Sometimes it’s just fun to imagine what’s out there…
At one of the panels I did at Pac-Con Spokane, I had a gentleman ask the panel if we ever had a story come to us, were really enthusiastic about it, then it left us. This particular person said it happened to him and about a week later he saw a show that followed his story to the letter.
At the time, I answered that I had stories come and leave me just like that. I even said something to the effect that I believe sometimes stories are taken away from us if we don’t get to work on them. I really do believe that. In some ways, I feel that Harry Potter should have been my idea, even though I’m not British and I wouldn’t have had any clue about a boarding school.
Unfortunately, at the time of the panel, I couldn’t think of any stories that came and left. Then, I was working on rearranging a few things in my office and looking for a story I wanted to get back to work on when I came across two old files. One was called “Vapors” and the other “Overboard.” These were two stories that I was all raring to go on and that came to a sudden halt. Heck, I can still remember when Vapors came to me — I was 15 at the time. I really felt like it was going to launch me to stardom.
So why can’t I work on it?
I just don’t feel that passionate about it right now. That’s not to say that I won’t ever. In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this post, I am remembering the storyline even though I never opened the file; it wasn’t what I was looking for so I had moved on. I do also remember seeing The Mummy – they actually use “my idea” in it very loosely. I’ve seen another movie that made use of “my idea.”
Some may say, well, if he just started working on his idea and it got “taken away and given to someone else,” why is he seeing the show a week later? Timey-whimey, is my reply.
There is nothing new under the sun. Even so-called “original ideas” are really just spins on other ideas.
So how do you get ideas to stop from leaving you? I don’t think there is a way to force the Muse to stay on your shoulder and tell you a story. Sometimes, you have to just put your bottom in the chair and work on the story without the Muse. Sometimes all you need to do is show up and the Muse “feels guilty” and joins you. Sometimes you just have to have faith in your story. Sometimes, it might be time to let the story “winter” for a bit and when your life enters another season it might come back to you or you might find something better. You just never know. It’s okay to let the story slip away.
The story you let get away might be the treasure for someone else. Don’t worry; your time will come around too.
“Cannot run, cannot hide, he’s on your trail & not on your side. Don’t look now, better not faint, he’s at your back, the Bloody Saint!” — The Three Books (Legend 1 of the Sacred Knight series)
Ready or not, here I come! Pac-Con Spokane — October 24, 2014 to October 26, 2014
As a kid, I use to get together on non-school nights and we’d play Bloody Murderer (a game much like hide-and-go-seek mixed with tag, but played in the dark) for hours. Usually until we were all scared after jumping out of the shadows at each other. Good times.
I’m starting to feel the same anticipation for comic conventions that I had then when waiting for everyone to gather. At Rose City Comic Con, I was in a conversation with some who was saying that they loved cons because it was like getting together with a whole bunch of like-minded friends. And it is. There’s no other way to put it. We’re all there to celebrate a love of a comic, a tv show, a movie, a character, a book, etc. It’s impossible to know what everyone is dressed up as because there is so much material in our culture today, but people love to show off their costumes and tell you all about why they chose the costume they did. Or to explain about the weird saying on their shirt.
There was one “crazy” lady who was walking down our section of Artist Alley shouting about why she loved The Walking Dead. She’d gotten to met one of the actors and it was going to be on the news that night. She was insanely spouting incoherent nonsense. We all had a moment if we should be concerned about our personal safety. After she passed by, all the artists on the section looked at each other and whispered, “What was that?” and “Damn she’s crazy!” I watched her go, feeling the same sentiments as my fellow artists, until I had one thought: she was telling the world about her fandom love. As the whispered questions continued, I just looked at them and said, “Isn’t that why we’re all here? To create raving fans just like that?” I admit, I sat back in my smug satisfaction that I was right. I hope someday my stories and artwork make someone so deliriously happy that they go around shouting and professing their love for what I’ve done. Knowing I’ve brought joy to someone else is what makes all my frustrated hair-pulling and time working away worth it.
I wonder if my scalp agrees.
I’ve done up several small doorway paintings that I’ll be showing at Pac-Con Spokane this weekend, Oct. 24-26th. This one is 4″x4″ on a gallery wrap canvas. The sides are painted black.
I have progress pictures I’ll post later.
Hope to see you in Spokane.
As artists, we not only put our hearts into our work but often times we also put a lot of money into our business in order to get out there and get exposure. Many people don’t realize that it’s not only art supplies or products we’ve created and purchased at wholesale to resell, but there are a lot of other expenses that go into being an artist: jury fees (to get into shows), show or booth fees (the cost to actually set up at an event — and many shows have both a jury fee and a booth fee), gas to get to and from the show, hotel, food while you’re traveling, online selling fees (like eBay and Paypal fees, or Etsy fees), postage (and maybe even postal box) fees, bookkeeping costs, legal fees, etc. The list goes on and on.
Really, when you start to add it all up, being an artist has to be a labor of love. It’s certainly not a get rich quick scheme.
The hard truth is that while you are getting established, there are only a few kind souls out there who will take a chance on you and buy your work. This means, you will most likely be paying out more money than you’re taking in. It takes awhile to really ramp up the process, especially if you don’t have publisher or gallery support. Even if you do have other people, it’s doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to get out there and get your hands into your own marketing. And, you have to keep it up. It’s too easy to lose momentum. I recently heard of an artist who gave up his website because he felt it was too expensive for his return on investment. I just felt sorry for him. I had to put my head in my hands just to keep from screaming in frustration. He’s got lots of fans. I just wonder what would’ve happened if instead of throwing in the towel, he had put an honest effort into consistently updating his website, maybe even learning how to do some of it himself if he really wanted to cut costs. Instead of being sporadic with his updates, he’d actually let his fans see a little into his life so they could feel like they actually knew him, what would happen to his stats then? Why not start a blog on his website? He has lots of valuable information and would be an awesome resource. Oh well, I guess golf was too important.
Anyway, I know a lot of us aren’t lucky enough to be successful yet. YET! But there are things we can do now, to protect ourselves in the future. One of the things we need to do is educate ourselves on the IRS hobby loss rules (since I’m writing in the U.S. I’m sure other countries have something similar in their tax codes; if you’re not in the U.S., please check our own countries tax laws and find out what you need to know). Here’s an article from Forbes I came across which I found interesting and I think you will too. Bottom line, if you want to be a business and be treated as such, do so from the very beginning. Keep good records. Keep your funds separate. We are always artists first, but we also have to be a salesman, marketer, and businessman. Oh, and keep good records and treat yourself like a business (if you missed that the first time).
I wanted to give a big shout out to my other Morning Sky Studios author, Cathy Wilson.
She recently won Third Place and received an Honorable Mention for an article and poem she entered into the Idaho Writers League annual contest. Kudos to her!
With it coming up on Halloween, her book is a great one to read. You see, she won a contest to become a ghost hunter and went back east for a couple weeks to receive training and equipment. When she came back from her adventure, she started on another one — collecting all the stories about ghosts that people started telling her. She compiled those into Strange: Unexplained Tales from Idaho and Beyond.
Cathy is currently working on her second book which will be more ghost stories, but will also include UFO and Bigfoot stories. If you have stories of your own you’d like to share with her, she’d love to hear from you. You can contact her through her Facebook page.
Now don’t let your Halloween plans get too spooky!