Sorry about the lack of updates on here lately. June of 2012 turned out to be a meat grinder, and I’m only now curling my toes around the foot holds on what I still call my “schedule” — not by any means the least help has been a small disciplinary exercise I came up with and have been observing for the past month.
If you’re anything like me, a creature of ritual, you have a fixed set of things you like to do before you actually start drawing, writing, or whatever it is you do. The attendant “sup” with the Skype buddies. The near-Pavlovian Facebook Like. The snarky midday Tweet. In the midst of all this, I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping a .txt file on my desktop titled “Ten Things.” If you hate lists, you might as well stop reading now.
What it is, is an enumeration of all the work-related things I accomplish over a work week, as they are accomplished. But as a play on my OC-ness, it starts out as a blank list already numbered one to ten. This way, I am always aware of how much I still haven’t gotten done. A partially complete list exhudes a sort of cognizant want to finish it, or as close to ten as you can get. The mechanism is simple but surprisingly effective.
Comic pages. A set of layouts. A character design. These are all aspects of my job that I can accomplish over the course of the week. Seeing the list build up mid-week not only gives you an idea of how much further there is to go, but also gives you a better sense of accomplishment. So you did five pages? Great, that’s five items on the list. Snuck in a character design or two? Even better.
There are of course some caveats. One will ask “What about blog updates? Those are work related.” Sure. But unless this is what you get paid to do, for all you role-players, This effect does not stack. So you posted ten blog updates? That’s one item on the list. Same goes for personal art. One item.
It didn’t seem to have a point at first, especially because all it did was make me feel bad about not always reaching my number ten. And I won’t lie, most of the time you won’t. But what you learn very quickly is that it’s not hitting that number that’s important, but trying to. And when all is said and done, it’s still art, right? Hopefully most of it succeeds, but some of it always fails. The important thing is that you tried. And y’know what? there’s always next week’s list.