So I managed to sit down with Clay Adams and Will Allred to answer two reader’s questions in this video
- What’s more important discipline or creativity?
- Are comic book creators writers who learnt to draw or artists you make a plot
Clay and Will are both comic book writers themselves and have a wealth of experience to share around this – here’s the video where they take on these two questions
I think you’ll agree that was a really insightful session – here’s my takeaways from what they spoke about.
What’s more important discipline or creativity?
So first of all what do you think?
Will and Clay both put the arguments forward for discipline, they had some excellent techniques that will help you get the work done
This essentially is a technique where you plan out where you want to be after a short amount of time has elapsed. You can set that interval yourself, where do you want to be after an hour, a week, a month?There’s a quote I really live by and that is work expands the time you allow for it.
What that essentially means if you say you are going to get a chapter or page written in an four hours you will get it written in a four hours, if you spin that around, and say you’re going to get that page written in an hour, then it will happen in an hour – I use this technique a lot and try to shrink down the amount of time it takes to do things.
Clay mentioned this app, essentially this is an app that can block the internet or any specific programme for a time period that you set. I’ve not used it myself, but I can definitely see how this would help those of us who are short on discipline to force ourselves to do the work.They do have a decent amount of research on their site to tell you why focusing is important, I mean I guess we all know, but the stats are super interesting, it says that you lose 23 minutes each time you sit down (from checking email to social media before you start working), that multitasking is 40% less productive, will power is finite and the distractions are habit forming – I think most people will agree with that
From their pricing page https://freedom.to/pricing seems the costing is $2.42 per month if you sign up for the whole year.
Pause a few seconds on their pricing page and they will offer you a discount of 30%
It says it’s time limited but a simple ctrl + F5 will allow you to get that offer again if you want to explore their site a bit more.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (tomato).
There are six steps in the original technique:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If you have less than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
This is a great one, sometimes just being as stubborn as a mule can actually work to your benefit. Especially in this crazy world that we live in, things are often marketed to us as being easy, straight forward and will yield life changing results.
The truth is actually mostly the opposite, while things like digital marketing, self publishing can definitely yield many of the modern day lifestyle fantasies, seldom are they straight forward and they actually require as much work as working a regular day job.
So why would anyone persist with this?
I mean if you’re going to put all these extra hours in, and when I say put them in, I mean most people are working them in around their current day jobs – then why wouldn’t you just take the security that your day job offers you?
Well the vast majority people do take the security of the day job, right?
So this is where stubbornness comes in, whilst most of us enjoy the work that having an online income aim for, perhaps we don’t enjoy having to work two jobs to achieve it – but the sheer stubbornness means we keep pushing through with this.
What if you’re a parent
This is one I get asked a lot, I not going to write some long motivational speech on this – if you want to know that you can do things as a parent, jump across to my parenting blog – www.workingparent.info if you want to see all the things you can still achieve with your life when you are a parent with a full time job.
Just by quick way of stats to show you a before and after picture of creative projects I have made before and after becoming a parent.
- Before coming a parent (say 20 years from being a grown up to being a parent)
- number of books written: 0
- number of films made: 4
- number of films worked on: 8
- number of blogs I created: 1
- number of YouTube channels I created: 1
- number of comic books written: 1
- Total Creative Projects: 15
- After becoming a parent (in the last 8 years)
- number of books written: 4
- number of films made: 3
- number of films worked on: 2
- number of blogs I created: 3
- number of YouTube channels I created: 3
- number of comic books written: 1
- Total Creative Projects: 16
So from my own experience after you become a parent and still try to work on your own projects?
- is it harder to do?
- Yes, that’s for sure,
- Do you have as much time to do your extra work?
- No, not even close
- Do you have to be disciplined and well prepared?
- You have to run a very tight ship
- Can it still be done?
- it can still work – if you want it bad enough
Running with your best idea
In the video Will mentioned a quote from the author Charles Stross, that went something like I’ve probably got ideas for another 100 books, but realistically I’ll get 30 of them written before my life is over.
I did search through Charles’ blog but couldn’t find the exact quite, but it is still an excellent driving force to get your projects underway and complete. Everyone has ideas, but choosing the best idea – what is that you want to get done in the rest of your time?
The arguments for creativity
Though I did say in the video that my own opinion is that it’s the creativity that is more important, I think now that I’ve listened back to Will and Clay’s input and as I write this I think there’s a continuum that is at work here. Certainly at the start of the project, I think creativity is more important, but as you progress through the project then there is a sliding scale where discipline is going to get you through to the finish line.
I think you have to continue to sprinkle the creativity in at later stages of the project.
- It’s the creatvitiy that reminds your why you are doing this – keep a symbol of that creative spark in a place where you can easily see it, you’ll need it most when you need to remind yourself why are you putting yourself through the insanity?
- Being disciplined and ending up with a mediocre – you need creativity to make it awesome
- If you believe in what you’re doing enough you’ll find a way
The second question was from flute armor guy from Reddit, the question was
Are comic book creators writers who learnt to draw or artists you make a plot?
There are some people who are the whole package, but most of us aren’t, but they are storytellers first and foremost people like Neil Gaiman and Will Eisner are excellent examples of this.
The reference in the video was Scott McCloued ‘Understanding Comics’ – understand the true power of what the medium is capable of.
In the 80s we saw a lot of those amazing all in one packages, people like Terry Moore, we don’t see that as much nowadays, I wonder why that is. Perhaps they are out there on Kickstarter, my own theory on this is that it’s now easier to collaborate online than it was in the past. The internet offers us so many possibilities for writers and artists to find each other and work together – I do like this model as I’ve found some really amazing collaborators to work with on Digitopia: The Web Comic.
There is the question of artists serving someone else’s vision – Will, Clay and I have all worked with artists and found out the best comic book artists have to be story tellers.
But which comes first?
Story telling is so important in every aspect, everyone involved has to develop story telling techniques, you have to see sequential art there is a difference between an artist who does a single pinup versus sequential art – this applies equally to colourist as it does to pencillers/inkers.
The least exciting pages are when the artist does what was asked of them.
Get your value for money from the artist to get them to contribute to the story, as long as an artist is telling the basic story then feel free to change it.
When to back off over creative differences – there will be difficult discussions
Sometimes you do feel strongly about something and have creative differences. It’s important to set who has the final say on it, but always do it a respectful manner. If you know up front what the process is for sign off, you can avoid any clashes – and really if you are clashing over a particular page, panel or speech bubble, then consider that you’re in a team where the team members care about the story – that’s a good thing.
The artists job is to realise the story and bring to the table something that the writer hasn’t thought of.
Will mentioned on the call that Neil Gaiman says a script is a really long letter to your artist explaining what the story is – but the artist can and should come back with their own take – disagreements are healthy.
Rock band analogy
So something that Clay said was very interesting that you can think of the artist as the lead singer, the rest of us (writers, colourists, letters, editors, publishers) are the other parts of the band
Trying to find interesting ways for getting the artist into the story
95% of a directors job on a film is casting, if you cast it right than the director’s job is easier. It’s kind of similar for a writer, if you can find the right team then you’re job
Thanks to Clay Adams and Will Allred for taking time out to share their knowledge and experience about this, you can find Clay
- at friedcomics.com,
- on facebook at facebook.com/friedcomics,
- on twitter at @friedcomics and @clayseviltwin
You can find Will at
Thanks for reading, and do hit these social like buttons too – if you haven’t already jump across to the web comic here.