Let’s Talk Process: Doing the Work
I feel as though I may have written this blog post before, but herein lays stuff that bears repeating. The moral of the blab is something new authors may not yet have come to understand and more long-term committers sometimes forget in the flurry of creativity or, at the very least, wish they could.
Writing is work. Even when it’s fun, even when it’s easy, it’s work.
I was reminded of this fact recently while working on a comic script for Hero Handlers: Origins.
I’ve been trying to put a comic together for years. It’s something I really want to do. I can taste it in my dreams on the pedestal with the unicorn.
Here’s the thing.
Comic scripting sucks.
At least, I think it does.
Conceiving the comic? Fun. Watching it dance around in your head? Fun. Working with the artist to bring your vision to life? Usually fun.
Doing the work on translating all of that into a form everyone else can share?
Every glaring flaw bounces off the facets of the nip and tuck, blinding you to the positives and the idea you may be able to squeeze something witty out of an already published short story you feelingly thought might be halfway decent and you now know, know, is not that thing.
It’s all clear in your head as you write but now you have to explain it. Probably to someone else because it is a rare individual who can write and draw. And though I hope you have some affinity for that other, it is unlikely you have a psychic link which means you need to feed her every. Tiny. Detail. Which means you have to figure out and put into words or terrifyingly bad sketches every. Tiny. Detail. If you don’t, due to this pesky lack of ESPN, it will be absent from the book. And it’s important. It’s all important until you realize how long it takes to break it all down to pages and panels and beats and atoms and, Christ on a cracker, not only is this word, this phrase, this whole scene not important and utter bullshit and motherfucker who thought this was a good idea.
You. You did. And it was. It is. But you have to do the work if other people are going to discover the fact.
Work is, but it’s nature, not always fun, even if you’re fortunate to spend your career centric life on something you love, or, at the very least, can tolerate most days, even the ones it leaves you filthy and bleeding on the carpet you just had cleaned. But you know that old adage, “if you want something done right…”
No one can write your shit but you. No one can decide what’s important enough to go in your comic except you. This is your brain, your creativity, your style, your livelihood. The thing you secretly take great pride in telling people you are.
All the greats have said, in one way or another, “If you want to be a writer, write.” It applies across the board: if you want to have your name on the cover of a comic, script. If you’d rather be lined up under artist, inker, colorist, do that thing. Do it a lot. You may have to make an investment. Take classes. You will most certainly have to practice.
There will be days you’d rather take a mallet to the head.
Those are the days it’s most important to keep going.
It’s like pregnancy, really. You forget the puking and the sore back and the pain and the indignity The memory lapses are genetically programmed into human DNA so we continue to reproduce and survive.
Just like, if you really want to be a writer, you won’t remember the cramped fingers and the restrain and the numb brain. Wanting to cry because there are still. So. Many. Pages. Because if you do the work, one day you will be siting behind a pile of shiny trade paperbacks of a book you wrote. You may just be at your kitchen table and the only people attending the signing may be your cats, but still. Your book.
Do the work.
It’s well worth it.
And then start the work all over again.