like, but couldn’t necessarily disagree with, I reached for that justification and found I couldn’t justify it to myself. It’s not that the product that I’m trying to create isn’t good enough in my own mind. It’s that, trying to look at it from an objective standpoint, it doesn’t look good enough unless you are in my own mind. Unless you know what I know. Which means that the story is failing.
You may not necessarily agree. If that’s the case, thank you. I will, sincerely, take that as a compliment. But things are not rising to meet my standards, and I didn’t notice that. Why would I not notice that?
Rhetorical question. I have been burning the candle at both ends since this comic started. That’s 65 updates three days a week with two or three weeks of various days off. Allowing for the fact that I was burning the candle at both ends for a month leading up to the actual start of the comic’s updates, that’s nearly 7 months of almost nonstop effort. Either on the comic or, what certainly takes up most of my time, just trying to survive.
This is not sustainable. I am not giving either the story or the art my best effort. If the comic were, even mildly, profitable there would be room for me to back off on the survival and direct more effort toward creativity. In order for the comic to be, even mildly, profitable I need to direct more effort toward creativity. I need regular up dates. I need that indispensable aspect of a business like this: As much engaging content as possible.
So there’s a vicious circle. I need to slow down so that I can create better content. I need more content so that I can spend less time doing things that are not creating content. If I slow down, I create less content.
Facing a (not altogether unexpected) bit of criticism, and finding that the justification I had given myself in advance of that criticism didn’t hold up was greatly disturbing. Essentially, I thought I knew what I was doing. I was surprised to find out that I was wrong. I suppose I could have lowered my expectations of myself. After all, there’s no particular shortage of content on deck. I could be creating more right now. Well, not right now. But I could be creating more after I finished work.
The issue is, I’ve lost confidence in the quality of that content. Not so much, again, what’s immediately on deck. There are three or four more strips that really have to happen no matter what direction I go with the story. The bottom line is, I should have spent more than that one month ahead of launch developing the process of creating the comic. I should have taken the time to go over the plot and scripts as a third draft to make it more punchy. Especially after I realized my initial intent to do an update every weekday wasn’t going to happen.
Three days a week is better than one. Three days a week of fairly mediocre content isn’t much better than nothing. So, I am going to take the time that I should’ve taken at the beginning. I am going to attempt to increase the quality, both of the presentation and of the story, such that I don’t have to take those compromises. I’m going to take the time to try and figure out how to make the process more efficient and more effective. Not only to deliver a better product, but also to end the pattern of burning this candle at both ends. Because that part is, probably, literally killing me. That’s literally, not figuratively.
I am prone to be harder on myself than I necessarily should. I don’t think I’m being hard on myself, in this particular situation. While I recognize that the threescore of comics I’ve already created weren’t as good as I thought they were, never mind them not being as good as I wanted them to be, I don’t think I could have done better under the circumstances. I do feel as if I have given the best effort and the best quality I could have. The problem is that I didn’t attempt to create better circumstances. And I think I could have done that. I think I still can.
In order for that to happen, I have to slow down somewhere. Since I can’t afford to slow down on food and rent, the pace of updates here is the only other option. John Cleese says that in order to be creative you need five things. Those five things are space, time, time, confidence, and humor. I haven’t been giving myself time. Not the first time. The second time. So that’s what I’m going to do. I hope you will forgive me.
The only other option would be to continue the unsustainable burn until I inevitably burned out. I have one goal that I do not wish to compromise. That is, that the only thing that will prevent me from publishing all of this story is not having enough money to pay for hosting. With that in mind, I will see you on Monday.
Thanks for reading.