#FAQDevin – I feel like I’m running out of time, what should I do?

Send me your questions! Not kidding guys, I only have a couple in my inbox. Tweet with #FAQDevin to @devinafterdark.

Good one today though (they all are). The question of project scope seems to come up a lot, I think with good reason. It’s difficult to judge what you’re capable of finishing when starting out. But there’s a mental/emotional aspect that often gets tied up in that question. Can I accomplish what I want? Am I capable? Developing the ability to perform a task is usually only part of it.


Courtesy of David O:

I’ve wanted to make comics for as long as I could remember, but never pursued it seriously until about a couple of years ago. I’m in my mid-30’s in figure time is running out for me to create something and I’ve been working hard. The problem I’ve run into now is that I’ve developed 2 really good ideas but can’t decide on which one to proceed with to the finish line.

He then goes on to describe the two ideas a bit. One is a longer, open-ended series and the other shorter and self-contained.

Is it important to have completed stories under my belt or should that not matter and should I just go forward with the story I like even if it’s completion would take much longer?

I just feel like I’m so old now I’ll only have one chance in my life to finish a story and I don’t want to give up halfway through.

Please, any advice would help! Thank you.

Hi David, thanks for the question. First, don’t panic. It’s never really too late unless you get hit by a car or something. I’m in my 30s and have yet to achieve what I want in comics (I just started trying to figure it out a couple years ago). The important thing is just to start. Right now, today.

The problem with leading off with the longer “magnum opus” is you’re going to be really gun-shy about making mistakes, which will happen constantly. Instead, I would recommend starting off with much shorter projects—a three-panel strip, a one-page short, a five-page short—and work up to a longer project. Pick different ideas you aren’t overly attached to and don’t judge the result that harshly. You’re going to need to learn the process first.

If you’re anything like me the hardest battle is going to be the mental one, since at this point in your life I imagine you’re used to a certain level of competency and failure at something new and important can be hard. Try to view it from the standpoint of sharpening yourself as a creator more than any individual success/failure.

It’s going to be tough, but you can do it. I’ve been exactly where you are now.

Good luck!


3 Responses to “#FAQDevin – I feel like I’m running out of time, what should I do?”

  1. Bill Taylor

    The other problem with the magum opus is that the creator doesn’t get to decide what their magnum opus is, the readers decide that for themselves. Like Devin suggested, starting with something shorter to learn the ropes is a great move, it will allow you to progress through the narrative without everything being so precious that it’s hard to make tough decisions.

  2. arnie

    Another thing is to copyright your idea. If you’re going to put it out there, and make the effort to develop the idea, squeeze in the time to make sure nobody steals it away, just in case it becomes the next “opus”.

  3. Matthew Sample II

    An art teacher once told me that I’ve got turkeys in my system. He was talking about paintings, and encouraging me to just paint those turkeys out. The more I paint, the more bad paintings will be behind me. Theoretically, I’ll work up to making better and better paintings.

    I think the same is true for telling stories.

    As I’ve developed several story ideas, I’ve kept in mind that I need to make my first one as doable as possible. I want it to get done, not flounder on forever. I’m to the point where I have a story that is about 300+ pages long and another story that’s about 150 pages long. I’m totally going to go with the shorter story.

    I want to tell as many comics stories as possible. To get the turkeys out of my system


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