I need some help...

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Postby Josh Phillips on Mon Nov 19, 2001 2:28 am

Well, here's a problem I've had for a while, and since it relates so closely to drawing Avalon, I thought I might get some useful responses here.<P>I'm having trouble getting up at a decent hour in the mornings, which is seriously jeopardizing (sp) my job. To solve this, I need to fix my sleeping schedule.<P>But as everyone is probably painfully aware of, I lose a lot of sleep by finishing Avalon around 3:00am each night. What I should be doing is to start drawing at 10:00pm, so it can be done by midnight, and I can get 6-8 hours sleep. So my goal here is to start drawing at 10:00pm. I also should be avoiding distractions to ensure it gets done before midnight.<P>My current problem is that I don't have the motivation to start drawing at 10... I tend to put it off until it's way too late. What I'm looking for are some suggestions on how I can motivate myself to drawing Avalon early, and for sticking to it regularly. If anyone is willing to try helping me out with this, I'd be quite grateful (and you'd get Avalon earlier, as a bonus. ;-) )<P>And serious suggestions only, please.<P>Thanks,
JOSH.<P>------------------
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Postby Wapiko on Mon Nov 19, 2001 2:40 am

Ouch. I don't know. It's so hard to have someone's motivating factor work for someone else.<P>Is there anything in particular that keeps your motivation in check, like tv, anime, or video games? If so, then maybe you can force yourself to put them off until after you do the comic. This worked for me when my taxes were due. I was in the middle of Final Fantasy 9, and I told myself I would not go to disk 2 until I finished my taxes.<P>Or maybe promise yourself a treat afterward? Like when you eat dinner, tell yourself no dessert until after the comic is done.<P>Wapiko-chan
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Postby Josh Phillips on Mon Nov 19, 2001 2:50 am

I like that theory, Wapiko... I can "reward" myself for completing the task without distraction. The trick is finding a suitable reward. :-) I shouldn't be some sort of necessity (such as going to bed), because it'll either get done anyway (making me feel guilty about breaking down), or else I'll deprive myself (resulting in more fundamental problems... like lack of sleep).<P>And then I have to make sure I don't consider some rewards to be necessities.. like video games or anime. ;-) Some of my distractions are the Avalon forum, and the #avalon IRC channel. And sometimes I get caught up just surfing the web. I've always thought about drawing somewhere other than my computer desk, but it's the most comfortable place for me to draw. :-/<P>Perhaps I should find a nearby store that closes at midnight... and if I get the comic done before midnight, I'll have time to run over and buy some potato chips. ;-)<P>JOSH.<P>------------------
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Postby Sertrel on Mon Nov 19, 2001 3:02 am

Josh,<P>It might help to go through your regular schedule, just like when you have to wake, when you go to work, when you come back, etc., and then relate that to how the daily comic finishes; do you think through the idea, dialogue, and character position and framing long before you start drawing? If the reason you don't draw until midnight or later is that you're not prepared to start it, then maybe the thinking needs to get done earlier too, at times when whatever you typically do is conduicive to that type of planning. Also, what are you typically doing around 10pm? I mean, if you're otherwise occupied at that time, then obviously you wouldn't be motivated to start drawing at that time...<P>If it's just mentally just being used to starting to draw Avalon at a certain hour and a certain routine beforehand, you could just gradually move the time back, making yourself start at 11:30pm, then 11pm, etc. until your mind readjusts to start "draw Avalon mode" at 10pm.<P>Just a few thoughts... I've often had to perform rapid adjustments to my schedule, so I thought these ideas might help...<P>Sertrel<P>------------------
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Postby Asha on Mon Nov 19, 2001 3:20 am

Bang your head on the wall for every minute that it's late. You'll soon learn.
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Postby Josh Phillips on Mon Nov 19, 2001 3:41 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Asha:
<B>Bang your head on the wall for every minute that it's late. You'll soon learn.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>If this was a serious suggestion, I'll dismiss it for the undue headaches it'll cause.<P>JOSH.<P>------------------
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Postby K A H on Mon Nov 19, 2001 3:57 am

