Every time I think I’m going to just quickly complete a new illustration because I’m so excited about the idea, I end up taking forever. Well, let’s just say I can’t stand to leave my work behind without at least exerting some serious concerted effort. Again I just feel like “oh it’s just another learning experience, I’ll do better next time,” and “at least I finished it.”

I do have some sort of good news though. A few days ago I had such a hard time falling asleep because I had one of those nights where I felt like I had an epiphany.

Right before that moment, I was feeling a sense of existential dread (I’m kind of being hyperbolic but not). I felt like if I don’t complete “The Anaether” as a graphic novel series before I die, I’ll have led an unworthy life or something like that. Like, even if I raised the most perfect children in the world, it ain’t worth shit if I don’t finish “The Anaether.” I can only really say that I feel a sense of urgency with this project.

I did some basic math. I feel like there’s going to be something like 800 to 1000 pages per Act in this series, and there’s going to be 6 of them as of right now. If I wanted something like that to happen in my lifetime, I’d really need to buckle down and make sure I put out a complete page every 2 days for 30 years or like, knock out a new page every single day for years and years.

GOD that sounds impossible… I feel so small-minded in saying this, but I feel like there’s no way in hell I’m going to do that. I don’t know. I do feel determined, but not that determined at this point.

So I asked myself “what is your goal here? Does your story really really need that many pages?” It’s like that freelancing triangle thing — pick two, you have to sacrifice one. Money, quality and speed. Except in this case, I was thinking between my goals:

Story-telling, art-making, speedy execution.

The art-making part is slowing me down so hard. I hate, hate, hate putting in so much dialogue. But I don’t want to be like 20 years into this project and find myself not even halfway done, so I think my more immediate plan is roughly going to go like this.

I probably shouldn’t present the main storyline like this, but I’m going to abridge it. Instead of some insanely ridiculous 6000 pages, I’m going to try to condense it down to like 120. A lot of details are definitely going to be cut out, but I really, really would like to create a finished product in less than 3 years. I’d like to present a complete story and I really hate saying something and making people feel like I don’t mean it. I fucking do. I really want to tell my audience my whole story asap.

That means way more text and a lot less art, it’s true. But what I’m hoping to do is just start small, then keep going if things are working out. I mean, I really just want to count on my determination to just make it happen, and not “wait” for the perfect conditions.

God… this is probably going to take me at least twice as long though, even if I do a condensed version of my story. I should just present it as the full thing, and present my 6000-page impossible epic graphic novel series as the “extended” version.

I know I haven’t even finished my prototype chapter, but I can tell you right now I’m excited to get back into working on the comic pages. I also feel a renewed sense of motivation for this whole project. Not that I became unmotivated, just less so because I always reach a point in all my illustrations where hard discipline is required to keep things moving.

I’m trying super hard for this holiday season to spend way less time on people’s Christmas gifts. I literally spent weeks and weeks last year creating thoughtful art gifts for like half the people on my naughty list. As satisfying as that is, it’s always felt like a dumb (self-imposed) hassle to me. I’m trying hard to just buy stuff for people this year so I can just spend more time on “The Anaether.”

I’m going to spread festive cheer in my household this month with all the wacky candy canes I bought, the Christmas lights, Santa hats and decorating Christmas cookies. 2020 has been a shit year.