Where to Find the Time to Build a Career in Comics

Here you are, working to build a career in comics. Whether you just started or have been at it for a few years now, you're probably not working full time as a creator.

Instead, you're probably balancing your efforts to build a career in comics with a job, your family, and life. And difficult as it might be to put the money together to finance your projects - it's even harder to find the time.

In the best case scenario, the very least you need is the time to create your comics. Past that, you need to have spent time networking to find collaborators to actually make the projects happen. It's likely you'll also need to have spent time making connections to get your comic published or, alternatively, to build the understanding needed to successfully self-publish your projects.

That's the likely, realistic scenario. And it's a time consuming one.

But, the truth of it is building a career in comics has never been easier than it is today. And all the people who you look up to, who have impressive careers today found the time to build those careers before they were making a full-time living in comics, while they were dealing with a lot of the same obstacles you're currently facing.

So where did they find the time?

finding-time

Finding Time

They found the time right under their noses - in the same place you can, too (under your nose, not theirs).

The time you have available to you is apparent, it's just being used in a way that's not getting you closer to your goal of building a career as a comic creator. In fact, though our individual responsibilities may vary, we all get the same amount of time to work with, from one day to another.

Actually, that's why I've always taken issue with the term "finding time." You have the time already. The problem isn't finding it, it's deciding how you're going to spend it.

making-time

Making Time

You make decisions about how to spend your time every day. And conscious or unconscious it's these decisions that will help you realize your dream of becoming a professional comic creator, or keep you from it forever.

Deciding how you spend your time is just a matter of priorities. It's you determining what's more important to you:

  • A shorter commute in your car? Or opting for a longer commute, via public transit, during which you can get extra work done.
  • Hanging out with friends, or spending that time creating.
  • Binging a new show on Netflix or the latest game and participating in the online conversation, or taking that next step towards making comics.
  • A full night's sleep, or a couple extra hours of work.

Sacrificing things that aren't as important to you - though they may be easier or more pleasant - is how you make time. It's highly unlikely that you have "free time" as an adult. Time that you're not spending doing anything.

Not only is adult life generally very busy, but we're also subject to Parkinson's law - which refers to the idea that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."

Another reason these decisions are neither easy nor comfortable is that we - as humans - aren't wired for this kind of long-term thinking. Immediate gratification is so much more enticing than laying another brick down for our dreams (For more on this, I'd recommend "Why Procrastinators Procrastinate" over on Wait But Why).

It's easy to come up with excuses, like needing the time you spend watching television as time to decompress after work. And though there's probably truth to that, there's no real substitute for putting in the work.

If you feel exhausted after work, take a walk, go exercise, or find a quiet place for a short nap. Don't procrastinate by watching television, and subject yourself to the lure of impulsive binging. Just get back to work.

It's not easy to build a career in comics, especially if you have another career going simultaneously. But like anything worth having, it's worth working for.

A lot of people would love to be professional comic creators. Or professional creatives. It's a real dream job. And if it's really your dream, too, the unfortunate truth is that you'll need to sacrifice something for it.

Obviously, some of us have responsibilities & commitments that we can't take time away from - like multiple jobs or an illness you're dealing with. And family is a big and important commitment, too. But there's always a little bit of extra time to use - even if it's just 15 minutes a day.

Those 15 minutes can add up to quite a lot over time, and can make the difference between reaching your goal or not. Between having a career in comics, or not.

We're at the end of 2015 now, which means we've got a whole year ahead. How do you want to spend that time? In the words of a Jedi: "Your focus determines your reality."


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