A lot of what I share on here has to do with the creative journey and stating what I’ve learned through experience. The reason is rooted in my passion for the creative industry. I’ve been making stuff up since I was a kid running around in a Superman costume (something I did even when my other friends had grown out of it). It’s all I know.
Making up stories, drawing, and thinking about how to better get my imagination onto the page takes up most of my time and is my preferred activity. Some guys work on cars or model kits to help fill the hours; I work on imaginary worlds. It’s just how I’m wired and I don’t know any other way to live my life.
Is always talking about creativity beating a dead horse? I honestly don’t know because in my world that horse keeps coming back to life. All I know is writing out my thoughts on the creative life helps me organize them, and if they can benefit or entertain someone along the way, then I’m more than happy to take them on the journey with me.
On September 14, 2019, I launched my first Patreon page. It was a thrilling day and one filled with hope and excitement. Sure, part of the reason to create the page was to supplement my writing and drawing income, but, having been part of Web culture since close to the beginning of my career (circa 2000), it was an opportunity for me to create a place on the Web to share cool stuff with people in a kind of “club” format.
See, I have this problem of creating a ton of stuff for free and putting in on the Web whether via this blog or social media. As of today’s date, I’m on here blogging articles, essays, and musings Monday to Friday, my free weekly newsletter goes out on Saturdays, I started up a YouTube channel again, and I’m doing Inktober and sharing those sketches on social media (see the icons on the right). I enjoy entertaining people and, if I was in a place where money was no object, I’d gladly share all my work for free. But I can’t. I need to eat, need to buy supplies, need to cover costs, etc. so I have no choice but to charge for my work hence adding Patreon as part of my platform.
If there is one major aspect of Patreon I truly enjoy, it is the idea of having a special place on the Web where people use a key (money) to unlock a door (my Patreon) to get stuff only available on the other side of that door. It’s an opportunity for me to virtually sit down with a group of people several times a month and go, “Look what I made. Hope it entertains you. Hope it educates you.” Almost like show-and-tell but, hopefully, much more entertaining. And, in the end, that’s what Patreon stands for for me: My patrons. They’re a special group of people who were willing to shell out a few beans to help a northern jackass like myself keep making entertainment for them and others.
(Side note to explain what creators mean when they say buying their work or supporting their Patreon enables them to keep creating. They are not saying that without the support they can no longer create. A creator creates and always will. Just how it is. What they are saying is your support buys them the greatest and most precious of all commodities: Time. Time is the most valuable thing on the planet. Once a moment passes, it’s gone forever. No going back. No storing it up. It’s not even in abundant supply because we all die. If a creator spends their time doing everything but creating–I’m talking surviving life stuff not blowing hours on social media–then we’d have no entertainment. By supporting a creator, you’re filling up their Time Bank Account instead of them spending their Time Dollars on things that hinder the hours needed to create something. Even if ten hours a week can be supplemented, if the creator is responsible, they now have ten extra hours to make stuff for you. It’s win-win on both ends.)
I’m only about a month into my Patreon journey. It’s been wonderful so far and I look forward to the days that are scheduled to upload new content. Right now, a new chapter of my creature feature serial novel, Gigantigator Death Machine, airs every two weeks (a new chapter went up today). On the off weeks, I put up essays on the creative industry and also treat patrons to behind-the-scenes stuff here at the Central. Of course, there are also extra blog posts for everyone as well as patron-first announcements where my patrons receive news before the general public. I’m still finding my footing regarding what else to offer. I have a plan for an ongoing special something for patrons but it’s not ready yet. Perhaps in the New Year, perhaps sooner. Regardless, I’m pleased with my current offerings and am excited to share more as time goes on.
My patrons are my special group. They are those who’ve gone the extra mile by way of monthly support, and for that I am grateful. I want to publicly thank them here and I want to offer a thanks to future patrons as well.
October has just started and I had to spend some time thinking about what this month will look like in terms of work (roughly). If I’ve learned anything from my years in this business, it’s that one needs to be organized. Fortunately, my natural thinking process involves putting everything into lists under various headings and then looking at those items and breaking them down day by day. Some stuff is written down on paper, other stuff is written down in my head. Regardless, those items are then transferred to a calendar—both real and mental—thus informing me what each day entails. For the most part, I’ve learned to leave tomorrow in tomorrow, even parts of today in their respective parts of today. All that matters come nightfall is that the day’s tasks are done.
This eliminates confusion and keeps a rein on anxiety.
So what does my October to-do list look like?
– regular Web upkeep like this blog and backlog SEO work
– edits for a client
– finding out the finer details for a job I’m signing papers for tomorrow and then doing the work thereof
– Inktober until the end of the month (daily ink drawings posted to my social media channels)
– Ship off Kickstarter rewards for the Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm campaign to Jeff Burton (this includes getting things done at the local printer for the paperback; my part of the lettered edition hardcover is done)
– posting the Gigantigator Death Machine serial novel, behind-the-scenes stuff, and essays to Patreon
We don’t always have the same amount of energy every day. Heck, some days it’s impossible to move and get out of bed. Unfortunately, not moving equals not doing anything equals being unable to move your career along. I’ve always maintained that if, at a minimum, you can do at least one thing a day—big or small—to move your career forward, you’re one step ahead of yesterday and one step closer to achieving your goals. You can get some writing or drawing in, or get some marketing done, or drop some books off at the bookstore, or anything else. Point is, just do at least one thing a day. That’s at least seven things a week, which leads to 365 things a year.
There are days when your head feels like it’s filled with sand or some sort of concrete lump instead of a brain. It makes you tired and you don’t feel like writing or drawing, and all you want to do is take a nightcap and go to sleep.
But you have to work anyway.
You have to.
Books and art don’t make themselves. You let yourself slide one day, then the next time it becomes two days, then three, then four. Soon, you’ve got nothing to show for your year.
Brick in the head or not, the work needs to get done. No way around it. We live in a society where a lot of people don’t want to work for something. Too bad. Whether you feel like it or not, work is a required part of life and, especially, in the art business where it’s highly competitive.
It’s that time of year again where I withdraw from having an active social media presence and switch over to broadcast mode. This begins today and will carry on throughout the winter, which in Manitoba means at least five or six months.
My plan for the winter season is to release all the manuscripts I’m sitting on–some of which were created last winter broadcast season–and get them into your hands as quickly as possible. The plan also calls for creating new work, whether writing or drawing.