Friday, March 22, 2013

6 Ways to Keep Motivated While Creating a Graphic Novel


If it’s getting harder to pick up the pencil, and you find yourself vacuuming the house just to put off drawing another page (which is something I’m guilty of),  here are a few things I’ve found to be really—well—motivating.
Have a Schedule
Having a schedule really makes a difference. I usually pick certain days of the week to work on different parts of my story. Like, I might do writing on Saturday, penciling on Monday, inking, toning and speech bubbles on Tuesday, and then my pages will be ready to go public on Wednesday. 
Having a schedule helped me to maintain enough stamina to do about eight pages a month for three years without getting totally burned out. It was very hard to keep drawing and working on my graphic novel when it took up all of my free time. When working on a novel takes that much time for a long time, it starts feeling more like a chore. It’s better to schedule some time for work and then use the rest to do other things so you can have a break.
Go to a Bookstore
Nothing is more motivating than walking into the bookstore and looking at the work of your favorite mangaka or graphic novelist. When I look at all of that manga on the shelves, I can’t help but think to myself, “What am I doing here? I need to be at home drawing so I can create stuff like this!” Before I know it, I’m suffering from so much artist envy that I’m out the store and headed home because I’m excited at the thought of working on a graphic novel of my own.
Don’t Wait to Feel Inspired
Some days, I just don’t feel like drawing. I seriously don’t feel like it. But I realize that if I only created pages when I felt like it, not only would it take forever for me to finish my story, but I probably won’t ever finish it. Waiting to feel motivated isn’t enough sometimes.
Usually, simply picking up the pencil and drawing anything is enough to get myself interested in working on my graphic novel. On days that it’s extremely hard to get going, I find that drawing while listening to a collection of my favorite songs helps. I try to pick songs that I like so much that I can listen to over and over again without getting tired, so when the playlist starts playing again, I don’t even have the heart to stop it because I’m just loving it so much. 
Remember Your Reason for Creating
Why are you creating your graphic novel? What is it about the story that attracted you to it in the first place? Why are you creating graphic novels anyways? Sometimes in the course of working on a story, it’s easy to forget about the big picture because you’re so focused on the details. So it’s okay to take a moment to step back for a bit and think about why you love your story and why you love what you do. Then after thinking about that for awhile, it’s easier to get back to creating your project, and you’ll feel good about it at the same time.
Have a Real Life Support Group
Having an online fan base is awesome. My readers truly helped me a lot when it came to finishing my graphic novel. However, it’s also wonderful having supportive family and friends as fans. When you’re having a difficult day and you just can’t get it together, you can go to them in person and they will never fail to tell you how great you are and how you should not give up. As a graphic novelist that posts chapters online, I constantly see my reader stats go up and down from day to day. But friends and family that truly care about you--their numbers don’t fluctuate.
So that’s what I find what keeps me going as graphic novel writer and artist. If you have any other ways to keep motivated, feel free to share, and if you enjoyed this post, feel free to follow me too!