Comic finished 7 hours early! Although I did start this one over a week ago. But considering that I spent 3 days being obsessed with my web traffic and sad about bigotry, I’m plenty pleased. It was super motivating that the Fox suggested he come over for a writing party. It’s a thing he does: a bunch of writers sit around and write. I haven’t been to one in a while. So I had to finish this comic so I could actually write at this writing party. Then the Fox cancelled on me. Fine! I’ll have my own writing party! With hookers and blackjack! Well, maybe not those things. But things that are just as fun but less likely to give you a disease or get you arrested or clean out your bank account.
When you start out in an artistic pursuit, you do it out of joy. And probably for a long time you do it for yourself and it’s completely joyful. And then sooner or later, if you want to do it at a higher level, you’ll show it to someone who is more vested in honesty and craft than loving you. That someone will offer criticism, and you will start to see the imperfections. But if you’re an artist, you keep honing your craft. Maybe you take classes. You keep getting better and better. If you take a lot of classes–perhaps if you become, technically, academically, a “master” of your art–you get the opposite of beginner mind. You approach everything critically. You accept nothing with joy. You’re 100 times better than you were when you started, maybe 1000 times. But you can only see the flaws.
That happened. I thought about this book I wanted to write for more than 6 months. Close to a year, I guess. And I got really worked up about it. And I put all these conditions on myself, and finally I allowed it to start. And I wrote a pretty pleasing prologue. And then I said, OK, where does this story start? And I started it with the main character getting off an airplane to start his new life and meeting some characters who would figure prominently in the first part of the story.
But then master mind kicked in. No, no, no. That’s prosaic. This meeting has nothing to do with the story; these characters are of minor importance. The story starts with something important to the story, with major symbols and recurrent themes and a focus on tone. Meaning I wrote an entire chapter I will now throw out. Not an auspicious beginning. But possibly better than writing for a year and then having someone better tell you, “No, no, no, that’s prosaic and doesn’t advance the narrative.” Actually, I know what I’m doing.
The point of this comic, though, is that none of that matters. What matters is that you sit down and do the thing. And then you do it again and again and again until the thing is done.