Lately, I’ve been a bit blocked. This happens more frequently than I’d like (just by virtue of happening at all) and lately I’ve been having a harder time getting back into writing. So it goes.
A few days back, my lovely wife Danica sent me a link to a blog post about how output is sometimes (most times) related to input – meaning if a writer is not digesting, they have less reserves of energy to expend on creative endeavours. I’m starting to suspect that is the case with my current state of being. Running the shop has been a dream, but it takes up a lot of time and energy and creates a lot of stress. Some nights, it can be hard to sleep. Most days, it can be hard to take in anything substantial outside of the realm of comics – and as much as I love the medium, the work of it all sometimes gets in the way of enjoyment.
A lot of this problem, I bring on myself. In order to connect people with comics they will enjoy, Danica and I spend a lot of our time reading comics that we’re not terribly interested in. Most of them are very good comics – they just don’t match up with what we like to read aesthetically or stylistically. But as we continue to input items that don’t light our fires, we are finding that time to experience and digest things that we love is becoming scarce. Both of us are working on a plan to balance this out a little more in the new year. For myself, I’ve been trying to limit my “week of” reading to Tuesdays and Wednesdays, saving the other days for either books that I truly love, or endeavours that will bring me more joy. As of yet, I haven’t seen a drop in my ability to match people with books they’ll love, partly because reading every #1 still remains a solid part of the regimen. We’ll see if this gives me more time to tackle more non-work things. I kind of hope so, because we have such glorious plans for 2016.
This past weekend was Local Comic Shop Day, which the store did not partake in. Structured to run like the exceedingly popular Record Store Day, there were quite a few reasons why we didn’t jump at the chance to participate in this event. If you want the long version, you can click here. The TL;DR version of it is this: we built Variant Edition with a core of providing comics to readers at affordable prices – focusing on content to read, rather than items to seal away and put into a box. And while there is nothing wrong with the collector’s mindset, we feel as though the market for readers is underserved and sometimes ignored – especially with events like this that provided very little in the way of new, exciting content (all were reprints with different covers or formatting), while committing the bonus crime of heavily allocating many items. That’s not an event that enriches the reading experience, it is one that enriches the collector’s experience, and that’s not something we wanted to encourage.
Again, the post I linked to digs quite a bit deeper into a lot of the hows and whys, but suffice to say, while we didn’t spend the weekend making some sweet, sweet speculator money, we slept well knowing that the products we sold that day were going to be read and enjoyed by the folks who purchased them. Turns out, being principled doesn’t mean you’ll be rich, but it can make you feel better about things.
There’s a lot that I want to get to this week, and I’m hoping that I have the wherewithal to really dig in. I want to finish out the year having written 12 articles for Comics Beat, equalling out to roughly one a month, but that means I have to get cracking on… three? Yikes. Way to go, Brandon. But hey, I’ve had several articles percolating for weeks in my head. Now is the time to get them down onto a glowing screen.
In the meantime, be nice to yourself. You deserve it. Yes, even you. We’ll talk soon.