Sunday, June 04, 2006

Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud

Just about anything fun can turn into work.

Part of my daily routine is to check all the blogs I read, and once I’m done with that, I read all the web-comics in my favorites list.

Now, I’ve stated before that I’d love to create a webcomic, and the only things holding me back are:

  1. I can’t draw worth a damn.

  2. I don’t have an idea, bar ripping off Penny Arcade of Ctrl-Alt-Del

Here’s the thing. I used to think webcomic artists had it made.

Despite the fact it’s a very crowded and oversaturated market (One of the pitfalls of the internet, just about anyone can make a webcomic, and the vast majority of them have the same things holding them back as me… but don’t regard a serious lack of talent to be a problem), but, and this is a big but, if you have the talent, you can become very successful.

I mean, take the guys at Penny Arcade, whose page hits number in the millions each day.

That’s an awful lot of eyes on ads (Which I have to say are actually tailored to the readership. In other words, the ads they have on their site are ads I’d actually click…none of that “Click here and get a free iPod’ crap).

Then you factor in things like sales of Penny Arcade T-Shirts, actual comic books, mousepads, plushies etc.

I’m not saying these guys are millionaires, but lets just say they must make enough money to get by.

That sounds like a dream job. Three times a week, you draw a three-panel comic, post it up there, maybe write a news post…and watch the cash roll in. Being able to work from home, sitting at a desk wearing your jeans and T-shirt, not having to worry about another pointless bloody staff meeting…it sounds perfeck.

But then I started thinking about it.

I love to write. It doesn’t matter what it is I’m actually writing, I just love to write.

However, there are days when you couldn’t force me to write anything, even if you had a really big stick. A really big stick with nails in it. A really big stick with nails in it, smeared in poo.

Now, when it comes to comics, there’s plenty of people out there who draw just for the sheer pleasure of it.

However, I think there’s a huge difference in doing something just for fun, and doing the same thing when you absolutely have to do it.

For example, another of the things I love to do is film-making. Some of the best times of my life was when I was doing media studies it college. Given a great video camera and access to a state-of-the-art editing lab.

However, when it came to coursework time, and you absolutely had to be out there with your camera, or sitting in a darkened lab at a work station desperately trying to sync your music up to your footage…I’d give anything to be anywhere else.

So, suddenly that job doesn’t look as attractive as it first seems.

You feel like crap, you don’t want to do anything that day. If you were working a normal job, you could take a sick-day.

However, when you’re your own boss, it must take a hell of a lot of self discipline to force yourself out of bed.

Oh, and if you don’t post regularly, you start to lose your readership, and if you lose your readership, you lose your income.

The other biggie is there’s a huge difference between forcing yourself to go to work, and sit at your desk, doing whatever mind-numbing task you get paid for. Imagine having to be ‘creative’ on cue.

I think the best way to describe it to imagine that your blog has become so successful, that you’re getting hits in the millions each day. You put up a Paypal Donate button, and people actually send you money. You start to make enough money that you make blogging your solitary ‘job’

Now you have to post every single day. Not just post, but write at least 1000 words, and 1000 words people want to read. If you’re like me, you love blogging…but there are days when big sticks with nails in them smeared in poo come to mind.

I never thought I’d say this…but I’m glad I don’t run a successful webcomic.

1 comment:

MC Etcher said...

A webcomic would be a tricky thing to do alone - for things like that it would help to have a partner to keep the thing going.

As for having good ideas every day - just have to build up a cushion of say, 10 completed strips before starting to post them. It would definitely be a lot of work do it well - and for no money. You'd really have to enjoy it just for the sake of doing it.

I don't think you can honestly say that you can't draw worth a damn - you're being too critical. It's all about the writing anyway - just look at Order of the Stick.