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When & How to Say Goodbye

damehelsing at 12:00AM, Sept. 12, 2021
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Last week I talked about how you know you should take a break and some simple steps that will hopefully aid you when taking this break.

But, how do you know when it’s time to say goodbye?

That’s a little tougher. Some times you may think it’s a stepping stone, you just need to take a step back, but some times when you take that step back and you’re ready to take a step forward, it just doesn’t do it. That story you once loved and felt extreme pride for is just… another story. A book you’re ready to put down, close and tuck away on the shelf.

What are the signs that maybe you’ve outgrown your comic?

Maybe you never feel like working on it, you don’t know how to proceed, you keep writing yourself into a corner or maybe you keep trying to re-boot it to fit your needs but even after you write new beginnings nothing quite works for you. Every path you take with this story leads to a dead end and you’re never happy.

Something to keep in mind is your happiness with your project. If your project doesn’t make you smile, there’s a big problem going on here and you’re unhappy with it.

But now you may ask, “what if I’m just unhappy with it? Can’t I change it?” absolutely, but how many times are you willing to change it until you’ve found the right path for you? Being a comic creator is filled with ups and downs but even through the downs you should still definitely find some sort of happiness with your project. You should be able to smile like an idiot when you think about your baby. If you’re not smiling like an idiot at least once, or heck, even crying about some dramatic scenario in your story at least once… then maybe this story just isn’t for you. You’ve outgrown it.

Another way to find out if you’ve outgrown is if you find yourself working on other comics and projects and this is a common scenario. You may still have some sort of love for the first project, but the truth is that it may just not cut it out for you anymore.

However, some people absolutely do take on an extra project just to have a little something different to work on from time to time, and that’s okay… but if you work on your second project a little more than your first, and you always want to work on the second one… then I kind of like to think of the Johnny Depp’s quote “if you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn't have fallen for the second.” and I kind of apply this when it comes to comics.

So now, we reach the another point of the article.
How do we say goodbye?

Some times we really don’t have to. We can put our project away for now and work on something else, but if you really want to say goodbye and you’re having a hard time, one thing I like to think about is how my previous projects all greatly helped me in my comic creator journey, from art to writing, storyboarding, how I go about every page. Everything I’ve learned in the past I apply now and I take great comfort in knowing my old projects helped me and they continue to help me.
I’ve made mistakes and I still make mistakes, truth is, I still love every project of mine, and I take comfort in the idea that there is still love there and it won’t ever go away, but that special flame has gone and my old projects walked so my new ones could run.
And that really means a lot.

Hope you all had a wonderful week, can’t wait to chat with you next Sunday.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to a project? Was it painful? What are some of the things you’ve learned from your old projects that you apply to your new ones? Let me know.

comment

anonymous?

hushicho at 5:38PM, Sept. 14, 2021

I like this article overall and I think it is so important to know when to stop, even just for now. I don't agree with the quote, though, and I feel that if you fall in love with two people, love them both. If one can't handle it, that's when you have to deal with another problem. But that's the important part -- if you genuinely love them both, as with stories, you'll find a way to get going again. Otherwise, if you don't love them as much as you did in the beginning, maybe it's more important to think about why that's happened and how you feel for the other one, and look at why you think that may be the case.

Banes at 5:30PM, Sept. 13, 2021

I've struggled with letting go, not of the whole comic, but the next individual story, which I've been planning to do and was determined to do but is just not working. So as my hiatus continues, I've finally decided to let go of that story that's just not as cool as it was in my mind and do something else. I am thinking in terms of concluding my main comic though - it will take years, but since time is not eternal, I may want to head toward an ending (probably take another 10 years to get there, haha).

paneltastic at 5:19AM, Sept. 13, 2021

While it can be sad to end a strip, you need only look at legacy comics to see why letting something become a zombie strip can be even worse for a cherished IP than just ending it. At some point, that comic that liberated you as a creator becomes your prison and holds you back. All relationships in life are finite. Cherish the time you had and look forward to new horizons.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 6:38AM, Sept. 12, 2021

As of what I've learned from my work on the comics looking at these new projects of mine, that has begun to pop up in my time away from the comics, the most valuable lesson I've learned is "less is more". Having a grand scope to things feels fantastic up until you actually start materializing them, then they easily become overwhelming and disorienting and eventually you start asking yourself why the f**k you made it so goddamn complicated to begin with, when it could have been something much, much simpler. You become less impressed by grand scope from that point (at least I have) and more exhausted by it, because you can see the work that must have gone into it, and you realize that more often then not it is the simple, little things that truly means something to you.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 6:32AM, Sept. 12, 2021

I abandoned many, many projects before I started the ones you see on my DD profile. It wasn't hard really, I just sort of started project, an kept scribbling on it up until a new project popped up and I switched over to that. My webcomics that you see here are those projects and ideas that has persisted over time and gone through countless of transformations, making them the ones I've wanted to dedicate myself to the most. Even if platforms like the Duck would seize to exist and I would be left with no way of publishing them for other people to see, I'd probably still be working on them for my own satisfaction of seeing them complete.


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