Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Library - My Second Home

When I'm not working at home (reading, writing, re-writing, staring at the wall) you can usually find me at one of the area's libraries (reading, writing, re-writing, staring at the wall). I use the libraries to read newspapers and magazines that I don't subscribe to (Harvard Business Review, Barron's, Wall Street Journal and others). I also use the library to find books on the subjects I'm writing about. When I want to write gags about cooking or food, I borrow books about cooking and food. When I want to write business gags, I check out new books about how to succeed in business, prepare for job interviews, avoid getting fired, etc. I also seem to check out a lot of new books about money and finance (saving money, saving for retirement, not having enough money, etc.)

I'm also always looking for new books about cartooning (developing ideas, writing great captions, etc.). If I find a new book of cartoon collections, these go home with me as well.

I have to say that working in the library has its ups and downs. Usually I can find a comfortable chair in a reading area, where I can get comfortable, with a pad of paper next to me and my reading material in hand. Of course, other people have the same idea. Most are quietly reading like I am, trying to find a spot with minimal noise. However, there are some people who will use these quiet areas of the library to make and receive phone calls. There are others who find a comfortable chair and take a nap, snoring so loud that it's almost impossible to concentrate. When that happens I usually leave the area and either find another "quiet" area or get a study room to myself.

Here are a few books I seem to read again and again for inspiration:

* "The Cartoonist's Muse - A Guide to Generating and Developing Creative Ideas" by Mischa Richter and Harald Bakken.

* "How about Never - Is Never Good For You" by Robert Mankoff.

* "The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker" from 2004, edited by Robert Mankoff.

There are many, many others I go back to when I need some inspiration. Now it's back to work!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Getting Together with Like-Minded People

As a cartoon gag writer, I spend most of my days looking for material. To find this material, I read a lot of newspapers and magazines, watch a lot of TV news, read stories on specific websites, read relevant books, etc. All this is pretty much done alone, either at home or at a library. But I realize more than ever that it's important to get together with others who understand what you do, are encouraging, can offer suggestions and help, and may be able to hire you. I've received some of my best leads concerning who I could write for from like-minded creative people I've met at social gatherings. It's really important to get together with others who do what you do, who even if they don't do exactly what you do, can be supportive of what you do. People who tell you you're a good writer or a good artist. This encouragement is necessary to keep on going when sales are down and the confidence level is at an all-time low.

So, I plan to follow my own advice. I know I have to get out of the house and be with people! I used to regularly attend events of the National Cartoonists Society in my area but, because of the distance and time involved, I've slowly drifted away from it. I plan to go back. The Long Island chapter of the NCS will be holding its monthly luncheon later this month and I plan to be there. The Manhattan chapter of the NCS will be holding their annual holiday party in December and I plan to be there. The New Jersey chapter is having a large get-together in January and I plan to be there. The relationships you make in pursuing any creative endeavor cannot be underestimated. I'll let you know how it all goes.

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