Jan072021: Writing Motivation

“hi I’m an aspiring Artist and writer and I’m planning to make my own graphic novel but I find it hard to stay motivated. what did you do to stay motivated when writing your book séance tea party?”

asked by mooncandy606

Hello!! Okay,
I made Seance Tea Party after having finished 2 other graphic novels and clocked in some years to a webcomic (those 3 things are all related to each other) – so please keep that in mind!

So like you know the advice about showing up for the work everyday and how discipline/habit is more important than inspiration, which are all true. It’s better to be proactive rather than passively waiting for motivation/inspiration to strike, whether it’s in problem-solving the story in your head, reading your favourite comics or doing some studies each day, no matter how small the work is. A bit is better than nothing!! Besides, the motivation will come naturally because of the momentum you’re building through the little steps you take, so whatever those steps are, do them*.

*Taking a break to recharge, do research or pick up new media (books, movies, comics, etc) to enjoy is part of the work too! Just be careful the break isn’t entirely due to procrastination or anxiety.

The thing that helps most with motivation, imo, is to be working on something I love, that I want to see as a final, completed book. I actually personally don’t take on a comics project unless I feel an excitement or passion for them. Making comics is a LOT of work and commitment, so from the get go I make sure if the project I plan to do is something I want to finish, regardless of whether I receive any compensation (if it’s your own self-created comic – hired jobs are another topic). And I maintain this motivation by doing the above mentioned things I said. Plus, constantly reminding myself why I am doing that specific work and why I like comics as a medium.

But like, if you’re new at this, it’s pretty normal to feel a little lost on what to do and how to handle a graphic novel. You’re still learning your own process and your craft. I can’t really help much here besides tell you stuff I’ve learned in the last decade, but remember they are just words that are specifically helpful to me and may or may not be applicable to you. Luckily there are a lot of comics resources nowadays that weren’t available when I first started. It’s also good to learn how prose writers have dealt with motivation and inspiration (try Brainpickings for some tips).

And another reminder is that, when you’re new and working on your first big project, it’s not necessarily that this project will come to life or be successful or be the project you want to do forever. That’s fine. I had three ‘graphic novel adaptations’ that I spent a lot of time developing, before I stuck with the original webcomic that eventually launched my career. But I don’t consider those three failed adaptations a waste of time. They helped developed my process and craft. Plus, that webcomic is actually not famous or typically successful (if you measure it by followers. views or amount of money earned… there’s only a scattering). What it did for me instead was it allowed me the space to learn my process/craft, like the other three, and over the years, as I matured, it taught me enough to give me the ability to finish my first 300-paged book, then another, then Seance Tea Party and now my next two books.

So yeah, TL;DR it’s time and practice and learning about who you are and how you work as a creator. Plus some actionable, proactive steps. I hope my rambling helps!! And good luck!!

Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.

Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

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