I’ve known something for a long time.  It’s stirred in the back of my subconscious, never demanding to be let out, but always remaining as a tantalizing tease at the beginning of my thoughts.  It’s been a frustrating little bugger, but only because I had to learn to acknowledge it before it would acknowledge ME.

I am a person of ideas, not facts.

I love to create things.  Random ideas flit into my head, only to be snagged and fitted into a myriad stream of puzzles – all different stories, each one a jumble.  I obsess over the tiniest details, worry about continuity, and generally shape each story like a sculptor shapes his statue – tireless, but slow.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that part of the jumble stems from a lack of discipline, and patience – the ability to make ideas into fact, or tangible reality.  This trait has to be learned.  It cannot be gained in a sudden flash of insight, or inherited from one’s parents (though, certain genetic traits DO encourage it to work BETTER).  I cannot simply wish it to be so, and suddenly have the ability.  Life doesn’t work that way.

I’d like to think that I’m gaining some ground, though.  A few nuggets of wisdom have allowed me to etch a little more time for the work out of seemingly used-up hours.  I’m able to focus a little bit better.  I have a plan for the future that acknowledges the day-to-day struggle, rather than simply putting grand dreams on the table and asking for a splendid feast with no recipes.

At the same time, I have to acknowledge that there are certain things that will always get in the way of progress.  Crippling self-doubt is a challenge that every creator struggles with, and no two people have the same way out.  You have to learn how to deal with your own nightmares – even if suggestions from others help, they will never fully reveal the answers.

Time is another issue.  I constantly search for more time, yet constantly sabotage myself by taking on more tasks than I can handle that require it.  And yet, when I do have the time at hand, I struggle to do the work – something about a frantic deadline is much more effective at motivating me than ANY other attempt I have ever made.

Here’s the kicker: If I wanted it bad enough, NONE OF THIS WOULD MATTER.

And the sad part is, that is exactly right.

Right now, what I want most of all is to be financially secure, with some hint of a savings that will allow my girlfriend and I to stop living paycheck to paycheck.  Comics will not do that for me, not right now, because I promised myself when I started working on them that I would not ask for donations.  I would not receive money unless people gained something in return – whether it be a button, a .pdf copy of my work, or a physical book.  I don’t begrudge any other artist their donation buttons – or condemn them.  I simply do not see how I can justify asking for money for something that I do that is not being given the amount of work and effort that a ‘real’ job would ask for.  I don’t have the discipline for it – not yet.

Right now, the most important thing to me is to advance my career, not comicking.  I like doing it, but it is more of a hobby than anything else – I don’t quite have the right skillset to make it more than that on my own.  In short, I have two jobs because I wanted a chance to work in the industry I went to school for – and, right now, comicking is becoming a third job, I can’t keep up with the stress, and there are no distinct rewards to all this effort at the moment!

Does this mean the end of Serious Lesbian?  No.  The end of my creative career?  Hardly.  Creating things is like breathing to me.  I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had at least one story idea crammed into my back pocket.  I can no more stop being creative than I could stop thinking.  It just doesn’t work like that.

However, I do need to pull back.  I can’t keep apologizing for not doing the work properly.  Webcomic readers have certain expectations – I know this from being one – and right now, I meet very few.  I do not update on time, the story is not enough to draw people in and keep them there, and the artwork – while improving – is not justification enough to keep reading.  Worst of all, I’m constantly feeling guilty over things I feel I ‘should’ be doing better, and that is making the entire process a chore.  A chore I’m not getting paid for, to boot.

So, that in mind, here’s the deal.  I will continue to update the comic, but I make no bones about it being sporadic.  I am trying very hard to get a career in my field, and I cannot keep putting off the extra work I HAVE to do in order to get there.

At the same time, I WILL be working to develop the discipline I’ll need to make a successful comic.  To work in a field that has found me few mentors, and even fewer people to be responsible to.  I have to learn to be responsible to MYSELF over anyone else.  It won’t work, otherwise.

And maybe, by the time I’ve settled into something closer to normalcy in my life – when I’m working closer to 40 hours a week instead of 60 – I’ll have developed enough of the discipline, interest, and time needed to keep a twice-weekly comic going.  And to make a story that I would want to read.

© 2011, Kira. All rights reserved.