635. Jumping In

In terms of my Distant Mirrors project idea …

I would like to evolve my live-talk business, when I have enough time to invest, so it can replace more of my income from webdesign (and temp work). My dream is to have a YouTube channel or similar with thousands of subscribers who then fund me via donations and possibly a bit of merchandise sales.

I have, however, no clear offer for that channel which I feel confident enough about to start with. I was thinking about drawing and talking about what we can learn from historical persons, doing and recording live-talks, doing slide-shows as I do for my live-audiences or any combination thereof. But aside from the entertainment value and the pretty broad ‘let’s learn from Joan of Arc etc.’ I don’t feel I have a clear enough value proposition – yet. Part of the challenge is, of course, that if you are interested in history you might not be interested in the same part of history or the same persons that I am interested in.

My gut feel is that I should probably just go with broad entertainment value at first and do whatever the hell I like and “see who shows up” in the words of a marketing mentor I had a few years ago.

As much as I find it beneficial to implement ideas that are more concrete and use-oriented, in this case I have a feeling that it stifles me to make this project too much of a collection of problem-solving products, videos or otherwise – as I know most professional marketers in the online info-business like to recommend.

But there are huge YouTube channels out there on a wide scale of production values and with many followers and it certainly seems to me that their attraction, aside from the topic matter, is that “unique essence” and experience you mention as USP.

So … that’s likely where I will start, with whatever time I can scrape together to invest in it in the coming years and months.

I have the bitter experience that if I don’t start with something that gives me energy right away, then I usually stall. So I will just have to keep at it long enough to see if it can become a project that give other people energy as well.

I think so, but I don’t know. I have to jump into it to find out. Risk the investment.

Isn’t that what life is all about?

630. Magical Energy and Its Uses

Had a few hours for myself before noon one day, and felt strongly – despite Everything Else That Requires Attention – that I should focus on Hammer & Magic. Get that writing project up again and running.

If nothing else then for the sake of feeling some of the, well, magic in life. I have a tendency to push that away, and I don’t want to feed that tendency. It’ll be one of those things I regret when – sooner or later – I have to leave.

Since I did not have a lot of time, I started wanting to do a new chapter. But then I halted.

The characters felt like they had grown ‘cold’. I could not write about them.

I knew what had to be done. And now I had only an hour and a half left.

But I had to read all of the existing 79 pages, or as many as possible, once more. From the beginning.

Then, I knew from experience, the world would come alive to me again. And I would certainly be ‘warmed up’.

Unfortunately, my time would also be up. This time.

But I made the choice to read.

I was – and I am  gambling that that is the correct choice. That it is an infusion of that writing-energy that I need.

Especially to be able to find more time, where hitherto I thought there was none.

625. Unblocking

Clearing a writer’s block … It is all about tapping into the energy again … like warming up before doing exercises or sports.

The question about which warm up method is best must not stall me too much, though. I have to act. So I do a thread on AH.com and we will see what happens.

That is the best way, as always, to get the energy. To do something – anything at all, really. Instead of just sitting and thinking and feeling more and more stuck.

609. The Starting Place

If you need something – money, validation, etc. – then it can be hard to create.

Creation springs from a feeling of abundance. There are already so many ideas and visions that you want to ‘get out’.

If you are caught up in fear that you don’t fulfill your need – any need – by not creating, then you automatically diminish your ability to create from that place of abundance.

Because you step into another place, another mindset, another feeling – which is not abundant. Not brimming with ideas. Not open to inspiration. Not open at all.

It is closed and looking for a way out to satisfy the fear.

So that is worthy practicing if you are a creator of any kind – starting to create without any needs at all!

608. Pick One

You believe your other ideas have merit and that they should sidetrack your ‘first’ big idea.

But if you are really working hard to realize one idea, you are also committed to it and putting energy into it, and if it has true merit, you will easily be able to keep the other ideas waiting.

It will feel good to know there is something afterwards – some more ideas to implement.

It will feel better and more attractive than any distraction.

589. Elemental

As long as I write in the alternatehistory.com forum and have a few readers and discussions about aspects of the story.

That is a good way to cultivate this Element of my life – to have it in my life. But it is an end to itself. Not a means to something else, like money later on.

I can go through the motions and finish stories and try to monetize them in some way but really … as I see it now, it does not matter what happens.

I realize I entertained such thoughts before, but … so what else is new.

Maybe it is a good thing they are entertained no longer.