Ach du lieber.... I'm probably the single most unqualified person who has ever read "Avalon" to comment on this; my internal clock has been in another time zone since I got back to England two months ago - it reached an apex last night, actually, when I stayed up half the night playing "The Legend of Zelda" (the original one from 1987!!) instead of working on my grad school apps - so when I tried to sleep, instead I lay awake worrying about them. Productive, eh? As such, my internal clock is now in a black hole.<P>I'm also quite unqualified to offer advice on motivation - it's been a serious problem for me, erm, since I arrived at Cambridge, again. The only thing I <I>have</I> been motivated to do has been.... well, I'm sure everyone knows.<P>Nevertheless, cartoonist in crisis.... well, as a fan/groupie, I feel as though I should at least say something, so, donning the crown of King Hippo Krytte once more....<P>Thinking back to when I had to write two honours papers at once in my last year at university, I essentially motivated myself partly by thinking about the potential payoff (graduating with double honours, which I hope will look appealing on the latest round of applications!), and partly by, well, easing back from distractions. Not necessarily looking at the distractions as rewards for the work, but, ehm, really dropping them altogether, and then slowly phasing them back in once I had grown used to the workload. (Which in this case meant after the workload had abated in mid-May.) There was only one "distraction" I kept pursuing during those months, but, well, what was I supposed to do, ignore her?<P>I don't know, though. That was different; it was work, it had to be done or I'd have been committing academic suicide. (Not that academic suicide is beyond me.) If drawing "Avalon" begins to feel like work, well, something is probably awry. Still, perhaps approaching it as though it were would improve things.<P>I can't offer any helpful advice without sounding hypocritical, but if it were me, I'd try cutting the distractions to a bare minimum until I felt more motivated to engage in the task at hand. Basically, resist at all costs the temptation to engage in what normally distracts me. And then when the motivation has built to a sufficient degree, start phasing in the distractions again?<P>All right, I give up. I have nothing useful to say. ((as Angus Deayton) So, no change there then.)<P>K.A.H.
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Postby Ucchan on Mon Nov 19, 2001 5:07 am

Hmm, KAH just more or less said what I was going to suggest: keep the distractions at bay, or at least to a minimum, until the work is done. <P>Or managing your time to balance both work, comic, and non-work is good. That's what I do when I have to study or write essays (minus comic), and it usually works out in the end. I have to have a break sometimes, do something a little fun [I'm writing an essay right now, and taking a little break in the forum <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif">]. Remember not to go overtime on the break though; I do that a lot! <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/tongue.gif"> However, breaks keep your brain from going into overload in one area (fun or work), and keeps your mind fresh and raring to go.<P>And like you said before, don't think of comic-drawing/writing/etc. as work, but something fun and what you want to do. <P>Hope that helps you somewhat, Josh. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> <p>[This message has been edited by Ucchan (edited 11-19-2001).]
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Postby kelvin on Mon Nov 19, 2001 5:44 am

One thing I found that helped was to schedule my regular "distractions". If it was TV, I picked the one show I really could not live without and made sure I accomplished something (which being a married student, ranged from vaccuming, doing the dinner dishes or god-forbid assignments) before hand. <P>That way, my "distractions" were scheduled breaks, and I was able to fall quickly into the "serious-break-serious-break" mode.<P>For you, Josh, it might be "I'm only going to be on IRC from 6-8, while I wolf down something masqurading as dinner. Then I'll do useful thing X, and at 9:30 watch <insert other distraction here>. When that's done, I'll draw Avalon!"<P>And for god-sakes man. Go to bed afterwards. Didn't you know that 80% of all sleep deprivation is caused by not going to bed?<P>-Kelvin
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Postby gwalla on Mon Nov 19, 2001 6:10 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Josh Phillips:
<B>Some of my distractions are the Avalon forum, and the #avalon IRC channel. And sometimes I get caught up just surfing the web.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>As far as #avalon goes, I've noticed that frequently you'll be on as "Staedtler-drawing" but still chatting. A better idea may be to, when you think you need to draw, log off of IRC entirely.<P>------------------
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Postby evilblackrifle1 on Mon Nov 19, 2001 6:57 am

