#NoLookingBack #001 – Beginnings

The route that led me to the moment I coined for myself my definition of #NoLookingBack was a long one, filled with quantities of frustration and disappointment that I still cannot fully express. This is not because I lack the words to communicate my thouhhts or the understanding of the events that transpired needed to generate said expression, but because the definition of #NoLookingBack that I came upon dictates that it is no longer necessary to dwell on the past, so long as I learn from my mistakes and strive to do better on each subsequent step of my journey towards the life and career that I aspire to.  Reality necessitates that, because of outstanding financial issues, I inevitably revisit these events and deal with the ramifications of their fallout, however, this new ideology — yes, let’s call it that — is one that allows me to separate from the burden and realize that it is simply a necessity and creates for me the opportunity to learn from these events and improve upon myself as a creator.

The realization was actually quite simple:  through pattern recognition I learned that if I want to put out a comic book that actually represents my vision and strives for success — as I choose to define it — I could no longer try to play the collaboration game. I had spent too much time and money on collaborative efforts and had found my ability to discern whom I should try to work with lacking.  I had to reinvent myself and get over my biggest fear as a creator: that my drawing skills are severely lacking and that no one would read a comic I drew. I had it in my head that I couldn’t ask people to buy a comic that I myself would not pay money for. The obvious solution was even one that I had worries about, and thought my art wasn’t good enough to even try and gain an audience with: Webcomics. But that’s where we come back to what I mean by #NoLookingBack : It is a personal philosophy of endeavouring to achieve my goals while learning how to do it, practice through the practical application of the skills needed to make the comics I wanted to make, to market it and build an audience and find a way to make a living off of my ideas. This entails that I produce content without being embarassed by it or letting my recognition of where my flaws are hinder me from releasing it or letting myself obsess over trying to make it right or perfect. I had to release it and learn from my missteps to make it better. This all sounds so simple when I write it out, but it wasn’t an easily accepted realization. It’s amazing how hitting a new low, having years worth of progress and effort dashed to the side by forces outside of your direct control, can get you over yourself. I had to take a step back and reinvent myself, change everything about how I was going about chasing this vision of mine, if I was going to succeed and not be sent into an infinite tailspin. This might sound similar to your experiences as well. You might call it something else, but it helped me to label it and make it mine, to hash-tag it and motto-ify it and brand it as my own. This is my path and my plan.

But what exactly does this mean I’ll be doing?

Well, it goes something like this:

1) I’ll be releasing content regularly and inspite of flaws. If I finish drawing a page of my comic,it gets lettered and put in the can for release. This applies to blogs and other content as well.

2) Record my flaws and actively work towards improving in those areas moving forward.  This list may or may not be an actually written out and tracked list.

3) Actively acquire and engage with feedback; and ignore the inevitable haters. It may hurt for a moment when you tell me how terrible my art is, but I know where I’ve come from and how much difference a year can be in getting better

4) Pursue knowledge. Likely the most important and understated requirement for getting to be better is to obtain the skills and information needed to be able to level up. A voracious appetite for knowledge and seeking it out, after correctly identifying, what you need to know, is going to be an advantage.

To this end, I have enrolled in a couple of classes being taught by Ty Templeton in Toronto, under his comicbookbootcamp.com program to learn from someone who has had longevity and success in the industry that has captured my attention relentlessly throughout my life. I’ll be starting this coming week and have made certain that no factors will stand directly in my way of obtaining as much from this as possible.

I will be chronicling my classes and thoughts on improving my skills and ideas throughout the coming 7 weeks , 6 hours each of class time in this very blog.

5) Scheduling my life to specifically achieve these goals. Sounds so simple, but the practice of making one that makes sense over a year in advance is a complex task that requires a lot of information.  However, for myself, I it is an inexorably required part of the plan. Knowing myself here is key. Part of this scheduling effort includes measuring how long it takes to produce content and, with that in mind, developing a stockpile of work before the project goes fully live so that my release schedule is not hampered by my need to produce new content.

This is, by far, an oversimplification of the actual amount of work that this will entail, and everything above can be subdivided and expanded upon in so many different ways,  but it should suffice to communicate how I intend to proceed.  From here on in, there’s #NoLookingBack

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