The webcomics blog about webcomics

For You, I Have New-Found Respect

I’ve been thinking a fair piece lately about how experience can sometimes alter our understandings of things. One of the first, most important, and basic pieces of advice you’ll hear offered to new webcomics folks, more than just about anything else, is to stick to your updating schedule.

It’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart with posting here, and I only update once a week. I don’t know how you thrice-weekly updaters do it, let alone those who update daily, but I have a whole new kind of respect for you. This year’s been a little nuts for me, and this week is no exception. I’m in the middle of moving, and I was thinking in the car on the last trip to the new house that one major advantage of online comics that I had completely failed to consider is that I don’t have boxes of them stacked up in my kitchen waiting to be transported down the highway.

So I got home and instead of packing, I got online and Googled “webcomics” and “moving” since lately I’m all meta about my reading and my life. I landed at Venus Envy by Erin Lindsey (I’m very, very late to this party, apparently, given the amount of other press I found on this webcomic!). Right now the webcomic is kind of on hold, for a number of different and difficult reasons, but the hiatus also presents the chance for those of us (by which I mean me) not familiar with the site to get caught up on the archives.

There are sections of the webcomic which are autobio, including strips about stress and school, not updating, and getting engaged, all of which are in addition to the regular strip. There’s also a good About page, which I enjoyed reading, plus the Links page is an interesting combination of other trans webcomics out there plus resources about transsexuality, as well as an interesting interview on Comixpedia.

There’s a lot of archives and I’m reading through them in fits and starts in between all this moving and packing and painting. But I like the strip a lot, and not only because it’s adding another voice to an under-represented demographic in webcomics. I feel like these characters are pretty compelling, and that’s significant. It’s something that keeps readers coming back, and judging by the message boards, there’s an exceptionally strong (and vocal) readership at work here.

I’m not sure I can help, though, with Gary’s request from yesterday (this one: somebody please make somebody else cranky so that we have something for tomorrow ). Other than, of course, opening the floor to suggestions for that right-hand margin over there…

Pro tip: Build a buffer.

OK, I know that even with a buffer, you still have to work like you don’t have one to maintain your schedule/the buffer, but it’s still a nice thing to have.

I write scripts for my comic at the last minute, which is stressful, but not nearly as much as it could be, because so far (Knock on wood) I have always had three or four strips done in advance.

If you’re taking suggestions, I’ll put my comic in the suggestion box. Terror Island, the gamepiece photocomic.

I have to second Shishio on his buffer comment. It’s nice to have the flexibility, even if you’re making comics at about the same rate.

Similarly, I think it’s necessary to figure out a schedule that is workable in the long term in order to prevent burnout. I’d rather take a planned “vacation” that readers are prepared for than go on indefinite hiatus because I’ve stretched myself to the limit and have no buffer left.

Yeah, the buffer is the only way to go for daily comics. If you’re trying to be political, or immediately relevant then it won’t work, but for gag-a-day or serial strips it’s the best way to work.

Right now I’m down ten from an all-time high of 61 days ahead. I’m sick, and I’ve got two weekends of conventions to attend. I may lose 14 days to this. But you know what? My readers won’t notice, and I’ll be able to pick that slack back up in June.

My goal is to build the buffer to 100 by the end of the year. That way I can have a sabbatical instead of a vacation.

RSS feed for comments on this post.