Part of it might be the other things you're doing on the 'net, such as: IRC, surfing, etc. Maybe a better strategy would be to put one or the other off until the weekend, or, until after you've done the strip.
This, of course, will piss quite a few people off, if you do it, since (more likely) you'll be out of contact on #Avalon a lot more.
More likely, though, I think part of it is that, (Like myself), the stuff doesn't "Come In" until you're about half-dead with Sleep-Dep.
Nothing I've tried there, has worked.<P>------------------
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Postby Asha on Mon Nov 19, 2001 7:44 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Josh Phillips:
<B> If this was a serious suggestion, I'll dismiss it for the undue headaches it'll cause.<P>JOSH.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>
But that's the *point.*<P>
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Postby Coota on Mon Nov 19, 2001 8:09 am

Josh: Take one week off. Draw that entire week, so that you will be a week ahead from then on. Then continue continue drawing as if you *weren't* a week ahead. That way you will always be ahead, even if you miss a strip every once in a while. This way, the missing sleep thing is only a slight problem.<P>------------------
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Postby Klaus Petersen on Mon Nov 19, 2001 11:21 am

I like Cootas idea. Work ahead. Plan ahead.<P>I think Avalon has an excellent track record, schedule-wise. The fact that the story arc is already worked out (or so you've told us) must have been a major factor.<P>In the forum tradition of wild theories (that crash and burn): your current 'problem' is that you have raised the series to a level that your creative process can't match anymore. You have described the 'Hallowe'en' storyline as pure filler, but <A HREF="http://www.avalonhigh.com/d/20011102.html" TARGET=_blank>this strip</A> is stuffed with at least one gag or pop culture reference in every <I>frame!</I> Compare that to <A HREF="http://www.avalonhigh.com/d/19991126.html" TARGET=_blank>this</A> and <A HREF="http://www.avalonhigh.com/d/20000303.html" TARGET=_blank>this</A> strip. Classics, if you ask me.<P>If there's something I have learned about myself in academic and working life, it is that the only thing that comes from forcing myself to stare at a blank piece of paper is a blank mind! I will therefore postulate that disturbances and distractions may be as much a help as a hindrance. Your mileage may vary. Mine does. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"><P>Now, in order to get chased out of here with a big mallet: the <A HREF="http://www.avalonhigh.com/d/20000303.html" TARGET=_blank>Ranma 1/2</A> gag stands reuse. The morning after Ceilidhs and Joes golden moment, Alison says to a radiant Ceilidh: 'Say, you and Joe have been walking funny all morning . . . ?' <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/biggrin.gif"><P>(this from a total manga nitwit whose collection consists of the first six issues of Lone Wolf and Cub)
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Postby Nick Pavlovski on Mon Nov 19, 2001 11:56 am

Drawing Avalon as last thing before bed is bad and will create bad internal psychology.
May make you insomniac.<P>Have exercise (say before or just after dinner) then immediately afterward sit down and do comic.
I find all my best ideas for writing (fic, roleplaying, short stories) come while I'm out walking.<P>Do one panel, then have five minutes to relax and 1)listen to a song or 2) walk about the house or 3)have a smoke - whatever works.
Repeat until done.<P>After 30 mins you have your 3-4 panels, hopefully more ideas for next day, and away you go.<P>Sorry bad grammar, me building L5R deck while type this. <p>[This message has been edited by Nick Pavlovski (edited 11-19-2001).]
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Postby dDave on Tue Nov 20, 2001 2:20 am

