A New Journey Begins
I seem to have stumbled across this new venture in Internet technology. It seems like a cozy corner(they even let me smoke!). It never seems to amaze me that every time I have a "new" idea, it's already been done. No matter, though, this place seems to have it together.
So, why am I here? Why are you here? Hopefully, you're here for the same reason I am. Being a writer/creator can be the most rewarding experience some of us will ever have. It can also prove to be quite lonely and miserable. My goal here is to alleviate some of the latter. The ability to become successful, I have found, does lie completely within yourself. For the longest time, I thought it was luck. Then, when even my bad luck seemed to run out, I realized that's not it at all. Read every article, book, blog, etc. out there and everyone who has made it says it all comes down to hard work.
I sit here now, going through old manuscripts, links on various websites, talking to both old and new contacts. I am learning that jard work really is the secret ingredient I have been missing all this time. I thought I had it. Ask anyone who knows me. I am a dedicated--nose-to-the-grindstone--worker. I set myself against impossible odds and I tend to make it through okay, if not triumphant. When it comes to "my baby" (aka, my writing), I have always been a bit too protective, a bit too worried.
That changes here and now. It is time to dedicate the time and energy back into my own work. I could kick myself for the writing that has gone missing, the contacts I have misplaced, and the files that seem to be on a now dead harddrive. I am placing a new system into effect. In the meantime, I plan on sharing my adventures, mishaps, and lessons here, with all of you.
I'll also be posting interesting articles and links to things that fit in with these new professional archietcture of mine. That will all come in time, though. I'm new here. Let me settle in a bit, get used to the lighting, and relax for a minute.
Day 1...Step 1.
Honestly, the first step, which is before this one is to have a goal. Focus on it and get it done. Have that story or article you want to do, and do it. You can't publish a book without writing it, after all. For me, I set my goal to write. I want to be successful and write numerous things. I've had too many issues in the past where focusing too much on what to write and why has slowed me down. So, for now, 'write' is a good enough goal.
I spent the majority of my first day doing some basic prep work. Organization is key. I have a tendancy to be a bit of a pack rat, both on ther Internet and in my home. So, I took a lot of time tidying up my work area--getting the scraps of paper picked up and put away or tossed out, rearranging my tools, organizing my folders and bookmarks, etc. This wasn't simply busy work. Looking for a single file could take an hour. Later, when everything starts to fall into place, it'll be a big payoff. I don't want to be in the middle of trying to meet a deadline and be surrounded by chaos. So, take the little bit of time and effort and get yourself ready. Think of it like your first day at a new job. that is, in essence, what this is.
Go in, get everything set up the way you like and then nose to the grindstone. Think of the small things, like arranging all your misfiled documents, getting your playlists ready to go, making sure you're stocked up on supplies, caffine and smokes. Once everything gets rolling for you, a 5 minute run to the store could turn into hours of missed work.
Day 1...Step 2
Balancing work and family has always been an issue for me. I love the kids to death, but I find myself constantly struggling to provide better for them. As a result, much missed time has gone by, as they continue to grow, I often become the part of a stranger, stuck in some far away office. When I first started staying at home, I tried to make up for all that missed tim eand enjoyed so much of the time we now had to spend together. While I hate to call it a 'novelty' it did wear off to an extent. I realized, while they were eating tonight, and I was doing chores, I was making the mistake of taking this time for granted.
Solution? Set a schedule. Okay, schedules can be hard. You need them with kids, and they also become impossible with children. But, I (you) NEED to set the special time apart from everything else where you can instead spend time with them. I did this today an it was extremely rewarding. It is now on my DAILY 'to do' list, which is another thing I cooked up to help keep organized. Looking over it now, I realize I'll be missing out on some sleep here in the beginning stages, but things will work out.
Day 1...Step 3
Research. Research. Research. You'll here this anywhere you go. Know your publisher. Know your prospective agent. Know your audience. Know EVERYTHING. While this is all well and good, I came to the realization of a truth I had been denying. Most, if not all, of my previous work has gone to the wind. A crashed harddrive, several ill-planned moves, and three kids later, I'm starting from scratch. I've found some of my published work online, but it's limited and it's seriously outdated. I need to build my portfolio from scratch, essentially. That's how I found this site and a few others like it. Research.
Don't just research the same old stuff. Research everything. If you're building a portfolio, hit the writer's websites, google, and plaes ike this tremedously. Find what you can do where. Some people are good enough they can pick and choose their jobs. The majority of us, however, we need to take what we can. So, learn to diversify early on, and find the best way/place(s) to do it.
