Debate and Discussion

Is there ever a moment...?
itsjustaar at 3:32AM, Dec. 31, 2010
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…where you feel you couldn't do a comic - as a whole? And I don't mean at taking a break from it for a brief while, but you might have felt that it ran it's course and you're running dry on inspiration, motivation, to really keep it going? Has there ever been a slump that you couldn't quite keep up with the task of moving forward?

In the case of me, I'm kinda feeling that way right now. Financial instabilities and obligations, as well moodsets based on having a pretty rough week overall, are gradually making me less and less enthusiastic about sitting down to do the next page. At the same time, as much as I want to do it, I'm finding myself on the lazy end - the deadlines are set, but I'm not channeling the right energy to be there on time, and slacking off as opposed to pumping it out.

I'm curious to know how people, if any, are able to cope with it. While I am interested in picking up the tools to continue it, there are a lot of things that are blocking my path mentally and putting me into a slump. What ways do you work around that? Is it something that can be remedied?

Whether it's a personal reason where you couldn't find the time for it anymore, or you felt it wasn't reaching the kind of target audience you had in mind, or perhaps you found another project to be more interesting than the other. For the last couple of years, I've been know to do that - but only because what I was attempting at the time never seemed to connect hard enough. I'd go with one idea, run it's course, and find out that it's not reaching the kind of message I'm trying to convey. So I'd try another. In some cases, it's annoyed many. :/

I'm at the point now where I'm just not feeling it. A break might be needed, but at the same time, I don't quite want to leave the project. Someone might come along and do it better than me, and roll with what might've been mine. I'd like to finish the project till it's concluded, but right now my brain's mush.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
LOOKIS at 11:11AM, Dec. 31, 2010
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Ha! I can barely do one page. I have to kick myself in the butt to get started. Once I do pick up the pencil I can generally keep going until I have finished a page (or what counts as a page for me, meaning literally one sheet of paper filled). Then I have an overwhelming urge to stop. But sometimes I can squeeze out one more page.

Really, it's like pulling teeth. It doesn't come easy at all except occasionally during the actual “doing” part when I lose track of how much I don't want to be doing it because I am lost in doing it, but any chance to stop, postpone, avoid, or procrastinate, I will take. No questions asked.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
kyupol at 5:03PM, Dec. 31, 2010
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this is what happens when you do something that doesnt resonate with what is REALLY inside of you. You crank out pages then you get lazy and then just quit it.

Used to do Brood Knight for a very long time. Quit it after the beginnings of my “awakening”. My thoughts changed as my knowledge expanded. So started on MAG-ISA in 2007.

so point is, you work on something that totally resonates with you. So you wouldnt get burned regardless of what life throws at you.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Abt_Nihil at 9:26AM, Jan. 1, 2011
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I'm with Lookis here. I don't expect things that look like work to feel like fun. I manage to make comics somewhat regularly mainly because not making them would be much, much worse. A major part of my life and personal identity would be gone.

But I certainly don't have a magic trick to motivate me. Several of my comics update far less often than I'd like them to. And the one that currently does does so because I am, for lack of a better word, in love with the story. Also, I've been making comics regularly for a few years now and have developed some discipline. Sometimes it'll fail me, but I'd have no idea what I'd do if it failed me continuously, or if I felt that I didn't have any story worthy of telling.

But I also value the readers I've gained on the web, so that's an additional incentive.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:44AM
Genejoke at 11:29AM, Jan. 1, 2011
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I don't think it's possible not to feel like it at some point.
One of the reasons I do a number of comics is that I feel inspired by different stories or imagery at different times.

Kyupol has a point though, you need to feel what you are working on. However sometimes you just have to force yourself.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
El Cid at 2:12PM, Jan. 1, 2011
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Sounds like you haven't found the right story. If you're working on something you really love, you won't need to force yourself to work on it; you'll need to force yourself to stop long enough to do other important things, like eat and earn money.

Personally, I find that I'm more committed to ideas that I've put a lot of time and consideration into. Once you've invested enough thought into an idea, seeing it through to fruition can become something like a compulsion, which is where you need to be if you seriously plan on seeing a big project all the way through. You can't rely on sudden sparks of inspiration, because they come and go. You need to have a strong sustained drive to create, and a long-term commitment to your work. If having a bad week is enough to make you want to call it quits, then you never had that level of commitment to begin with.

So I'd say you probably should take a break if you're feeling burnt out, but if after a few weeks you don't feel any strong urge to get back in the saddle, then maybe you should call it quits. My creative writing teacher once told me that a writer should feel the need to write as strongly as a drowning person needs air.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
DAJB at 1:49AM, Jan. 2, 2011
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Real life is a great pain in that regard. It has a nasty habit of getting in the way of things and, once you lose momentum, it can be very hard to get going again. If you're working on a project you do really care about, self-discipline and forcing yourself to keep going through the moments of low inspiration are about the only things that'll help you get through to the point where you feel motivated again.

