Monday, February 10, 2014

Creative Destruction

  I'm not a procrastinator, I just very rarely  get  anything done all the way through.  I get the big stuff done. I get the immediate stuff done.  I  go to my day job every day because  if I don't, it has an immediate effect on those in my care.  I fix the family vehicles because that also, has an immediate presence and pressure in  life.  I study for my Sunday School class because Sunday will be here before you know it.   There are always kids that need to be bathed, or stories to be read, or meals to be cooked and eaten. In the  crush to take care of the immediate, everything is  is not immediate gets  put on the back burner.  So I'm not a procrastinator, at least I don't think I am.  I  just am overwhelmed with the immediate, most of the time.  I also  have an overinflated sense of duty.
  There is a second tier though, and that are things that aren't immediate, but are a result of my obsessive personality.  I play my accordion every day because I need the practice. I  read my Bible every day because  I really need the practice.  There are certain people whom I pray for every day (one of them is named Katherine) because I  made a commitment in that area, often years ago.
  The  third tier are things that  would be nice to do, and eventually do need to get done. My property is a monument to unfinished , non-urgent projects. There is a swimming pool that needs to be  assembled, and a lawn tractor that needs a new carburetor. The chickens are escaping, and  somebody needs to fix their pen.  You get the idea.
  The fourth tier ( but who's counting) are simply things that I would like to get done. These generally are creative projects that are being done for no real monetary reward. This blog is one of those. In addition to this, I am  writing, in bits and pieces, at least 3 books. I also am an artist, but more on that, in a moment.
  I am laying all this out there because I want to make it clear, I'm not a procrastinator, I'm actually an obsessive perfectionist work-aholic who happens to be very lousy at finishing anything because all of these tendencies tend to work against each other.  I also  want to give you an example of  not finishing something because I  just can't stop fiddling with it.
  A few years back, I  decided to do something with my art, and  picked up a long-neglected project, transforming it into a webcomic. It was fun, and I had a small following, but soon became overwhelmed with the  pressures of  putting out  an appropriate level of quality on a semi-regular basis.  After all, it was being done for  free, and at the time I was working  2 jobs.  I walked away from it, for the time being.
  Years passed, and I decided one day to look into the viability of  picking up where I left off.  I looked at the success of  comics on Kindle and went "Yeah, I could do that, and  even make a buck or two".  The first step was to look at what I had already done.  Big mistake. It was horrible.  The art was bad, the writing  was  stupid. I was embarrassed that it had ever seen the light of day. Notice that I  am not linking to it, it really is that bad. I decided the thing to do was to start afresh, incorporating everything I had learned  since then.
  So I redid the characters, changed the  backstory, updated the look.  I then found myself obsessively  drawing and designing every little facet of this world I was creating.  The reader would never notice, but I would, and that was reason enough.  I was in 'the zone'. From doorknobs to lightbulbs, everything had to look just right.  As fun as that process is, it doesn't   lend itself to actually FINISHING anything.  The alternative appears to be settle for a work that is  slightly less than the  best I could possibly produce, and the very thought  of such turns my stomach.
  This is how I go from this:

To this....

And eventually this....

  Now multiply this panel  by several hundred, and  you see my dilemma.  I'm certain that, by the time I finish this run-through, I will look back at my current efforts and be horribly ashamed.  This will start the process all over again...
  Am I the only one like this?

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