Day 2...Step 4
I took a bit of a plunge and bravely posted on a comic creator site, www.DigitalWebbing.com last night, asking for any of the participants there if they would be willing to offer me a chance to build my portfolio by doing interviews/reviews/press materials via my blogs for their projects. Last I checked, I had near 40 views, and only one bite so far. This shouldn't be alarming since many people of those boards are either quite busy, suspicious, or don't have any up and coming projects. Either way, I am currently waiting to hear back.
This could be a good step for me, getting in good with published parties could open more doors later on. People thought the same of when I was published by Image with Jerry Beck's Something Wicked, but that simply wasn't the case. I gained no super star status. There were no shortcuts I could offer anyone.
Day 2. ....Step 5
I took some time, along the vein of posting on DigitalWebbing for comics' creators, and visited several other popular sites I often visit. Most of these were company sites, such as White Wolf's www.worldofdarkness.com, Hasbro's/Wizards of the Coast's www.wizards.com/dnd, TopCow.com, and even MySpace.com. These are two of the industries that most appeal to me. Role-playing games and comic books/graphic novels. I made an active effort to bookmark these pages today, because those few seconds savedby clicking rather than typing I found can add up to some decent time.
I'm going to be looking to these sites for what's coming out and what's already out, not only for my own wants/needs, but also for my blogs, for interviews, and--hopefully--down the road, a job. It makes perfect sense to keep on top of the markets you're interested in. Sure, you'll be at the bottom when you start, but at least you know why you're there and where you're headed.
Day 2....Step 6
Admittedly, I had NO clue what I was getting into when I started blogging (just yesterday). This market is HUGE. It's so advanced, to find "real" begginer info is hard to do. I have a lot of research to do, and have started collecting a frightening amount of links. For lesser people, this may not be the way to go. For me? I welcome the challenge.
Day 3...Step 7
Having most of my materials in order, and having already started writing, I took some time out to make some new contacts as well reestablish old ones. This was kind of a frightening task. I have always presented myself as a professional, because I am. Yet, here I am, working to re-develop a portfolio. People I once asked for work, I am now instead asking for advice or to agree to an interview or some such thing.
On the upside, there have been no negative responses so far. Everyone who has responded has been very helpful. I have also made some new friends/contacts in my journey. Overall, a very worthwhile and rewarding experience so far.
Day 3....Step 8
I can't believe it's taken me so long to get to this point. I suppose for some it takes longer. And, for many, it's never achieved. I have put the pen to paper and started writing prose. I have some things I feel I'll be able to post within a day or so. That's a good start and what this is all about. Just keep focused and keep pressing. That's what I and others keep telling me.
Day 4....Step 9
Today has taken a few unexpected twists. My daughter got out of school early, something we didn't know about until this morning just before it happened. The school apparently scheduled it without making sure full notification was given. It was readily apparent to me how important my schedule is to me. It never goes the way I want it to, but when something totally unexpected comes up like this it is disturbing. Kids? They don't know any better--things just happen. But a school board, full of suposed adults?!? Come on.
I started the interview process with a number of pros in the comic book industry. Artists, writers, publishers. Like I said before, everyone has been very helpful. I've also got some previews/reviews of up and coming books on the way, so keep your eyes peeled.
The new step I have added is a further step into the 'unknown'. I've started looking at writing more research-centric blogs. To that end, it would be easy to write on something I already know. Instead, I'll be writing a few on things I have to research and really get into to be able to do effectively.
For the longest time, I was a 'writer.' But, I only wrote what I wanted to, when I wanted to. This seriously cramped me, and I didn't realize how much. I spread out a bit when I became a journalist a few years back, but that unfortunately didn't last for long. Well, beggars cannot be choosers. It's time to broaden my horizons or die for my arrogance.
So, step 9 is spread out. Make yourself more diverse. Accept jobs yur normally wouldn't just for the chance.
Day 4....Step 10
A new day begins once I have fallen asleep for an extended period of time and woken up. This evening,w e focused more on research. I am learning better how blogging works, particularly the money-making side of it. I expect there will be a lot of changes around here soon.
Days 5 & 6
Granted, there really isn't much more to add at this point. From here on out, it's a constant diet of hard work and dedication. One point I will reiterate is organization. Remember how I talked about this in the beginning? Now, as I begin to accumulate contacts, programs, etc., organization is ever-so MORE important. My email box is filling up like I didn't know it could, and I'm finding myself struggling to meet self-set deadlines and goals this early in the game. This isn't because deadlines are hard, but just keep everything in order. I'm sure it would be easier were there already a promise of a payoff at the end, or if I was only needing to work on one or two things at a time, but the number of things I am working on just to try and get into it all easy numbers past 10 at a time. Multiple browser windows and tabs open. Two word processing programs. Emails. The list goes on. Add all this to the life of a dad dealing with three small children. It seems like it'd be easy to go crazy in this environment. Luckily, I already am. =D