reflectedeve: Pearl from Steven Universe, in a tux and top hat (the aftermath is secondary - into the de)
[personal profile] reflectedeve
Yesterday's [community profile] processfest prompt was Multiple Projects, and how (or whether) to juggle them. This is especially relevant to where I am in my creative life right now!

Over the last few years, largely influenced by grad school and my involvement with the indie comics community, I've had a habit of juggling lots of projects. I have this graphic novel idea and that graphic novel idea and the porn anthology I'm editing (and contributing to) and these anthologies I want to submit to plus maybe a few more over there, a friend's wedding invitation, various gifts, art exchanges with peers ... and a few fandom challenges and exchanges too, of course (though I pared way down in school with all the deadlines).

It does keep things fresh, but ... it also keeps me constantly distracted. What I want more than anything is to write long stories, graphic novels or what have you. Grad school, of course, made that impossible (time constraints and assignments), but I was continually unsatisfied by all the short stories I was churning out, even though they were good experiences in many ways. They all felt like false starts, like they had characters that wanted developing and concepts that weren't suited to the format, because that's just not how I'm inclined to write. This fall I announced the intention to launch a major ongoing story at last ... and promptly got sucked into a complicated dance of different projects. A work-for-hire piece, multiple anthology submissions, etc etc. Planning for that longer work fell to the wayside, where it should have been central.

This past weekend, I made a decision: I'm going to try and whittle down to that one thing only, more or less. It's just too involved, trying to plan out a whole book/ongoing series (I'm not sure what to call it, tbh) with all these other things on my plate. It's thematically complex, and while I don't have to have every detail worked out in advance (I can't), I need to have some kind of basic plan to start with, and a good portion scripted in advance so that I can settle into a rhythm of posting pages. Plus, comics are just so labor-intensive. It's going to take time to build up and maintain a buffer (pages drawn in advance of update times, to be sure they're ready to go; very important webcomics practice). I'm just literally not going to have time to juggle as many things. This would all probably be different if I were writing my graphic novel(s) behind the scenes, preparing to submit to more traditional publishers, but the webcomic format has a lot of benefits that appeal to me (not the least of which is the extra motivation to keep working at a regular pace).

Once I've been doing it for awhile (and possibly starting to get a little restless), I think I can start picking up other projects. (Probably shorter side things; I can't imagine being able to balance two graphic novels at once. Not the production, anyway. I'm always taking notes on other stories, saving them up for later!)

So, I'm in the process of transitioning to singular focus (more or less). I do have to finish that one work for hire story (although that one was written by someone else, and I've already thumbnailed the visuals out, so it's much less intellectually involved). And taking a quick dip in someone else's canon is a good way to refresh myself ... stand-alone fanart pieces don't take too much time, and break things up nicely. But I'm dropping my plans to pitch to a REALLY exciting anthology, and I'm not picking up any other involved work (original or fan) for the timebeing.

This kind of sucks in some ways. It's a really exciting anthology, and half the cartoonists I know are submitting to it. And also, I'm not hurting for ideas; I have at least three or four long-form comic concepts in various stages of development, along with all the little projects and opportunities that pop up along the way. And sometimes I just want to throw myself headlong into a fandom and devote myself to nothing but it, the way I did with bandom for awhile there. But I know what my goal is, and this seems like the right way to work towards it. (I can always change it up.)

Besides, some of my reluctance isn't really mine. I've been influenced to feel like I should take every opportunity at visibility. Market market market. "Keep up" with my peers/colleagues. My erotica's been getting a lot of attention on tumblr? I should capitalize on that! Well ... that's someone else's idea of success in my field. It's time to trust my own.
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reflectedeve: Pearl from Steven Universe, in a tux and top hat (Default)

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