Treading Water and Parallel Project Pipelines

Saint Louis Small Press Expo was this past weekend. It was pretty amazing. I got the second chapter of “Less than Spectacular” complete, and it looks great! I can’t wait to see it in color. My sales were good, I had a lot of great conversations with people who are really passionate about what they do (comic and ‘zine people are amazing), and got some great books. I left the show INSPIRED. Inspired to write more stories, to teach more classes, and to do more illustrations.¬†

But first I gotta…

There’s always something else that needs to be done, and commission work often exists in parallel with new and current projects. The trick is to keep energy and enthusiasm up during the busy times, so that I can work during the down times. One of the new ‘Zines I picked up this weekend “The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad” by Adam Gnade is a book of mini-peptalks, talking frankly about living with (and through) depression. A couple of points really stood out to me this week:

  • Set your expectations high but be ready to work. Be ready to fight like a wild animal.
  • Never lie. Even when the truth is painful, tell it. Square up to the repercussions.

Setting my expectations high has always been easy for me, but lately the desire to work on things that aren’t in my in-box has been at an all time low. I haven’t been moving forward and so have been feeling like I’m weighted down while treading water. I’ve ¬†feeling like I need to work harder, just tread water faster so I don’t drown. Maybe instead of working harder, the answer is to FIGHT harder. Fight for the work that I want to do instead of doing more of the work that I don’t want.

Committing mental space to projects that I don’t want to work on…Typically a people pleaser, it’s difficult for me to say no to commission requests, or other demands on my time. ¬†Admitting that a project was beyond the scope of my skill set, and the anxiety of needing to tell a potential client that, has been getting in the way of work a lot lately. I don’t want to let people down, and it felt like saying that I maybe wasn’t right for this project felt that way to me. Literally, all I needed to do was send him a message saying that. Instead, I avoided the situation.

It turned out less than ideal, ending with me finally saying telling him all of that by way of explanation and apology. I’ve been doing this job for a lot of years, but still act like I’m afraid of actually succeeding at my job.

So here we are. At the end of another week, but really starting to fight hard to move forward. My goal for this weekend is to have a rough sketch for a new cover for Hex Games to talk to you about on Monday. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Your friend,
Jeffrey

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