586. Third Reason Why I Started Drawing Again

But one thing can be measured, for what it is worth: The Blog itself. If it keeps growing year by year and keeps getting traffic and at one time the Putin bots that now are my only regular visitors will be replaced by engaged human beings … then that is a yardstick for impact.

However crude and imperfect.

And I believe it is a better impact – given my experience, talent and skill – then I can give in this life as a social worker or a worker in a social justice organisation, paid or voluntary.

I will not say no to such positions if opportunity arises and it feels right.

But right now the point is moot, because it doesn’t really look like I can qualify for any meaningful position within the humanitarian organisations anymore, and as regards work for individual persons, e.g. as a helper for the disabled, I just don’t have that much to give anymore. I am not getting younger and the job is hard. And it doesn’t scale at all – so: Extremely limited  impact.

But even if I could get a job in, say, Action Aid International I would still feel that The Blog is, as far as I can see right now, the best thing I can give to the world.

And that means that my drawing is free from that demand.

And good riddance.

I don’t need to change the world via drawing, or storytelling.

I just need to draw.

585. Second Reason Why I Started Drawing Again

For a long time I thought I should only tell stories, including stories in drawing, that had some ‘higher purpose’ and would make ‘some difference’ in people’s lives. I no longer do that.

It would be nice, but I no longer think like that.

I have my web business and my temp work and a few other ideas, and maybe I can scrape some income from donations if I do videos of my drawing process and say something clever and witty while I do it. And maybe I can crowdfund some funds for graphic novel printing and do a talk live – or two – about my subjects. And earn an extra buck.

But I don’t have to live from it. I just have to do it. Every day.

584. First Reason Why I Started Drawing (Seriously) Again

But why does it seem to be working for me now – drawing again?

I don’t want to jinx it so perhaps I shouldn’t blog about it. Perhaps I should keep it secret.

On the other hand: It is such a … quickening that I feel it is almost impossible not to talk about. It really means much to me.

And perhaps – even if I falter a time or two again along this road – my observations of what caused this shift can be of help to others who are stuck with drawing, and not getting it done.

Maybe not the Putin bots, but I know you are out there – you who want to do this, like me.

579. Testing Knowledge

So other channels, yes – like blogging and YouTube … I know they can work for others, with regard to getting an audience, delivering value and making money. But I don’t know yet how and when they can work for me.

And I have so little time to invest in those channels, given my duties with regard to family and earning money here and now to pay bills. Via temp work. Because there are no savings. Only debt.

So it will be a while before this clarity can be tested to its fullest extent.

But at least I know what to test. That has not always been the case.

569. Wonder Like It’s 1999

I went to a therapist in 1999, when I first started experiencing depression. She told me I should get up each morning and draw for 25 minutes.

Get up early and draw before anything else.

She told me that – and other things.

I tried to do this for a while and failed at it. And things got a lot worse.

Not necessarily because of me stopping the drawing-routine, but I have always wondered.

Now, recently I started drawing again in the morning. I have an idea for (another) graphic novel …

But the point is that I feel really, really good about this routine.

And it wasn’t so difficult – the first week at least.

And now I can see results!

So I will go on. And see more results.

And feel more good.

563. Good Lock

But I have given it a lot of thought, and as I wrote the other day – there really is no choice with regard to creativity either. I have to follow what I feel, first and foremost.

If I don’t work for someone else and if this is not to be my first source of income – or more specifically: It it cannot be that.

Then I just do my best and maybe I will never succeed in finishing something, not even that – because I, for some reason, cannot get the right mix of self-knowledge and adaptation to circumstances … can’t get that right.

I may move closer to a core of truth, like: I really want to do a scifi comic again – and finish it.

But I will never reach that truth before I die. And never finish anything.

That is theoretically possible, absurd as it may sound.

And so what?

558. Shadowy Reminders

… truth is that it is just one of those insanely detailed pencils-drawings that had a certain energy a long time ago, but no longer feels fresh.

Even so I don’t want to forget it.

I want to use it as a reminder – and then as a motivation to start again.

With something that is just as detailed and has just as much energy.

For now this one is frozen in time.

Like a shadowy slice of the past – almost literally – that is just there, always unfinished and kind of broken.

Right before I myself was almost broken, in a whole other story of life.

There is a strange fascination about that, and perhaps it is okay therefore to leave it.

Perhaps it is okay that some things are reminders of just that.