Howdy,<P>Since you are on a (nominal) five day a week schedule, you have it a lot harder than some of us other web comic artists. In my case, I started Pander off on a very conservative schedule (tues/fri) so I could draw ahead of the schedule. My goal is to get twelve strips ahead and then convert to a thrice weekly schedule.<P>What has helped me is to completely pencil two strips (or more) before going on to the scanner. The fastest process for me is pencilling, so I use that to jump start the process to get ahead of schedule. <P>Other things that help me are to do the comic first thing when I get home from work, and to be as regular as I can in my work habits.<P>And don't be afraid to take a week off if it will help you to get ahead and be more comfortable with the production process. We'll be here waiting if you do.<P>Best,<P>Dave<P>------------------
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Postby Fool on Tue Nov 20, 2001 5:23 am

I had and might still have a similar problem with my sleep schedule jeopardizing my job.
I spent some time trying to figure out how to fit all my activities into my day.
In the end, I just seriously cut back on my gaming. Squeeze in some PS or DC time on the weekends and reserve most of my weekday time for web-surfing for downloads and downloading anime off IRC (I don't even try to chat on #avalon and Ucchan says that's best for everybody).
I make sure that I'm in bed earlier too.
If I can't sleep, I just close my eyes, relax, and listen to the white noise in my ears (kinda like the hiss from a microphone)<P>
...<P>(except it isn't).
But then again, I make myself go without things sometimes just to see how much willpower I have.
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Postby Fool on Tue Nov 20, 2001 5:26 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Asha:
<B>Bang your head on the wall for every minute that it's late. You'll soon learn.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Someone did that to you, didn't they?
Oh, you poor little abused thing, you!
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Postby pillsburydoughboy on Tue Nov 20, 2001 5:54 am

erm this doens't _exactly_ answer your question but i think it's pretty good advice:<P>for the love of all that you hold holy, if the drawing a comic tonight is gonna cost you your job, JUST FORGET THE COMIC!!!<P>i'd rather you have a normal life than for you to entertain me with a comic strip. <P>but if you really feel like challenging yourself:<P>what takes me the most time when i draw a comic is the planning of the joke and the positioning of the people. if i figure that out before hand, then when you sit down, it'll be a lot easier. you also might want to consider doing anything that would cut down on drawing time (e.g. templates for the characters, computer lettering, etc...) <P>well good luck! i hope you can continue to draw these, but not at the expense of your personal life...<P>
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Postby pillsburydoughboy on Tue Nov 20, 2001 5:56 am

erm this doens't _exactly_ answer your question but i think it's pretty good advice:<P>for the love of all that you hold holy, if the drawing a comic tonight is gonna cost you your job, JUST FORGET THE COMIC!!!<P>i'd rather you have a normal life than for you to entertain me with a comic strip. <P>but if you really feel like challenging yourself:<P>what takes me the most time when i draw a comic is the planning of the joke and the positioning of the people. if i figure that out before hand, then when you sit down, it'll be a lot easier. you also might want to consider doing anything that would cut down on drawing time (e.g. templates for the characters, computer lettering, etc...) <P>well good luck! i hope you can continue to draw these, but not at the expense of your personal life...<P>
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Postby Amorph on Tue Nov 20, 2001 6:15 am

I know what you mean about only being inspired in the wee hours. It really sucks when you have a day job...<P>Berke Breathed used to blast rock music and dance around the room for a couple of hours to get into comic-drawing mode, then sit down and polish off two weeks' worth of Bloom County. Then he'd rush to the airport to get them FedEx'd barely in time to meet deadline, but hey, at least he had a way of getting "in the mood." <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> Maybe you could try something like that?<P>Also, if your diet includes a lot of caffeine, cutting back (slowly!) will usually make you sleepy earlier, sleep better, and wake up earlier. YMMV on that as well, but it works for me.<P>I'll second the suggestion about slowly moving the time when you start the strip back. That might work.<P>Good luck!
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Postby Wildmartin on Tue Nov 20, 2001 6:17 am

