Writing For Me.
Two weekends ago I had a rare Sunday to myself. Like, for most of the day. My mother-in-law came to visit, so she and my wife went out to do some shopping. They took my son with them, and I suggested they take him somewhere to play after they completed their mother/daughter shopping trip. This turned into me having an almost entire Sunday to myself. Completely to myself. So I decided to do some writing for myself.
That may seem like an odd thing to say, as someone who’s been writing his own stories since 2002, and professionally since 2004. But even then, that’s different. For one thing, I’m making comics, not just writing, so there’s an artistic aspect attached to the creative writing process. For another thing, there’s polish that goes into writing the stories I’ve shown you folks. Multiple drafts, edits, thinking ahead to make sure momentary decisions fit into the total arc of a story, and so on. I’m extraordinarily lucky to be able to tell my own stories, but there’s still a lot of work that goes into getting them ready for presentation.
But what I did two Sundays ago was something I haven’t done in years. I sat down and wrote something for myself. No comic pages. No polish for presentation. No one will ever see it. It was written on a whim, completely ridiculous and indulgent, and it was one of the more relaxing experiences I’ve had in some time. There was no pressure to impress, no need to edit, no deadline to meet. I wrote this stupid thing for me because it amused me, and that was its sole purpose.
The whole exercise reminded me of the importance of regaining perspective in one’s artistic expression. It’s similar to a “cheat day” when one is dedicated to a strict diet. Indulging in junk food may not be healthy for the body, but it is necessary for the mind. There’s a special mental joy in that “I really shouldn’t be doing this” feeling, though moderation is important. It feels nice to get a break from discipline and deadlines, to cut loose and do something stupidly joyous… so long as you don’t indulge too long and it doesn’t kill the enjoyment of what you have dedicated yourself to.
That Sunday, where I took those rare hours to myself to create something only for me, was my cheat day.