So, December is planning month.  Measure twice, cut once kind of idea.  At first I was jumping head first into these projects – but I’m trying to make more decisions ahead of time so that things don’t surprise me so much.

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If all goes well – I should have thumbnails and a script and some character designs for a a 22 page ish story that I’ll be tackling at a page a week.

My process is to sort of just make sure I spend time with the idea.  I have particular thoughts and feelings on creativity — I believe it’s a relationship with yourself – and like any relationship – you can’t be too demanding or impatient for results all the time – sure the occasional quicky is nice in a relationship – but the most satisfying parts of intimacy take time.

So, I’m just making sure I spend TIME with the idea as much as possible – and trust that somewhere between my feelings and my skills and my instincts – I’ll choose something I like (story-wise).

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I’m a big fan of – DO THE EASY ONES FIRST.

Any of you who have taken standardized tests know that part of doing well on the test isn’t just answering the questions right – it’s managing your time.

I’ll never forget the test taking advice I got in high school.  The teacher (I think it was Mr. Seargent) said, “Just go through and do the easy ones first.  Do all the ones you know, and get those out of the way.”

That way, you build up some confidence, and you get a bunch of the test done… and you also avoid the precarious sand trap of spending too much time on one question.

FOR WRITING:

If you know something about a character, or a bit, or an ending, or a joke – start there.  That’s the easy part.  Do what you know.  Start there – do the easy ones first.

Ideas lead to other ideas.  See where it leads….

So right now I’m starting with the parts I know, and seeing where it leads – and then playing a lot of WHAT IF….

If I get an idea for something, no matter how fleeting – I’ll try to flirt with it, spend a little time, see if it’s a good fit for the rest of the piece.

I know there are outline writers, and then the other writers who just go – I’m definitely not an outline writer – I have to feel my way through the piece – which means you can dispose of a lot of material – you generate a lot of material – but then you also don’t use a lot (but sometimes you could use it later).

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I try not to be too scared of my ideas – go up, talk to them, play with them – do things with them —

It’s kind of like that Dr. Seuss Quote: Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind, don’t matter.

The ones that matter will like you and your story, and the ones that don’t…. well they don’t matter 🙂

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Big Magic.

So, I have this strange relationship (I’m discovering) with both Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown.  I find them incredibly inspiring, and motivating, and sometimes very obnoxious.

This obnoxious feeling might stem from some kind of nerve they’re hitting and I’m getting defensive.  It’s not a strong urge, because I seem to like them both.

Brene Brown has some TED Talks – but here’s a great little cartoon they did of one of her topics on EMPATHY:

But this Big Magic book I just read (or listened to on Audible) was a sort of gentle reminder that it’s your responsibility to do the work and not to overthink it.

Gilbert contends that ideas, if not used, will float around to be used by someone else.  She even tells a story about a novel she did a lot of pre-work on about a rainforest in the Amazon, but she never finished the novel – years later she met a famous author, she eventually befriended – who years later – ended up writing a book (that was her own, own style, own feel, own voice) but was very similar to this idea Gilbert had.

(I’m blanking on the author, but she’s famous – I want to say it was Jodi Picoult or someone in that general arena)

So, she contends ideas are a sort of use it or you’ll lose it kind of thing.  This isn’t something to be precious about – anytime fear leads to inaction – it’s never rewarded.

I grew up in a fairly religious household – and a scripture that has always haunted me was the Parable of the Talents.

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You can click the link above for the actual scripture – but short of it is:

A landowner, gives some money to three different servants: I think it’s one, two, and five — the man with five went and worked and made it ten, the man with two worked and made it four, and the man with one – so afraid of failing – didn’t do anything, but at least kept the one.

I’ve been terrified of this scripture.  Call it my urge to please, or my general “peacekeeping” nature – but I’ve always been secretly terrified of becoming the jerk that didn’t do anything – that didn’t even try – that just had the one when it was all said and done.

PREPPING IN DECEMBRER:

I’m prepping for my next comic in Dec – and if you need encouragement – we’ll be starting a tumblr for it – you can chime in.  We’ve got some people from my Sip and Sketch also prepping during Dec – and we’ll be posting our pages on a weekly basis.

Some people can only do a panel a week, or a panel a month – but they’re doing it – and come april and then june – we’ll have a heck of a lot more done than we do now – and that’s great.