Keep it Simple

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This summer, I worked on a handful of large(ish) projects. Some of them came out pretty okay, and some of them…Less than spectacularly.

I did a presentation at the Saint Louis Science Center called “The Breakdown” about breaking down dream projects into smaller, goal oriented projects. Some of the smaller projects build directly into the dream project, and some of them are designed to develop skills that can be used toward the dream project. As I’ve been developing it, I’ve realized that it’s a lot like putting together an independent class curriculum. Which makes sense, because I’ve been joking for years that my work is a lot like being in college.

In June, we signed Abby up for Roller Derby and began teaching her to skate beginning the #moxisummerofskate. That first day, we looked up some youtube videos and she fell in love with a skater named IndieJammaJones. It turned out that the skate company Indie works for was running an instagram contest for a new pair of skates. All you had to do was skate every day and document it. So we started skating every day. First Abby, then I got skates and started skating with her, and then her best friend, and her sister…We all learned to skate, but that wasn’t the only thing that happened. We became a part of a community, and made new friends from different parts of the world. We got GOOD at skating. Maybe the most unexpected thing though, is that I’ve noticed that my videos are getting better, the editing, the sound, and the ability to get Abby (Rattle Skate) to engage with her audience. This little side activity has ended up dovetailing into learning skills that I can use for actual projects I’ve had in mind for a long time.

I’m still working and writing new comics as I make time, and am really excited about them. I’d planned to to some great posts detailing my process. Scan all the sketches and planning with side-by-side comparisons of pages in their different stages of life. I was going to post forty finished and colored comic pages in forty days, AND do 100 portraits of friends and family. It was all too much. I didn’t hit any of those goals, felt like I let myself down, and felt like I let you down.

Then one day, I was going through Instagram and came upon a comment on one of Lucy Bellwood’s final 100 Demon Dialog posts. (she’s awesome, check her out http://instagram.com/lubellwoo ) Some one asked her how they should go about approaching a project like the 100 Days project. Lucy told then gently but firmly “Keep it simple”.

I’ve always felt like I need to schedule more, to do more, to work harder. If there’s boxes on my schedule that haven’t been filled in, I feel like I need to put something in there. Pushing against the wall of my limitations is important, but pushing against walls is tiring. Lucy’s right, instead of working harder, maybe it’s time to try keeping it simple. Time to start breaking it down.

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, and here’s how I think I want to approach this for now. On Mondays, I’ll check in here and set out one goal for the week. On Fridays, I’ll check back in to talk about how it went. I notice that Patreon is letting us add images directly into the post now, so that actually makes things even simpler as I can easily share what else I’ve been working on.

I realize that by now it’s already Thursday, so I’m going to make this week’s goal super straightforward. This week, I’m going to submit a proposal to present The Breakdown at Midwest Craft Con and my application to vend at Queen City Craft Show.

Until Friday, take care and be good!
Your friend,
Jeffrey

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