time paradoxes make my head hurt

I didn’t realize I had writer’s block until I sat down to make myself write a blog entry. I’ve been productive in the areas of drawing, coding, cooking, cleaning, socializing, and even occasionally going for walks. So I didn’t know that I was stuck with writing. It just hadn’t come up, except I realized I hadn’t been blogging.

I honestly don’t know when that last entry was written. My time sense is being even fuzzier than usual. I know it’s Thursday and my deadline is Monday, but I had to think about that. Don’t worry, I think I’m on track. Of course, one of the big things I learned with the last update was not to assume these things, so there’s that. But all the architectural elements are decided, and all the figures are basically sketched, so it’s simply a question of refining, and maybe adding another small panel with part of a figure.

I guess the problem is that I usually wait to write a blog entry until I have one central idea that I can discuss in-depth. I’m sort of trying to get away from that, but it’s really hard, because if I don’t have a central idea with some kind of emotion attached to it, it’s really difficult to organize my thoughts enough to know where to start.

I have an idea now but it’s kind of hard to put into words. It has a lot to do with some of the other things I’ve written – well, as usual. It’s along the same lines, my experience of making comics and learning to make comics. I guess I might actually have to tell the story of how this idea took form, you know, a story with people in it and everything.

I was really excited to get Dragon’s Fall on the web. Well, you know that, if you’ve been reading this blog at all. You also know that my approaches when drawing my two comics are very different. Lleugarnock is a sensible project for which I have sensible expectations. Dragon’s Fall is a clumsy attempt at perfection.

There are a few things that I’ve learned a lot about, drawing and writing LleuGarnock. But it just doesn’t approach the range of things I’ve been learning with Dragon’s Fall. A lot of this has been about myself and my own abilities and quirks.

When I’m finished a page of Dragon’s Fall, I can’t wait to share it. I want to show people what I’ve created and see how they react. I know a buffer is a good thing to have, and it’s indispensible in the case of LleuGarnock – but it was impossible to keep Dragon’s Fall quiet for long enough to make one.

Drawing Page Three, I learned a lot about myself, and a lot about drawing. It took a month to finish. Before drawing it I had no way of knowing that; the experience was necessary to teach me to judge scripts better, and to know my own abilities better. It may have felt like a slow and painful lesson, but now that I look back on it there was no other way to learn all that I did in such a short time. The panic and other emotions I felt emphasized the important lessons, and made them memorable. I really do work better under pressure.

I’ve always been afraid that if I didn’t keep ahead of a regular schedule, I would miss a deadline, then feel the schedule was ruined and feel no need to continue. It’s a survival tool I developed when I was in school. I tried to procrastinate exactly the right amount for the pressure to motivate me. Sometimes I miscalculated. When time pressure became so bad that it threatened my sanity, I would give up on the project entirely.

When I graduated from college, I thought that I hated time pressure and I would avoid it as much as possible for the rest of my life. I was overdue for decompression, certainly, but in general I did like school, and it was a productive time for me.

LleuGarnock has been an exercise in avoiding time pressure. I build up buffer, then build up artificial time pressure by telling myself how much more buffer I should have by what time. That artificial time pressure is much easier to throw out, so I give up long before my sanity is in any danger.  But I think it also means that I haven’t been reaching my optimum state of creativity.

I have no trouble spending hours and hours working on a new project I’m inspired by, but it gets harder and harder as the project gets larger, more complicated, more important, more intimidating. I’ve found with page four, I wouldn’t have been nearly as inclined to work on it if I didn’t have the very real time pressure of this Monday’s scheduled update. I’m starting to get into the part where I’m paralyzed by the expectations that I have for myself, making every page as great as the first one. So I need a little push to get myself started.

OK, so that all seems like I’m repeating myself, but on the other hand I feel like I’ve expressed most of this elusive thought. I haven’t even told the story that made it seem important to me. I’ve kind of been avoiding it because I don’t want a person to feel bad.

I was ranting, as I do, about how hard it was for me to draw page three and how long it took. This awesome person, who I get really good writing advice from, asked me, if I started over with Dragon’s Fall, what would I do differently?

That question made me feel funny, but at the time I didn’t know what I didn’t like about it, so I made what seemed like the obvious answer, that maybe I should have waited longer to put it up on the net.

It felt like in school, when your teacher asks you a question and you give the answer out of the book, even if you don’t totally agree with it. I recognize that now, but at the time I just felt uncomfortable answering at all but didn’t have any real reason not to. I often take a while to figure out what my feelings mean to me.

It was a perfectly reasonable question, but I would have preferred “Would you have done anything differently?” Because the first question seems to imply that I could have made better choices under the circumstances, and forces me to contemplate alternatives. But that’s extremely difficult for me, because the experiences I’ve had over the past two months are so much a part of me now, and they’ve taught me so much, that I couldn’t imagine anything different. Applying the  knowledge I gained from those experiences to changing those experiences? Impossible to imagine.

I wouldn’t change a thing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: