Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Few Words About Motivation

This entry is not about writing, per se, but about motivating yourself to write and create when your confidence needs a boost.

I'm sure everyone already knows this, but you should make yourself a portfolio. Because my background is in print, my portfolio is sort of a book, a scrapbook, of published cartoons which contain my gags. (NOTE: I ALWAYS ask the cartoonist for permission to place their cartoons with my gags in my portfolio. If they say no, their cartoons are not included). There's a couple of reasons to create a portfolio. First of all, if someone asks to see your work (this might actually happen!), you can hand them your portfolio so that they'll get an idea of what you do. This can actually lead to you getting new business. The second reason for this is to motivate yourself. When you've run out of ideas and you think your work is awful and you'll never come up with the great gags you've come up with before, going through your published work can be very motivating. It'll prove to you that your work was good enough to be published before and will be published again.

For those who work primarily online, you can also go through your work to see what you've done in the past. This will let you know that you've created good work before and will inspire you to come up with new work.

I think it's very important to keep hard copies of your accomplishments. For example, when you let someone know, by e-mail, that you just sold your first cartoon, or your 400th cartoon, and they reply and congratulate you on your accomplishment, you should print this out and keep it in a folder. Same with letters or notes from people you deal with who write, "That was a great gag!" There's lots of rejection is this business. I'll send a batch of 35 or so gags to a cartoonist and they'll take nothing. NOTHING! And, then the following week, out of a batch of 35 more gags they'll hold one. I'M IN HEAVEN! Or, when someone pays me for a small sale (with a small check enclosed), if that's the only check I've received that week (or that month) I've been known to say to myself, "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye."  When I send off a batch of gags which I believe to be brilliant and they're all rejected, I usually say something to myself like, "Well, my family still loves me. (I also keep photos of my family on my desk for the same purpose, but only those family members who love me). Going through this folder of congratulatory e-mails and notes will boost your confidence. It will show that you accomplished something before and will accomplish something again.

I think it's important to thank people who help you. Thank the people who consider your work and buy it. Thank the people who give you leads. Thank the people who are a pleasure to work with. Thank the people who encourage you to do more - to work in areas you've never worked in before. And, then, when people thank YOU or congratulate YOU, keep a copy of these precious e-mails. Refer to them when your confidence needs a boost.

Any comments or questions, please send an e-mail to:

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