• Tag Archives Writing
  • The Toughest Part About Being a Writer/Artist

    A.P. Fuchs Books
    Some books from the A.P. Fuchs library.

    Full transparency: I’ve never deliberately looked up blog topics (so far as I can recall) but for fun, this morning I decided to do that and see what’s currently out there for blogging ideas. “The Toughest Part About Being a . . .” prompt was something I came across and, maybe because I’m still groggy, resonated with me the most this fine winter morning.

    So that said, here is the toughest part about being a writer/artist as per how I feel at the moment I’m writing this:

    Getting respect.

    When people ask what I do for a living and I tell them I write stories and draw, I’m met with two general responses: “Oh man, that’s so cool!” or, “That’s nice. Maybe one day you’ll get a real job instead of playing all day.” The latter isn’t explicitly stated but is certainly implied by tone, facial expression, and body language, all with an air of disappointment.

    The first crowd is, of course, the most pleasant to deal with. Their eyes light up and they smile and are genuinely happy for me. They often become my readers and usually follow up with me the next time I see them and ask how things are going and if I’m still doing it (the “still doing it” part hinting they understand it’s an unstable job but they have my back and are in my corner even if my answer is “No”).

    The second crowd is the one I don’t understand. The general formula for a working adult is you get out of bed, go to work, come home, eat dinner, then get on with your evening, which may or may not include doing more work. That’s the formula I’ve lived by my entire working life–whether working in the arts or elsewhere–and the formula every working adult I know follows. The only difference is I work from home. So when I “go to work,” my commute is measured in hallways and staircases as I make my way down to the Central’s bunker to get started. I work all day–and get paid for it–turn the computer off, then reverse my commute and wind up back upstairs with the rest of the household. But mention you write stories and draw pictures for a living and suddenly you don’t have a real job (see the “On Freelancing for a Living (This is a Job)” blog post). Upon thinking about it, it’s not even the working from home part that seems to rub people the wrong way (though this can happen). It’s the specific what I do for a living. I’ve seen firsthand where others who work from home who don’t write stories and draw pictures are met with a metaphorical handshake. Me? It’s a metaphorical hands-in-their-pockets.

    There is a disconnect that happens–usually with the older generation(s)–where, in the old days, work was something you left the house for and something you didn’t always enjoy. Work was actual work, like a chore, or work was something that demanded such a hard effort that every day ended the same when one came home: a collapse on the couch from mental and/or physical exhaustion. I believe the disconnect also happens because a lot of people tend to forget the entertainment they consume had to be created by somebody. Those books you read? Somebody took a lot of time writing them. Those comics you love? A group of people had to spend a lot of time writing, drawing, coloring, lettering, and printing them. Those movies you go to every Friday night? A whole slew of people had to go somewhere to play dress-up and pretend for a camera to tell you a story. That video game? Tons of people. Tons of artists. Even the very computer or smartphone this entry is being read on was dreamed up and sketched out by people who went to work. Somebody had to write all the code used in that phone. Somebody had to draw all those app icons. Somebody had to make science fiction science fact. Oh, and they got paid to do it because they need food and shelter, too.

    Why is my job not normally respectable? Is it the non-steady paycheck? Is it the fact I like it? Is it because I’d rather spend a third of every day enjoying myself versus dragging myself through the motions? Is it because I made up my mind and chose what I was going to do with the old statement that you can either work towards making your own dreams come true or you can work for someone else to make their dreams come true?

    Why does a lawyer get the handshake and I don’t? Why does a doctor? Or an accountant? Or a factory worker or a mechanic? Their job puts food on the table and keeps a roof over their loved ones’ heads just like mine does. My income goes towards food and bills, getting stuff for the kids and gas in the car. It buys Christmas presents and pays for date nights. It funds life just like their job funds life.

    I work. You work. We all work.

    And like I posted to social media forever ago, I want to repeat here: Everything is art. Every. Single. Thing. Creation is God’s canvas and nature is His painting. The stuff humans have made? It’s all based on someone dreaming and asking themselves, “What if . . .?” Then writing it down and drawing it out. Designing your couch is an art form. Writing the code for your car’s computer is an art form. Coming up with how to safely make a handheld drill is an art form. And so on.

    Everything is art.

    In the end, I’ve learned to live with the hits and learned my career choice will be frowned upon by others. But there are also others who don’t frown and instead smile. Those are the people who give respect. The others? I’ll still respect their work because they are my fellow human beings, and perhaps one day I’ll get the same occupational respect in return.

    Author’s note: This article isn’t about complaining. It’s pointing out a disconnect that some people seem to have and is hopefully encouraging to those who might be in the same boat.


  • Nearly Ready for the Winter Season

    The winter season is nearly here, which means this week I’m putting the final touches on getting ready for Heavy Broadcast Mode, which starts November 1. Believe it or not, a lot of planning and organizing goes into making books and comics for public consumption. It’s not just me writing a story and sending it out all willy nilly. Every creator works their own way, but on my end, I need to have certain mechanisms in place so I can publish a story and get it into your hands properly. This ranges from the actual publishing machine itself to the promotion side of it to even making sure I have copies here at the Central for you. Then add on the need to make and have all those systems in place all the while keeping a roof over my head and, well, yeah. Busy times.

    This isn’t over-complicating it. It’s just planning things out so, once all is up and running, I have the greatest resource of all when it comes to creating stories and sharing them: Time.

    Everything takes time. Some things take a mere minute, other things take hours or days, and the only way to have that time is do all that I’ve been doing behind the scenes here at the Central. (Speaking of behind the scenes, a new behind-the-scenes entry is going up on my Patreon this Friday. Join the journey to check it out.)

