You Can Always Make One Thing

by ryankl

I fear I think too big sometimes.

I overwhelm my brain into thinking each story must be larger, every publisher more titanic, my “career” only ever rising higher and higher.
But it won’t always be that way. And once it’s the opposite of those things, it can become a little overwhelming. Faced with the concept of going backwards, you start to see the word ~failure~ looming in front of you, and before you slam head-first into it, your face shattering the windshield, you body hurtling towards possible death/certain pain, I think I just need to consider one thing:

What am I making right now, and why?

If your aim is to pitch to a comic company and get picked up, then there’s a chance it’ll not succeed and that will suck. If I’m prepping a Kickstarter, I need to hit funding, and I need to deliver.

But beneath all that, at the core – what am I creating?

If I have no publishers, then what can I do anyway? And can I do it for reasons of joy?

I’m blessed with a day job I like [teacher], so I don’t push myself beyond boundaries to hustle for gigs I don’t want but feel I need in order to leapfrog into something I’ll only mildly hold in disdain, to eventually land a shot at a gig I find relatively interesting, only to land one of the few gigs I’d die to do, and then funnel it all back into gigs I love [creator owned work].

With that in mind, I have to consider what I’m creating, and why. Does this work have an audience? Will this work generate money? Or is it something else?

Am I writing a short comic because it’s a story I’m dying to tell? Am I writing comic book study guides because I genuinely enjoy having them on file for use in class – and because making them makes me a better reader/writer? Am I writing one-page scripts for fun just to hone my craft? Am I blogging because it’s 2019 and it’s clearly a smart use of personal time?

I tend to get caught up in the bigger/better/faster wheel of thinking – and I think it’s currently spitting me out. So I have to look at my job list [day, week, month, year] and consider whats up.

Am I overwhelmed and drowning under a sea of pitches and scripts that aren’t guaranteed to go anywhere, but they’ll sap 150% of my energy? Can I carve out a little slice of that just for me? Can I write a weird set of short stories using avenues/media that aren’t the usual [Google Keep lists, two security guards commentating the CCTV footage inf front of them on a Sunday afternoon, a shopping list found in a supervillain’s base, etc].

What’s the purpose of writing those things – fun, I guess. To make me a better writer, also, but maybe just for fun. Maybe just to sit in my office and connect with words and have a good time.

Who knows? Maybe down the track you can collect this stuff, package it, and try to sell it. Maybe. But if not, maybe I just set aside time to create that one thing that’s just for me, and isn’t huge, and that makes me smile.

I find, I can be doing a whole mess of things – too many things – but sometimes it’s satisfying just to pause, exhale, and sink 10 minutes into something tangential from the Big Things.