Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Serving time

It’s August, which is as good a time as any to have another crisis. In most respects I’m a happy, well adjusted boy these days but this urge I have to be creative is a terrible nuisance. Yes, I’m talking about the comic again – the new lease of life I found a month ago didn’t last long and it’s becoming a bane once more. Despite cutting back my output, the increased complexity of the strips means that they’re taking up pretty much the same amount of time that they did before. In other words, far too much. This wouldn’t be so bad if I was happy with the output – I’m not averse to hard work – but I don’t work well under pressure and frankly the current story is a farcical mess. I have no idea how it’s going to end because I’m making it up as I go along and if the artwork has improved then it’s offset by the appalling scripts which I’m embarrassed to put my name to. If you feel even remotely inclined to disagree with this then I’m afraid your standards are not high enough. It’s all having a negative effect on my disposition because I’ve become militant about protecting my spare time. It was my sister’s birthday on Sunday and we all went out for a meal. I got to spend some time with my nephews and it should have been very pleasant, but all the while I was thinking this is my one day of comic drawing and I’m losing five hours of it. I was snappy to my mother during the journey and was generally a miserable git. I felt the same this evening when my friend Paul popped round. He was out for a walk and dropped in for a chat but instead of feeling grateful I just saw it as another half hour lost. In short, the comic has taken over my life. I kind of expected that when I started, and I was happy to devote myself to it, but again it was on the understanding that I’d feel fulfilled by the output. I’m not though. I’m not proud of a single one of the strips.

So again I find myself considering my options. When I threatened to quit last time I eventually reasoned that at least the comic had a grounding, a platform to work from. Any new project would be starting from scratch and would probably engender the same insecurities somewhere down the line. But should you do something you enjoy, or something that might take you somewhere? Can both these things coexist? At work this week I’ve been rebuilding the company website from scratch and loving it. Building websites is a pure joy to me (which was probably obvious from 22 versions of Hermit Guide), but I never had the content to complement the design. I don’t even know what I would consider to be a successful venture. Do I actually need to make my stamp on the world? Is a small pockmark bearing my name really the key to creative fulfilment? And what if I’m confusing creative fulfilment with personal fulfilment? Would the former betray the latter? The only thing I know for sure is that I can’t sit back and do nothing – and that, as I said, is a terrible nuisance.

3 comments:

Josh said...

The whole point of spending your spare time doing something creative is that it's fun! If it's slowly sucking the life of of you than you should stop, I've left jobs for this very reason!

I would not have guessed you were making it up as you went along! Is it just a coincidence that one character is looking for a 'mysterious' talent to show off whist another has just developed one?

Graham said...

You could call it a coincidence but I suspect that on a subconscious level it's anything but.

editingrequired said...

sir, as you note, any time is a good time for a crisis...
don't worry, however, after not being listened to time and time again during previous crises, the last thing i'm about to do is plea for the comic to continue or for you to start believing in yourself and your abilities...
and, while my standards are, generally, so low, as to be considered sub-standards, i won't stoop to the levels of brown-nosery required to keep you, and it, going...
but, as regards the $64,000 question of whether you should do things you enjoy or those that take you somewhere, i do believe both are possible...
if you're smart or lucky enough to work out what the first are, then all you have to do (and this harder than it sounds...) is work out where exactly it is that you want to go...
it does sound as if the website thing may be just your thing, so why not look into doing more of it?
damn, why not create websites -- incorporating your comix, writing, and anything else you feel like, but subject to no timeframes and constraints... -- that fulfil your creative urges, just for the helluvit?