Hard Reset

From Amazing Spider-Man #50. Image credit: Marvel Comics

I almost posted a very different blog about my 2020 plans and expectations, but I had something of a revelation today concerning my approach to creativity:

It’s not working.

It made the original blog mostly irrelevant, but there are a couple of key points that will sneak their way into this one, too.

My wife noticed that I have been upset a lot, lately. Stressed. Short-tempered. I can barely hold it together for five minutes with our daughter before I lose patience. She said that I seem miserable and wanted to know what I needed to make things better.

Go on….

Quick Thoughts on “Finished, Not Perfect”

Homer's bad Florida costume for Lisa

Whoops! I got busy over the past couple of weeks, which has kind of wrecked my blogging productivity. I didn’t have quite enough time to get everything done just the way I wanted. I didn’t have time to get everything perfect, so nothing got done.

I did it wrong. I forgot the code: “Finished, Not Perfect.”

Go on….

My 2018: What Worked and What Didn’t

Big Show is Baby New Year?!

All right, so, I didn’t know what to expect from 2018. It was my first full year as a parent, and with parenthood came lots of changes, lots of challenges, and a lot of stress. It wasn’t a bad year, but it was a struggle to stay rested and focused on anything for more than 15 minutes at a time. It was a year in which it was especially important to remember that creativity, goals, and life, in general, are all marathons, not sprints. One of my coworkers suggested that a child’s first birthday party should be less of a birthday party for them, and more of a party celebrating the survival of everybody involved. As a dad who did not adjust well to becoming a parent, I must say that it’s hard to disagree with that sentiment. Then again, I don’t know that any new parent just falls into the role with perfect grace and poise, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about having a hard time figuring it all out.

Anyway, you can probably tell what we’re going to be talking about a lot in this entry. How did the baby affect me creatively, personally, and so on? As I’ve been looking back, thinking about what to say, I find that I am judging myself harshly, so I am challenging myself to make sure this is a constructive entry and not just a means of bashing myself, which I am wont to do. Give me a break, self! It was a tough year!

Go on….

Transitioning from a Night Owl to a Morning Person to Get More Work Done, Better

Garfield Comic from April 13, 1998

Wowie zowie. It’s been a busy couple of weeks! Following two fun, but hectic weekends, overflowing weekdays, a baby too fascinated by exploration to sleep, and a travel-heavy Thanksgiving holiday (including two Thanksgiving dinners and my cousin’s fabulous wedding), it’s no wonder I didn’t update the blog last week, or that I’m running late this week. The explosion of activities that comes with the autumn season, combined with colder weather and shorter days (plus the possibility that my first year as a dad is finally catching up to me) means I am more exhausted than I have ever been in my entire life. I always have high hopes for productive evenings once wife and baby are asleep, but I rarely make it another hour before I’m in bed, myself. Not only that, I am so bleary-eyed and unfocused by the end of the day that the hour before bed has been devoted to devouring old G.I. Joe comics and Nintendo Switch rather than getting any work done. I just can’t think.

Go on….

No Time? No Problem!

For the next five minutes, Apu is going to party like it's on sale for $19.99

This is the post every blogger has made at least once. It’s the inevitable “I don’t have time to blog about my original topic, so I’m going to blog about not having time to blog” post. Unfortunately, both blogging (well, my original post, anyway) and comics took a backseat to some of the more important things in life this week—family time, personal health and responsibility, some weedeating I kept running out of time to finish, and so on.

When I get busy and don’t have time to work on passion projects, I have often felt like a failure. I used to build this nonsensical bubble, encompassing a certain amount of time, that I couldn’t see past. For instance, let’s say it’s the weekend. I decide I’m going to do a bunch of creative work and be super-productive. I build my bubble around that goal, not taking into account my chores, or family time, grocery-shopping, errand-running, or that get-together that’s been on the calendar for weeks that I knew was coming. When all is said and done, the weekend is over, and no creative work got done in my all-important bubble. I was crushed. I would obsess over how I maybe could have done things differently to squeeze in more time. And, since I often couldn’t see past the bubble, I sometimes even worried that I was running out of time in my life to get things done. All because I didn’t get the work done I wanted to do in a period of time that couldn’t realistically accommodate it, anyway.

Go on….

How to Make Comics The Big Skink Way!

How to Draw!

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks telling you about these crazy comics that I make. But, I haven’t told you how I do it. How does a comic develop from that fuzzy idea I had at 2 a.m., stumbling around in the dark, looking for the bathroom, to a finished product on somebody’s bookshelf or in their Facebook feed? Read on. Despite the impostor syndrome creeping its way into the corners of my subconscious as I write this, I would like to believe I have done enough work to be able to tell you a thing or two about my creative process and why it works for me.

The most important thing to remember is that this is a guide, not a set of rules. Everybody works in their own way, and only certain methods and tools work for certain people. No matter your passion, develop a system that plays to your strengths.

Go on….

Consistency, or Lack Thereof

Inconsistency.

This is another one of those blogs in which I talk myself through a problem I have. I hope that it is helpful for me, and maybe for you, as well.

When I was a bowler in high school, there was one particular Saturday afternoon in which I was the only member of my team who could make it, and the opposing team only had one guy show up, as well. While our absent teammates’ handicaps played into the scoring, it was, essentially, a one-on-one match-up. My opponent was a nice kid a couple of years younger than me. Quiet, no trash talk, no hot-dogging. He was just there to bowl, like me.

I had a not-so-great day on the lanes. A strike here or there, a bunch of splits, and I couldn’t pick up a spare if a dude was standing at the ball return paying me money to do it. I think I carried a 160 average that year, but if I had to guess my scores that day, they would have been probably 115, maybe one good game at 170, and 137. Meanwhile, my opponent, a developing bowler in his own right, had a career day. If his average was 140, he bowled a 210, a 180, and a 190-something that afternoon. While my opponent wasn’t much of an underdog, he was an underdog. And I was beaten handily.

At the end of the third game, I sat, dejectedly, changing my shoes at the scoring table. My opponent approached and said simply, “You lack consistency.” He wasn’t being mean, just offering a critique of my afternoon. He was so correct that I didn’t know how to respond. I just sighed and said, “Yeah.”

Go on….