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Healing Your Inner Artist/Writer

damehelsing at 12:00AM, Sept. 5, 2021
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Last week I made an article about how it’s ok to just stop and take a breather.

But now I wanted to talk about recognizing when you need to stop, when you can come back and the thought process you should take on while you’re away from your comic.

As Helixfinger had pointed out in the comment of last week’s article, stopping doesn’t mean quitting.
And please remind yourself of that.

If you’re bored or you lost interest, there’s a chance that you’ve just been working on it for so long that it has become dull for you. You’ve just become numb to this part of the story and that absolutely 100% happens. This has most definitely happened to me and some times I take a step back or I try to treat it like a 9-5 job by working on it as best as I can, but this can normally lead to the much needed break that I talked about last week.

So, how do you recognize you need to take a step back?
As I mentioned above, it’s when you’re numb to the current scene, some times you can’t focus on it or you keep finding other things to do or other pieces of art to work on. I am absolutely guilty of this, I do this often, if you ever see me posting new pieces of work one after the other, it definitely means I AM AVOIDING MY COMIC lol

How do you approach your audience regarding your need to take a break?
Be honest with them, tell them it’s taking a toll on you and you just need a month or more to yourself, keep them updated and if you work on a few things here and there relating to your comic, feel free to show them, let them know you’re still thinking about it. The last part is totally optional. Actually, this whole part is optional but it’s just really nice to let your readers know what’s up.

How do you stop worrying about your comic when you’re on your break?
Honestly, I don’t have a clear answer for this, but my main idea is “Hey, this is my baby, I still love it and want to work on it but I can’t give it my all if I feel like a flaming hot turd that just stubbed their pinky toe” – basically, really think about the sentence “you have to love yourself first in order to love someone else” this applies to comics, your project is an extension of you, but you have to take care of yourself to take care of your comic, so if you’re in the mood to just game all day, do that. If you want to clean, go ahead and clean, if you want to sleep all day or take that nap, do it. It’s totally ok to just let yourself relax.

Actually, regarding the topic above, I recently saw a tiktok where someone said they believe the term “lazy” was coined by the… ROYAL PEOPLE, UP IN THEIR COZY BED to make other people, such as servants, or just hard-working laborers feel bad about themselves for just wanting to do nothing.
And honestly, I totally agree and I could definitely see that. If we’re not working, we often feel AWFUL about ourselves and feel like we could do more.

How do you know you’re good to return to your comic?
That is 100% up to you. If you pick up that pen/stylus or whatever and you feel happy and good, that’s when you know you’re ready to come back. But if you’re still feeling a sense of emptiness and sadness or you’re just tired, continue your break. Keep relaxing.

Will you lose readers?
I’m going to be 100% honest with you, there might be people who do forget about a webcomic here and there, especially if it has gone on a lengthy hiatus, but if they are DEEPLY into the story, they will most definitely come back, especially if you make an update on your wellbeing like once a month, they’ll know you still exist and the comic is still alive in its own way. The only way you’ll really lose readers is by a reader disagreeing with the path the story is taking or because you really did officially end your comic. Seriously, very rarely will a reader leave because of a hiatus.

I hope you enjoyed this article, if you have any tips on what are good thoughts to give to yourself so you know it’s ok to take a break, go ahead and comment, you might help another artist/writer!

comment

anonymous?

PaulEberhardt at 9:09AM, Sept. 7, 2021

How do I stop worrying about my comic when I'm on my break? - I don't! I didn't actually choose to take them but had to, because they haven't yet managed to invent days that last longer than 24 hours, while my day job currently takes up most of them. I know for certain that it will give me more elbowroom at some point in the future, and finally being able to squeeze in some drawing time again is a major motivation for me to work my @$$ off there. That knowledge doesn't make it all feel better, though. Instead, there's a growing irrational fear that I won't live to draw what I want to draw and tell the stories I want to tell, because at my current pace it'd take me centuries.

PaulEberhardt at 9:04AM, Sept. 7, 2021

I'm always amazed I still get any commenting readers at all for what I've come to call my annual update, which is both my slightly self-deprecating streak coming to the fore but unfortunately also literally true. :( But I do, and it's always one of the best moments of the year. My feelings of guilt make me save bookmarks over years, but even without any guilty feelings I can totally recommend that. It doesn't cost you anything, and sometimes a comic miraculously comes back to life. It's rare enough, but it does happen once in a while.

Furwerk studio at 12:12PM, Sept. 5, 2021

I am constantly feeling this, and it is a reason I work myself sick trying to build up a massive buffer in case I need a break in the future because creating anything can be an undertaking, but it is while trying to hold down a part-time or full time job to keep the lights on that my health takes a massive hit.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 11:19AM, Sept. 5, 2021

@damehelsing: You're welcome:)

damehelsing at 9:56AM, Sept. 5, 2021

@plymayer: if the webcomic creator hasn't said anything about returning but it has been years since an I update, I think it's safe to say that they've probably stopped working. - @Helixfinger: yes, these are all good! Thank you! :)

Andreas_Helixfinger at 7:55AM, Sept. 5, 2021

What I've been telling myself lately taking my own break from my comics are thoughts like: "Life is more then this, you know." "This is not the end all, be all." "To have some detachment from your work is a good thing, because it's not healthy in the long run to be too attached, too obsessed and too involved in a thing." "If you just let it go for a while you might even rediscover the reason why you began to do all this in the first place. Rediscover the heart of it all. The joy and the play in just coming up with ideas and creating new imaginary spaces for your mind and your senses to frolic in." "Just try do what Elsa sang in Frozen and let it go, and you might find it just as liberating as that^^"

plymayer at 2:52AM, Sept. 5, 2021

All good points. How does a reader know when to stop waiting for a web comic to come back? Or do you always hold hope in the heart for the comix return. I have favorites that have gone dormant for years. Occasionally I go back and trim some to make the list smaller. Sometimes the old sleepers return.


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