If you're working on a story-driven comic rather than an ongoing gag-strip, I'd recommend spending some of your “down-time” to map out the entire story through to the end. Do it in as much detail as you can - chapter by chapter, main plot point by main plot point, or even page by page. That way, as you're working on the comic itself, you'll eventually reach a stage where you'll be counting pages down (towards the end) rather than up from the beginning. Having a finishing line in sight can be a great motivator!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:04PM
SarahDot at 8:13PM, Jan. 3, 2011
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I'm a stand-up comic and a cartoonist (I guess), and I think my inspiration has run dry ALL THE TIME. The key is to keep plugging. I find that sometimes it is the times when I think I lack inspiration that I do my best work. It has happened too many times to ignore it. Maybe I get back to basics when I lose confidence, I don't know.

If you believe in what you are doing, soldier forth. I once read about an author that said that he hated writing, but loved having written. I understand that now.

Sarah
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:22PM
Genejoke at 7:13AM, Jan. 4, 2011
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Someone
I once read about an author that said that he hated writing, but loved having written. I understand that now

I get that, I love the idea and I often love the result but I struggle in between and sometimes find it hard to make something I'm happy with.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
ayesinback at 8:00AM, Jan. 4, 2011
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Part of it for me is expectations. I have always considered myself more talented at writing than at drawing. So when i have a session at something, leave it and then come back to it later, the writing is always worse than I remember it and the drawing is roughly as or maybe better than I remember it.

It's probably why I have little ambition for a longer project; I generally try to complete something at one sitting, and will procrastinate until I have time for a couple of hours all at once. and I rarely have a couple of hours all at once for anything (other than sleep. I believe in sleep).
under new management
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:14AM
itsjustaar at 3:11AM, Jan. 5, 2011
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I certainly hope I don't have to call it quits. ):

I've given it some time to slow myself down a bit, think things out, and I think I've got the energy to pick up pace again. Beside me is a friend who's been working hard to get me to continue again, and that kind of devotion is quite illuminating. :)
“Keeping Up with Thursday” - Updated Every 3 Days!
“ZombieToons Must Die” - hiatus. D:
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Sayomi at 4:31AM, Feb. 23, 2011
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Okay, well I've had as many comics as there are facebookers, I've had ghost schools, comedies, chameleon boys, winged backpacks, black dreams and you name it, and every signle one I have either deleted or given up on. it's always because i either don't have a storyline or write myself into a hole. but now I have Faceless (www.drunkduck.com/Faceless), and it's a short story turned into a comic, which i'm hoping will make me finish. wish me luck :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:24PM
machinehead at 5:34PM, March 3, 2011
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I've had lots of moments where i've been frustrated with my art more so than anything. I've never really considered myself an artist. If you look at the first few pages of Cowtoon you can see how truly terrible my art was. After two years, I am finally starting to feel like an artist. I am no where near as good as I would like to be, but I feel like I am finally on the right track.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
blindsk at 9:44PM, March 13, 2011
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This seems to be the dread that plagues every writer of all backgrounds: losing interest in one's own project. Everyone does have their rough patches, and sometimes it's enough to break a writer, others learn to look past it. How is that possible? Well, I believe Frank Herbert, who I'm sure you all know, explains it best:

So I don't worry about inspiration, or anything like that. It's a matter of just sitting down and working. I have never had the problem of a writing block. I've heard about it. I've felt reluctant to write on some days, for whole weeks, or sometimes even longer. I'd much rather go fishing, for example, or go sharpen pencils, or go swimming, or what not. But, later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, “Well, now it's writing time and now I'll write.” There's no difference on paper between the two.

I'm inclined to agree with what he says. If writing is simply one of your hobbies, then it is fine to put it down, not let it aggravate you and distract you from your duties. But if writing is what you do, what really defines you as a person, then you'll be just like this. Even if you're forcing stuff out and you don't feel particularly creative, just go back and read it the next day, or the next week. Hopefully you'll notice, as Herbert did, that whether you're feeling inspired or not doesn't really change the quality of which you write.

So in the end, if you're starting to lose that drive, keep going! Just push through it. Maybe you just hit a rocky point in the story and moving past that scene will send the sparks flying again.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
Unka John at 11:23PM, March 16, 2011
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I'm not as conflicted about doing my comic as I am about anyone actually reading it. Sometimes I can see myself just pulling it off the web and finishing the story anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:36PM

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