As I write this blog it’s March 17th here in these United States of America, otherwise known as St. Patrick’s Day, which is a day when we traditionally bust out a lot of Irish stereotypes (or what we mistakenly think are stereotypes) and, most importantly, drink a lot. Despite the “drink a lot” aspect, no one in our storied country’s history has seen fit to make it any sort of official holiday, which I still find to be an egregious oversight. Of course, technically the wisest course of action would be making the day after a holiday. I imagine there will be many people calling in sick tomorrow. Many will honor March 18th as a day of worship, with their altar in the form of a porcelain bowl.
Dawn and I will not be counting ourselves among that number. It’s a work night for us, which doesn’t just mean we have to go out to our day jobs tomorrow morning (we do), it means we’re literally going to be working tonight, putting our final page of Episode 10 together for the consumption of the masses, at least those masses not too hungover to get their weekly webcomic fix. We do have underage and International readers, after all, and I’m honestly not sure how many cultures around the world use St. Patty’s Day as a binge drinking excuse. We might even have readers who don’t drink, or have some measure of willpower and moderation when faced with the looming spectre of responsibility.
Speaking of moderation, it’s no secret that we keep an update schedule for Zombie Ranch that more or less dovetails with what we feel we can handle without a burnout. It usually means a cumulative few days a week that we’re working on the comic, whether that’s directly part of the creative process or the various maintenance and paperwork and promotion surrounding it. This has been doable. Sometimes in the later hours of a Tuesday evening, it still gets quite stressful, but we can usually look forwards to some unwind time (day jobs aside) before the cycle begins again. We can go hang out with friends, watch movies, play video games, all those things which keep us refreshed and let us keep coming back to the Z Ranch with a sense of enjoyment rather than trepidation.
From all this it sounds like we don’t sacrifice much, but tell that to Dawn, whose face fell visibly when she realized she had to spend one of her favorite days of the year chained to her drawing tablet and atrociously sober, rather than chugging down Bailey’s and Guinness and blasting music more than likely involving brogues, banjos and washboards. She’s half-Irish, half-Mexican. Do I have the heart to remind her Cinco De Mayo is also going to be a Tuesday this year?
Not too many parties and events are scheduled for Tuesdays, but when they are we have to beg off. One of our moms forgets and wants to call up and chat on a Tuesday night, we have to awkwardly remind them it’s worky-work time. We could potentially avoid this if we had a buffer, but buffers don’t magically appear, you have to make time to work on them, and if you stop working on them for whatever reason then you eventually will be back to not having a buffer.
Rough life, right? Well, the purpose of this post isn’t some misguided attempt to generate sympathy, it’s just to point out that even with a moderate schedule on your comic, you’re going to be making some sacrifices. You’re going to be balancing your personal life (and oftentimes your professional or educational life) with producing an ongoing creative effort for an audience, likely also eventually needing to deal with some back-end activities for that effort as well. And as the weeks, months, and perhaps even years pass, I think it’s only wise to occasionally re-evaluate that balance, altering aspects if necessary.
Case in point, this past Sunday Dawn and I were sitting down to lunch at one of our usual neighborhood food haunts, and I brought up that this week’s comic would mark the end of Episode 10. Our traditional “cover week” would be next, but then WonderCon would be creeping up on us just as we would normally be starting Episode 11, and from experience we knew WonderCon is usually intense enough for us to warrant a “sketch week”. That stop-start-stop stutter would be a bit weird to deal with, but on the other hand we’d need a three week pause in the story action as the alternative. Was that too long?
About this time it also came up that we still hadn’t gotten our act together on the Kickstarter for a collected trade we’d been intending to do ever since we finished Episode 7, which… whew… that was Summer of 2013? And we kept telling fans and ourselves that we had stopped printing individual issues for Episode 8+ in order to focus on that, but here it was 2015 and we still hadn’t pulled the trigger, so to speak. We knew at least one friend who had been waiting nearly since we started for a trade volume to purchase. Why not use this in-between as a means to move forwards and get that done?
So just like that, lunch became a business lunch, as we hashed out what we would need to do in order to have a Kickstarter launched in time to proclaim so at WonderCon, and decided if was fully achievable, especially if we put the ongoing story creation on hold for a bit while bending all our energies towards that purpose, like Scotty re-routing the power of the Enterprise. No more procrastination, no more cold feet and worries of failure. It would be done.
These next few weeks may paradoxically see Dawn and I working even more on the comic than usual, just in a different way. There are no doubt people out there that could launch their first Kickstarter, do their day job, and continue pumping out their comic all at once, and (possibly) maintain sanity. For the rest of us, it’s valuable to find our limits and work with them, occasionally pushing beyond when the need calls. To say that neither Dawn nor myself are naturals at promotion is a gross understatement, so it’s going to be an exhausting task just getting the word out about this. Even if you can’t help out with the Kickstarter itself, we definitely continue to appreciate your patience, understanding and support.
By the way, this was mentioned already on the comic blog, but on the off chance you only read this blog, if you’d like to be added to our email list for the Kickstarter announcement please do contact us and let us know (and leave an email for us to use, naturally).