I made a decision two years ago to devote myself to only the creative projects I was doing, and not do anything that took away from that process. That meant I would not create or pitch any new projects.
If a project was pitch-ready and I had a seriously interested party, yeah, I’d take that meeting, but no longer would I seek out new opportunities that would result in me spending any time getting something ready to show.
To devote myself just to the work I was doing so that I could do my best work was a serious undertaking, and to do so I had to look ahead a couple of years and make sure I could handle it financially. Among these projects were a novel and two high profile graphic novels, both for publishers I did not want to disappoint.
I also did not want work out there that did not meet my ever-increasingly anal standards of excellence. I’d done my share of shit and hated it, and there was no way I was going back there.
So in my wisdom, I decided not to take advances on projects so that I could have an open-ended deadline. If you don’t take an advance until the project is completed, you (or at least I can) get an open-ended deadline.
That’s the good part.
The bad part is there is no money coming in.
That’s OK if you have it worked out so your bills are paid in advance, etc., etc.
It was a grand plan, and the work I’m doing is really (at least I think it is) good.
How’s that plan working out for me?
It’s taking me fucking FOREVER to finish these damn projects.
I’ve gotten to the point where I’m rewriting shit a dozen times, or redrawing shit two or three times. Case in point: I’ve included two-pieces for the graphic novel I’m doing for Dark Horse on the Underground Railroad. Both are full-page spreads, and the entire book is in that tedious ass black & white style. And I do not work small. I work BIG.
It occurred to me that taking this route to make sure the work is the best it can be is a double-edged sword, at least it is for me. Among the reasons why an open-ended deadline could work for someone are: you take the time to be pleased with your work, your publisher can only be so annoying, and you can take the occasion to become a better artist or writer, or in my case, both.
On the other side of that sword, the side that will cut you, you may end up taking so much time that you lose interest, you begin to nitpick shit you don’t have to, or, in my very real case, you start a fucking graphic novel about Jackie Robinson a year before they even announce the goddamn movie, and now the movie will be out in 5 fucking months.
That, however, may end up being a good thing. A very good thing, actually, and here’s why. If I can have the book in stores around the same time as the movie, I will benefit from all the movie hype, so that’s my goal now.
So that may just work out for me.
Regarding my grand plan, I also realize that I cannot devote myself to only my creative endeavors because of all the prep I (and Tatiana) do for the Black Panel and my annual party at Comic Con. Not to mention mentoring a couple of people, and all sorts of other shit that I do, like this website and Comicmix. So, long story short: I just may become a ghost over the next few months so I can finish with excellence the projects I’m doing, and then devote my time to other things I really want to do. Until then, I put myself in a corner until I’m done with my current crop of shit. That was my intent in the first place, but now it really makes sense to do so because I see where I could just be taking my time because I have the time to take. I need to finish these things so I can move forward.Truth be told, I’m glad I’ve taken the time I have with these projects, and I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, but there is a time for everything. Now it’s time for me to finish these and move on.
Was I wrong to set up the last two years like I did? Who the fuck knows? I’m not one to second-guess myself on these things — I just know the time to shine (I hope) is now.
So, for better or worse, here I come world, in your face!
Give that a second…