    To find out more of what it takes to keep the creative machine running, please join my free weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission. It’s a letter from me to you week after week. It’s a chance for all subscribers to have a common meeting point each week to take a load off, escape the stress of the world, have a read (maybe even a laugh), and just breathe after busting butt all week. It’s also a chance to bring you up to speed on all that’s happened here at the Central, things not always covered on this blog. Pull up a chair. We always have room for one more.


  • Station Ident – Oct252019

    My name is A.P. Fuchs and I’m a novelist, cartoonist, and freelancer in all things publishing. You are tuned into my blog, Canister X, my official web presence. I’ve been writing for publication since my first short story sale in 2000, and have been publishing books since 2003.

    My longstanding presence on social media includes:

    Ello
    MeWe
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Instagram
    Pinterest
    Tumblr
    LinkedIn

    My Patreon page can be found here, where I post serial novels, essays on the creative and publishing industries, what goes on behind the scenes here at Axiom-man Central, and more.

    Join me.


  • Caught in Black Headlights: An Update

    Caught in Black Headlights Notebook
    Caught in Black Headlights Notebook

    Caught in Black Headlights is a poetry book I’ve been picking at for a long while now. It’s meant as a depository of musings for when a thought or moment consumes me and I have something to say about it.

    I am no stranger to the poetry world, having thus far published three books in the genre: The Hand I’ve Been Dealt, Haunted Melodies and Other Dark Poems, and Still About a Girl. These books are out of print, but I’m thinking of bringing them back at some point so my readers have a chance to complete their A.P. Fuchs collection.

    Caught in Black Headlights is low-priority on the project list. Again, it’s there for when I have something I need to say and a poem is the only way to say it. Eventually, the notebook will be filled enough for it to merit a published book. Until then, I’ll just be ruminating and writing it down.

    Stay tuned.


  • On Writing About Creativity

    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.


  • Creator Breakfast with G.M.B. Chomichuk and Jonathan Ball (Networking)

    A.P. Fuchs writing by G.M.B. Chomichuk
    Sketch of A.P. Fuchs at the keyboard by G.M.B. Chomichuk

    This morning I had a wonderful breakfast at Clementine Cafe here in Winnipeg with writer/illustrator G.M.B. Chomichuk and writer/editor Jonathan Ball. And while networking wasn’t the reason I chose to see them, it was something that inevitably happened given that all three of us work in the business.

    I usually see these dudes at book signings or on the convention circuit, but since I’ve been away from events for a season, it was a pleasure to have a sit-down with them and talk shop and catch up after so long. It was also an opportunity to share work habits and pick each other’s brains over how we do things and what works and what doesn’t, tell stories, and learn a thing or two.

    Today I came away with two wins, and in order of occurrence they were: A dynamite breakfast. Had the Turkish eggs and it was brilliant. The second was a writing gig. I’ll reveal more details about that here on the blog when I’m allowed to.

    Most creators would rather be holed up in their studio or office and just work. And while that has its charm and is important in order to get things done, it’s also critical time is spent with those in the business. First and foremost, it’s a chance to simply be friends with like-minded people and realize you’re not alone in the universe regarding your creative quirks. Secondly, it might lead to opportunities to use your craft you might not otherwise have had.

    In summary, go have breakfast with other creatives when you can. It yields positive friendships and, sometimes, a job.

    Networking, man. Networking.


  • A.P. Fuchs Novelist Memoir

    In June of 2020, I will have been writing for twenty years. Though I was creating before that–primarily comic book art–it was in June of 2000 that I decided to make books my living. I was originally aiming to be a comic book artist but life threw me a curve ball and through various circumstances books became the order of the day.

    I’ve been giving thought to a memoir for a very long time. It would be an opportunity to share with readers my creative journey and, when appropriate, my personal journey as well. It would also be a chance to lay my creative life out in front of me where I can see it and visit time periods I haven’t been to since they originally happened. A partial journal effort, so to speak.

    Regarding publication, no doubt there would be a formal release of a paperback and eBook, but I’m also thinking of airing it on-line first, whether here at Canister X or on my Patreon or both.

    It’s been a wild ride to get to the present day. I started out crafting stories completely naive as to how this business worked and hit many roadblocks along the way. The plan for this project will require further thought but I think I’ve already settled upon the process so I can create it without it overloading my already-hectic schedule.

    Now I just need to settle on a title.

    Watch this space for more news as this develops.


  • Reflections on Patreon after a Month on the Platform

    A.P. Fuchs on Patreon

    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.

    My Patreon journey has just begun. Would you like to come along? Here, take my hand. I have something to show you.


  • On Being Swamped

    Last night, as I was winding down, I was struck with an idea for another massive project, one that, by it’s very nature, would be ongoing for years to come. I made a bunch of notes, but I had that famous moment where I thought, Gee, don’t I have enough to do already?

    I tweeted:

    “Why is it that I keep coming up with ideas for gigantor projects? As if I’m not busy enough writing books, making comics, blogging daily, taking and sharing pictures of my cooking efforts, marketing, freelancing, and trying to rebuild my life. I need to stop sleeping.”

    If I could indeed stop sleeping, that would free up 8 to 10 hours a day. But I also know that without a good night’s sleep, a person won’t make it in this world, and my years of functioning off minimal sack time are long gone.

    My plan for this massive project is to let it simmer in the ol’ noggin and if I’m still hyped about it in a week or two (or more), then maybe I’ll put it in motion.


  • On Creative Headspace

    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?

    So far:

    – 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

    – writing and sending out The Canister X Transmission every week

    – writing . . . something

    – drawing . . . something

    – business admin

    – anything else that comes up (to be sorted into the list depending on the item’s timeline)

    Welcome to my October.