Outside the Panels #7: Managing Your Time as a Comic Writer

Last week, on Outside the Panels #6, I wrote about creative inspirations and I got a lot of positive feedback, so thanks everyone for reaching out to me.

This week I want to write about how to best use your free time in order to write comics. Writing comics is a very different animal then drawing, inking, coloring, lettering or editing. While some will say that writing is actually the quickest part of the writing process I really do disagree. I think that writing comics takes up a lot of time and while all of that time might not be actually typing away on a keyboard, writers still have to think about the story, break it, plot it, write it and of course re-write it. (Not to mention promote, market, and distribute if we are talking self-publishing. Then again, that would be perfect for another entry, so we will save it for a later day… Damn, this is a parenthesis side note.)

Before I continue, I just wanted to write that I am SO PUMPED for the Entourage movie!!! Okay, I know it isn’t comic related, but not everything I write about in this column has to be comic related… does it? I’ll check with Alex. Anyway, I was late to the hit HBO Series, Entourage, and hadn’t even seen one episode until one of my college freshman-year (2006) roommates, ironically also named Sal, showed me it. Within three minutes Ari Gold, played by the amazing Jeremy Piven, had me hooked and I caught up to the series and became a die hard fan going forward. The show ran from 2004-2011 and captivated audiences across the world. In short, the series is about a young up-and-coming film star and his entourage made up of his agent, his best friend, his brother, and his brother’s best friend. The show was produced by Mark Wahlberg and is inspired by his life as a young star and his entourage. It was best known for its often cameo appearances by stars  from every level of hollywood and sports playing a more amped up version of themselves. It was nothing that would change your life –although Ari Gold is a character that has strongly affected my life and business mentality– but if you are looking to binge watch a really good series with strong dialogue I highly recommend you watch Entourage because it is one of those shows, that even if you watch it now, still holds up to this day.

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About that comic writer time-management stuff…

If you are a start-up comic writer odds are you already have a full-time job, a bunch of personal responsibilities and other activities you enjoy, so finding time to write a comic could be hard. I think the one thing that holds people back from creating comics, or anything for that matter, is trying to find the time to do it. After you read this maybe you will be able to manage your time better and start writing comics, and if you already write comics then you may be able to pick up a tip or two that could help you.

To get us all on the page let’s break down the average 24 hour time span of a working person trying to start writing comics. Assume this person also has a spouse and a child under the age of 10. Also, assume this person has one leisure activity (TV, video games, streaming, reading, video games, board games, whatever…) they enjoy doing for three hours a day. Let’s call this person, Taylor. (a nice male/female name)

Let’s go through Taylor’s day before Taylor writes comics and let’s show you how Taylor could actually find time to write comics.

Here Taylor’s typical daily schedule:

12am – 6am = Sleeping

6am – 8am = Morning routine (pee, bathroom rituals, breakfast, social media browsing/read, make lunch, leave for work)

8am – 9am = Commute (listen to music, podcasts, talk shows. Make handless phone calls)

9am – 12pm = Work

12pm – 1pm = Lunch

1pm – 5pm = Work

5pm – 6pm = Commute (listen to music, podcasts, talk shows. Make handless phone calls)

6pm – 10pm = Settle in at home, eat dinner, hang out with spouse and child, watch TV/movies/stream

10pm – 12am = Free time activity (read, video games, listen to music, catch up on shows/comics)

That’s Taylor’s 24 hour routine. Is this similar to anyone reading this? There’s probably a strong chance the amount of time allotted to each activity is about right.

Now, if you are like me you are an opportunist and already see where I am going with this. Taylor works one job, is a family person who also enjoys a little alone time.  Here’s the thing, if Taylor is serious about creating comics than Taylor really needs to re-evaluate the free time. While comics may not become Taylor’s career overnight, there needs to be a foundation for structure if Taylor really wants to pursue comics. Honestly, Taylor has a lot of time that could easily turn into “comic creating time.’

Watch…

Taylor wakes up at 6am and does a bunch of stuff… But, there is certainly room to at the very least write one comic page, plot, idea, or email to a collaborator.

Also, a there is a solid hour of a commute that can turn into “comic time.”

Work is work so I really don’t see a way of getting around that.

Lunch… now here is another time of the day that could be spent working on comics.

The time of “settling in” should not, nor does it have to, change. That is important time. Nothing is more important than time spent with family… except deadlines. Deadlines are a bitch not to be messed with.

Free activity time… yeah, screw that.

Here is what Taylor’s schedule should be if Taylor really wants to get into comics.

12am – 6am = Sleeping

6am – 8am = Morning routine (pee, bathroom rituals, breakfast, comic creating, leave for work)

8am – 9am = Commute (Think about the next page, plot or anything. Make handless voice notes in phone.)

9am – 12pm = Work

12pm – 1pm = Lunch (eat and work on something comic related)

1pm – 5pm = Work

5pm – 6pm = Commute (listen to music, podcasts, talk shows. Make handless phone calls)

6pm – 9pm = Settle in at home, eat dinner, hang out with spouse and child, watch TV/movies/stream

9pm – 12am = Free time activity (CREATE COMICS!)

By doing this Taylor went from 0 hours of creating comics to around 4-5 hours dedicated to making comics.

IF YOU are serious about making comics I highly recommend you re-evaluate your 24 hour schedule and look for way that you can find time to follow your dream! Hey, if I did, anyone could do it.

Good Luck!

Sal Brucculeri

@SalveyB, cunexttues.com, soulmen.launchrock.com, salbrucculeri.com, aa88press.com

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