Recently, my writing partner and I have gone on a very short hiatus whilst we rework a few things to accommodate another project and it got me thinking about the almost inevitable and sometimes dreaded occurrence that is, “The Hiatus”.
It is very rare to find an artist or team that creates webcomics for free. Often times, it is a labour of love, one which requires a sacrifice of time and energy, particularly if one wishes to build a name for themselves. It is no longer just about creating the work itself, but now one must market said work; whether that be on social media, forums, conventions or even Patreon. All of these activities take quite some time and effort and it is very easy to feel somewhat overwhelmed, particularly when life begins to grab its bag of lemons and smack you across with them.
Your job increases its demand on your energy and time, new opportunities arise, you get flus, colds, family events creep in and soon you realise you are not going to make that committed deadline each week. You promise yourself you’ll catch up but soon, you’re staring at that dreaded page with the words everyone dreads splashed across it.
“I’m going on hiatus”.
Sometimes it is only short and you’re back on your feet in no time.
Most times though, you don’t.
But never fear! I have a couple of tips that might help!
1. Know your scope!
Take your time to develop your idea before you launch. Often times a comic goes on hiatus or stalls because the idea has more or less run its course. If you have an ambitious idea, plan it. And by plan it I mean sit down and write all the points you want to hit and then how many pages you think it will take to get there. Having real goal posts can help curb the feeling of being overwhelmed by the size of the project. Run it past another person, or even here in the forums. And remember, things can always be cut down even more. Simple is often best.
2. Be prepared to be stubborn
You’ve launched your shining new project. You’re excited! And look! People seem to be interested! But soon, those comments might drop off. Not as many eyes are on your project. The honeymoon phase is over. Getting attention and seeing numbers increase releases sweet, sweet dopamine into your system but eventually that begins to fade and all your left with is feeling like your posting work into the void.
Here’s a little secret. The internet is FULL of lurkers. How many times have you read something and NOT commented? Did that change how much it meant to you? Just because it looks like no one is there doesn’t mean that is the case. The internet is full of ninjas. So be prepared to be stubborn and keep going. Every page you do improves your art and storytelling that you’ll then use on the next project.
3. Have a realistic update schedule
Life has a bag of lemons waiting for you AT ALL TIMES! So plan for it. Before you start, plan a buffer of pages and then release them at a rate you can sustain. If it means once a week, then do that. Keep in mind how long it takes you to make a page and then add the lemon factor; that is, how long would a page take if you’re sick or work increased? Be realistic and manage your stress.
4. Find a way to speed up your process
The thing about comics is, you don’t have to make each page a work of art, particularly if it a long narrative. If you want to do that, maybe try making a one shot, short comic instead. Go on Youtube and look up ways to speed up your process. Maybe it’s changing up your colouring style, or how you do your lineart. Here’s a small tip, embrace using black. It helps make your comic look dynamic and the less you have to shade, the quicker you can get pages done. Find your shortcuts and use them liberally.
5. Do planned hiatus’
A hiatus is not a bad thing. Sometimes we need a break to rest and relax. So, much like holiday seasons, plan to take a break to avoid burning yourself out. Take a couple of weeks to build a buffer after each chapter. This gives you not only time to rest but a point in time you can work to. People are happy to wait if they know when you’ll be back.
I hope these tips help you out and if you have any to add leave us a comment! Tell us about your hiatus experience.
Till next week lovelies!
Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, April 20, 2018
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