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PRODUCTIVITY VS. PASSION
Well, I was only half-successful in my attempt to get out ahead of comic book releases this week. Last week, I correctly gave you the heads up that Yoda 9 would be hitting the stands, but I neglected to mention that we would also be releasing the fifth issue of Torrent. (I’m trying to get better at this. Truly.)
Torrent 5 is the final issue of the first arc and, as it turns out, the final issue of the series — for now, at least. This wasn’t the plan. The expectation was that Torrent would be an ongoing series. Artist Justin Greenwood and I had already plotted out the second arc. However, pre-orders of the book just didn’t make continuing on financially feasible, even though the reviews for Torrent were among the best of my comic book career. But, like I think I said when we first announced Torrent, it’s incredibly difficult to launch a new ongoing in today’s comic book marketplace. It’s particularly difficult to launch a new ongoing superhero comic (of a non-Marvel, non-DC character).
So where do we go from here?
Well, Justin, the team, and I are putting the finishing touches on the volume that will collect Torrent 1-5 into a single graphic novel. The hope is that sales on this book will justify at least another story arc. Here’s hoping.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST - DOOMSDAY
Although I missed out on giving you a heads up about Torrent this week, I’m ahead of the game with X-Men: Days of Future Past - Doomsday. Issue 1 of the four-issue series drops next Wednesday (July 12). You can check out a preview below courtesy of Comic Watch:
I don’t know about you, but I see things working out extremely well for Jean and Charles…
PRODUCTIVITY VS. PASSION
Lately, I’ve been thinking about writing a bit more about process in these dispatches so that they’re not just me talking about what I’ve got going on and/or expounding (or complaining) about the Writers Strike.
To that end, my tennis coach, also a subscriber to this newsletter, suggested that I talk a bit about something that has been plaguing me — and many writers I know — recently: The ever-widening gulf between productivity and passion.
Suffice it to say, I’ve been doing this writing thing a while now. I started screenwriting during my third year of law school back in 1995. I’ve been writing professionally since 2000. I’ve been writing comics since 2005. So, I’ve clocked a few miles in my day. All of which means is that I have enough experience under my belt that I can do this job — whether it’s television, features, or comics — without being particularly inspired. In fact, I can do this job whether or not I’m inspired at all. But hold your applause, please. That’s just what it means to be a professional. You can’t just sit around and wait for the muse to make an appearance if you’re gonna do this job.
And, lately, the muse has been MIA. And I know I’m not the only one feeling that way. Many writers I know are struggling with being inspired to write in the midst of a writers strike. It’s more than understandable; it’s downright predictable. In fact, some have found that their passion was waning even before the strike because all of the joy has been sucked out of the endeavor by virtue of the changes in the industry that the current strike is protesting. (Please bear in mind that, as I’ve written before, what the WGA is striking for isn’t the reason why the WGA is striking.)
All of which is to say that even those of us who are managing to be somewhat productive at the moment are finding that there is no passion behind their work. To quote Aaron Sorkin, “there’s no blood going to it.”
Of course, this begs the questions: Well, how do you change that? How to you reignite your passion to write? Where do you locate inspiration in the current landscape?
I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
I’m serious. At present, I have no answers. Yes, I’ve gone to the normal wells to refill the bucket. I’m trying to read scripts from writers I admire; I’m watching movies; I’m watching shows. I’m looking for inspiration in all the usual places. And it’s… kinda working? Sorta? Little flickers of inspiration come to light, but the flames resist building to a blaze. But, hey, a flicker is a flicker.
I also find that looking outside the usual suspects for inspiration to be proving slightly fruitful. While in Europe, I visited a chateau in the Loire Valley and walked out with several pages written on my Notes app for a story that could one day become a feature, novel, or comic once I get my creative mojo back.
So, the best advice I have to give is twofold: First, look outside of television and film for inspiration to write TV shows and movies. Second, cultivate those little flickers of inspiration when they light even though a bonfire might not be in the offing.
This too, shall pass.
Be good to each other.