Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, So the White Glove Wins This Round, But Now I Know Feedback is King.

So last year I challenged myself to finish TLS by this time this year.

And sadly, I didn't make it, although in hindsight it was a very conscious action on my part, I simply stopped updating because I hit a block. Although saying just a block was solely the cause wouldn't strictly be true.

Thinking back, the biggest mistake I made with it probably was getting too ambitious, switching to making it in colour and breaking my rhythm. Of course, being sent off to California for months on work didn't help things, but frankly, if I had been still in sync, it wouldn't have stopped me.

The truth is: my enthusiasm also waned because of the well... the slow response regarding my comic.

Although I cannot blame my readers. Let's face it, TLS' site design has an awful and outdated feedback system (I mean, a tagboard... yikes!). And if it's hard to leave feedback or response, people won't. Period.

And this is a problem for me, because no feedback means I'm trying to improve my skills in a vacuum. That's like attempting to calibrate equipment without being able to see to the effects of your calibration. Adjusting your rear-view mirror while blindfolded, or composing a song while deaf (Yes I know Beethoven did it, do I look like I'm Beethoven?). It's hard. It's also disheartening.

To complicate matters, recently I've been more interested in developing my prowess of the written word. In fact I have been working quite hard at my writing, and even if I say so myself, I've been making good progress. Not just on writing, but in storytelling technique as well. It helps that I've been getting some good advice, criticism and response on my writings, so the improvement has been very steady and frankly, phenomenal. I think I've learned more in the past year regarding writing and storytelling than I have for the past ten before it.

And after that long period where I've been stagnating without even knowing it, it's exciting. And addictive. Improvement, that is. I'm improving so much on those aspects that when I see TLS, all its storytelling flaws jump out at me and that practical part of me tells me that I'm making such good progress at improving overall just by doing the writing thing, I'd be a fool to not focus on it now just so I can finish TLS... for the sake of finishing it.

I always did say the reason I do what I do was to improve, didn't I?

I don't want to finish TLS for the sake of finishing it. I want to finish TLS because that's the way it's supposed to end. Properly, as how I intended it.

So I guess if I want to finish TLS, I have two options, continue to soldier on without feedback, or maybe redesign the damn website so people actually can communicate to me what they think of the results.

Both of them are astonishingly daunting tasks.

The former is easier, but the latter has more long term value, because once I finish TLS I will set up a new site for my next project, and I'm going to hit that same problem again.

Guess which one I'm gunning for?

Yeah, I'm slowing down, and going for the option with the longterm payoff while I still work on my writing improvement. Sorry, Daenon, Jaeger and Thorne, but stay frosty, I'll be back when I'm ready. *ducks a shot from angry British mercenaries* OI!

Ps: And yes I realize I owe you guys some updates on my recent travels, what with me traipsing to California, Barcelona, Singapore and Sipadan all over the space of a few months. Next post will be about Sipadan. I've even got pictures!