Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Part-time lover

My older sister gave birth to her first child today, and I took the day off to be with my family. The baby wasn’t born until the afternoon, so I spent part of the morning working on “Vigilante Project.”

The extra time spent got my mind racing as I imagined what life would be like if I didn’t have to go in to my day job every day. In a strange sort of coincidence, a friend and fellow creator in our Indie Comics and Art Forum asked, “How many of you balance a day job and your comic art workload every day, and how do you manage to get things done?”

I have a wife and three kids so they take priority. I also have these things called bills, so my day job ranks pretty high on the list as well. After work I rush home to be with the kids while the wife works her part-time evening shift. Once she’s home we do dinner, have some family time, give baths, and then put the kids to bed. So my creative work happens from about 9pm until midnight. I wish I had more time to create, but we do what we can, when and how we can.

There are starving artists, and then there are artists with day jobs. One has no money, and the other has no time. Do you know why cubicles are all the same shade of headstone gray? It’s because that’s where creativity goes to die.

Back in 2009, I was working as a commodities broker when I finally had enough of the cubicle life and decided to start creating again. I called my best friend (and writing partner) Phil who was living his own private hell in the retail sector and said something along the lines of, “We are too damned smart and too (expletive) creative to be punching a clock, and making somebody else rich.” It was on that phone call that we brainstormed and created Vigilante Project.

So how does an artist with responsibilities find time to create? By setting a schedule and sticking to it. I try to devote at least two hours a day to my creative endeavors. I no longer have the luxury of pulling all-nighters. If you can, go for it. Take advantage of that time and freedom. Enjoy it while you can. For the rest of us, make a schedule and stick to it. Get and stay disciplined. Set timers if you need to.

Examine your goal, and reverse engineer it to this very moment. For example, in my mind, Vigilante Project is already a success. In my head, we've signed with the publisher/distributor and the book is a success. We’ve got the TV series on HBO or Showtime, and damn it, we’ve even won a couple of Emmy awards. Every day I ask myself what I can do to further my dreams. Then I do it. You should do the same.

I got so much more accomplished this morning! It was blissful and it was torture all at the same time. But I can’t dwell on that. Instead I am asking what I can do in the time allotted to get one step closer to that Emmy on my mantle. 

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