I recently had to make a reluctant decision. I had to kill off The Endling Patreon page I had only just started (and it was my second attempt).
Of course I had high hopes. This format would force me into action - I’d knuckle down to finish the story and actually draw it, because people were paying me for it. I’d eventually be able to cut back on other projects and focus more on The Endling as more patrons came in. I’d have my first graphic novel finished in a year, and ready for the world.
But, life has a tendency to get in the way of high hopes (that sounds very pessimistic.. I’m not). I take on a lot of work because I have a family, and in the first few years of my freelance career work was infrequent and my endlessly-patient wife supported us during those times. So these days I take on as much as I possibly can. I struggled to make time for The Endling as I worked on multiple client projects. And you can’t expect people to pay money, even $1 a month, and only get fed the odd scrap of content. It was immoral. And stressful, due to the guilt I felt at letting them down. So I decided to pull the plug.
There was another reason too. Another path presented itself, away from creating stories and further into commercial creative enterprise. It’s a new venture which I should be ready to tell you about very soon. This would require all of my spare energy and brain power, and would have to happen alongside my existing career as I have to earn a crust (and they compliment each other anyway). And it’s these paths that I want to talk about…
One of the best things about life, in my opinion, is it can take you down paths you never thought you’d go. You can work in the media and discover a passion for illustration, and those drawings you do can open doors to a whole new career. You can do a scribble in a notebook that becomes a trilogy of books. You might think you’re on one path, and realise halfway down it it’s going somewhere completely unexpected. It keeps things interesting.
The key is to go with it. Allow new doors and paths (and other euphemisms) to reveal themselves to you. Follow your gut. Try not to stress - you are most likely making the right decision. You only have one life, and the more variety in it the better. This is turning into a self-help post, but really I’m trying to convince myself more than you. Because it is scary. But that’s good. Again, it keeps things interesting.
This new venture might fall on its arse (as we say here in Ireland). It might not work out, and I might fail at it. But that’s ok, because whatever happens, happens. I’m not giving up on The Endling, or any other of my stories. I still want to write more books. But right now my gut is telling me to pursue this other thing, and my gut has steered me this far.
So allow yourself to choose your battles, let your focus shift onto whatever seems the right course of action. It’s more fun without a map*.
*this from a guy who can’t drive to his local shop without googlemaps.
Oh and I know I’m teasing the new venture a bit, here’s a hint…