[Rant] Trait 1: Determination
I’ll be honest, my confidence in my creative endeavors has always been a shaky thing. Between harsh self-criticsm and (over) reaction to people’s indifference, leads me to throw up my hands at the whole thing and stalk away, intent on ignoring the whole things for months on end–only to come back to it a day later when something strikes me.
Granted, there are some projects I may never come back to. The most recent example being a story series I was planning. It was going to be a sort of tourney thing featuring characters of other people from the site I was going to post the episodes to. Well, at first it took a monumental effort–at least it felt that way–to get people to follow the one thing I had asked of them: “If you want to participate, comment on the pilot so I know you know what you’re getting into.”
To be fair, I did eventually get all of the interested parties to sign up that way, so I suppose that’s a victory. Meanwhile, two months passed between posting the pilot and when I gave up on the project. In that time I must have posted a whole stack of other things to my gallery. Of the people that were getting a free story, only a few made any noticeable recognition of these additions. Which, to my semi-neurotic self, begged two questions: “Are y’all just here for the free stuff?” and “Do you even like what I’m doing?”
I’ve had trouble with the “Free Stuff” question before and it was responsible for more than it’s fair share of /ragequits. Back when I used to draw every night and stream, there were considerable differences in the number of people who stopped by on a normal night and on a night where I was giving sketches away. Of course, you say. Why not? It’s reasonable to expect people who want free things to show up. Well, when the difference is something on par with twenty to one in favor of free sketch sessions, it gets a little…grating.
As for the “Do you even like this,” well that’s sort of why I haven’t drawn in a while—about three months actually. At the end of August a friend held an auction to help one of his friends raise money. On the prowl, you could say, to get my name out there, I volunteered to be a prize. Surprisingly, I got bid on, quite a bit actually—so when it ended I was feeling mighty pleased with myself, it felt like getting that first gig.
So you can understand how I felt when things went south, but I’m getting ahead of my self. When the winning bidder approached me and asked what the comic was going to be drawn like, I felt a pang of apprehension. Not sure what they meant, I showed them my normal comic style. They came back with a link to some line art I had colored for someone else, seeming, to me at least, confused as to why that wasn’t my style. We noted back and forth and it eventually came to the conclusion that he would donate anyway—even though he wasn’t getting what he want. As if it was somehow my fault that he didn’t look at the rest of my gallery.
Either way, I was kind of crushed—and by kind of, I mean totally. I didn’t draw for weeks, even my writing suffered. I was probably a hassle to be around. I’ve only posted six things since then, compared to when I was posting two or three things a day. And some of that is school, some of that is League of Legends, but most of it is being fed up with my audience.
Which, annoyingly is sort of what got me into this in the first place. When I started out, I was uploading chapter drafts of my novel. While what I was posting did quite match up with the site’s theme, I had a couple people who were interested and I enjoyed the feedback they gave me. So in what turned out to be a foolish gambit, I tried to widen my appeal—which only ended up with those few feeling alienated and a horde of voiceless fans who cared only for the new things that I wrote and nothing before that.
Well, this is starting to get long, so I’ll wrap up. Even with all this though, I’m still drawing, still writing, and all the angst about my ability only makes me do so more. So what if I never get to be as good as the people I look up to? So what if people with less skill but more focused appeal get fawned over? It doesn’t matter, they’re not me. Never will be, just as much as I can never be them.
And you know what? I think I can live with that.