Inexperienced Perfectionist

Last time I wrote anything, I wrote how I need to write faster. That was a month ago. I'm bad at this.

I wrote that I found a compromise. That compromise was going to be a comic. I had planned to post a comic I was drawing by Monday. That clearly didn't happen.

While I like to pretend this gibberish I write isn't completely awful, I have no qualms about admitting that my artistic skill is between complete shit and utterly terrible. This, I thought, meant that I couldn't possibly hold myself back from posting it because I know that no matter what I do, it will never be good. After drawing for a year or so, maybe I won't completely suck at it anymore.

The complete opposite happened.

I spent a ton of time penciling in a tremendous amount of (poorly drawn) detail only to keep erasing it. I couldn't find the compromise I wanted. Comics aren't as abstract as straight prose; other people have to be able to "read" what's happening in the panel without an explanation. Forcing in too many contextual words defeats the point of the medium. If the pictures don't have any story to them, then why draw anything at all?

The real ironic part is when I finally achieved the amount of detail I wanted in pencils, none of it translated well after inking. I liked the drawing style of my thumbnailed script than the finished product, and I only threw the script together in a couple of minutes.

At work, even if something is functionally "done," I tend to work on it for an extra day or two if I have time before the deadline. In engineering, there is such a thing as diminishing returns. Spending a day improving something from 60% efficient to 95% efficient makes sense. It doesn't usually make sense to spend another two weeks moving that level up from 95% to 97.5%. Years of experience guide me on determining the cutoff. I haven't developed this experience yet in comics.

So, I'm trying something new. There is one thing missing from a hobby that a job has: a deadline. I'm the kind of person who requires one for me to actually do anything. The funny part is, I've actually said this about myself twice four years ago.

So, I found a way to motivate myself: I gave myself a deadline. It didn't matter what I wrote about, as long as I put up something with content.

- from my 100th post

I put my other projects on hold. This was a project I was actually going to finish. I know myself; deadlines and competition kick my ass into high gear.

- from when I put my air conditioner on the Internet

So, I'm going to determine a schedule and stick to it. Maybe I'll finally get to clear some of these drafts from 2011 off my hard drive by changing my mindset from "my site is one of my many hobbies that I'll one day get back to" to a job that I actually enjoy doing.