What the heck, I'll throw my 2 cents in as well...<P>This will sound repetitive, but when I'm not getting anything done I cut back/out video games and other 'non-essentials' until I have more time. I can understand how being late to work could be very hazardous to your job security, so don't be...if you don't get Avalon finished go to bed anyway without its being done.<P>*prepares to be bashed by other Avalonians*<P>Sometimes I just reach that point where I have to say "No More!" Then I set everything aside until I finish that project. I'm not even saying Avalon should be your #1 non-work priority (although that would be nice. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"> ). We know you need to have fun just like everyone else. However, if your anything like me and you just procrastinate, you will have assert your will or no amount of incentives will help. For example, the last paper I had due, I said no fun stuff until it is done...so instead I spent 4 hours cleaning my room. Obviously not the desired results.<P>Well, I hope I've been of at least some use. Good luck Josh.
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Postby Asha on Tue Nov 20, 2001 6:45 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Fool:
<B> Someone did that to you, didn't they?
Oh, you poor little abused thing, you!</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>
Yeah, I get no love. ;_;
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Postby Wapiko on Tue Nov 20, 2001 7:40 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Josh Phillips:
<B>Some of my distractions are the Avalon forum, and the #avalon IRC channel. And sometimes I get caught up just surfing the web. I've always thought about drawing somewhere other than my computer desk, but it's the most comfortable place for me to draw. :-/<P>Perhaps I should find a nearby store that closes at midnight... and if I get the comic done before midnight, I'll have time to run over and buy some potato chips. ;-)<P>JOSH.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Well, my first recommendation would be to turn your distractions into rewards themselves. Like others here have said, don't get on #avalon while doing the comic, and stay off until you have finished, or don't do any websurfing until other chores have been done.<P>My second recommendation is to change where you work. True, the computer may be where you're most comfortable. But if it is proving to be too much of a temptation, the disadvantages may outweigh the advantages. At least for a short time to see if working elsewhere will help.<P>Thirdly, (and this is a statement, not a recommendation) potato chips ARE a necessity!!!! :-
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Postby saturn on Tue Nov 20, 2001 8:38 am

Ugh. Motivation. I'm not sure if it can even be obtained. Perhaps a better approach is to let it come naturally by not directly changing your behavior or your schedule for the sole purpose of drawing a comic.<P>I once pulled an all-nighter to draw a page of my old comic. It was Page 23. I had to work after drawing that page, so of course I was falling down dead all day long. As a result of this, my brain decided to eliminate whatever it was that made me stay up all night, which was, in this case, the desire to draw. It's no coincidence that Page 23 is the last page of NoRTH. I didn't want to draw at all after that night, and I still haven't fully recovered from it. I'm still looking for motivation too.<P>[gets to the point]<P>What I'm trying to do is not let my new comic cut into my normal activities or routine. I'm not going to stop myself from doing things I want to do. I may have to play Tony Hawk 3 for two hours instead of three, but I still get to play it. As soon as I start changing the way I do things, and cutting things out of my routine, my brain reacts badly and tries to eliminate the opposition which always seems to be "drawing a comic" because I haven't been doing it as long as some of the other stuff I enjoy.<P>I'm also trying to think positively about it. Rather than "Damn... 11:30.. I should draw something", I try to make it "Ooh! If I get this stuff done, I can still fit in X hours of games"... and most important of all is I won't draw it unless I'm enjoying what it's about. Let's face it... no artist is going to sit down and enjoy drawing pictures of the teletubbies or some crap like that.<P>I think about the people that will enjoy the effort I put into it. I put some thought toward some of the cool stuff I could include in the page, or how people will 'freak' when they see what I've done. None of them add up to a sure-fire method of motivation, but every little bit helps.<P>Depriving yourself of sleep is quite possibly the worst thing you can do. So.. hmm... don't! Draw it just before you eat your supper (or dinner, if you will), cuz people get lethargic after a meal. And be sure to pack your weekends with as much entertainment as possible. Do it all, so that by the time Sunday Night rolls around, you actually feel like picking up a pencil.<P>[talks out of his ass some more]<P>Yeah... so that's about it. But ignore me, because I'm probably worse than you are when it comes to being motivated.<P>BTW, on an unrelated note... a male's level of horniness will have an impact on energy levels. Horny = Energy. Maybe that can be used as motivation... just watch the Avalon "PSL" levels go through the roof.
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