Finding time to create new worlds

(Note: Welcome to readers of Blogging Without a Blog, and thank you Barbara Swafford for naming Blogger Dad the New Blog of the Week!)

I want to create a world in which you will lose yourself. Actually, make that worlds.

I’m a writer, a cartoonist and as of two months ago, a blogger. I’ve had moderate recognition with the first two endeavors, having written (and drawn editorial cartoonists) for a newspaper for three years. I’ve also developed a decent sized readership of my comic strip, though I’ve yet to reach out to a syndicate. Blogging is still very new to me, but it feels like a calling. I’ve been pouring my everything into it and am slowly finding a great community.

The problem is, I’ve not yet found breakout success with any of these ventures. You know, the kind of success where you can make a comfortable living doing what you want to do.

Some people have suggested that I concentrate on one area, say comics, and put everything into that. But if there’s one thing I learned from my layoff at the paper in June, it’s to not place all my eggs into one basket. I am filling as many baskets as I can and hoping one of them will have the golden egg. If I can find success with any one of my loves, I will be able to pursue them all.

Rather than follow one path, I intend to create new ones and – new worlds.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being scared. Fear nips at my feet and lurks in the shadows, its venomous tongue giving voice to my self doubts.

“Who are YOU to think you can write? Everything good has been done. There are no new ideas, no new ways to say things. You suck. Just give up.”

But I can’t. There is too much riding on this. This is my earliest dream – to create.

Every word I write and each picture I draw brings me closer to turning dreams into reality.

But dreams without time mean nothing. The best and brightest of dreams fade to black without the time to fulfill them. And time is where I keep losing the battle. Drawing comics takes anywhere from two to four hours per strip. Blogging involves not only writing, but commenting and following other blogs. Writing also gobbles away at the clock. In the past two months, (since starting Blogger Dad) I’ve missed several comic updates and have not written much outside of this blog.

In short, I’ve spread myself too thin across three different artistic endeavors. I need to develop a time management system to ensure I can give my all to each of these efforts. My worlds depend on it.

If anyone has any advice or related stories, I’d love to hear from you.

To read another post in which I talk about why I want to create such worlds, click here.

Coming tomorrow: Blogger of Steel, Ron Mattocks of Clark Kent’s Lunchbox answers Eight Questions.

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23 Responses to Finding time to create new worlds

  1. Hi Blogger Dad – Since I began reading your blog, I knew you would be included in my New Blog Of The Week series. It’s your words that move your readers to return.

    I hear you when you talk about being at a turning point and not knowing what area of expertise to choose. Being self employed we started out in one niche. As the years passed, we diversified and like you mentioned, spread ourselves thin. But it was that diversification that often got us through the difficult times as we had more than one thing to fall back on. We eventually returned to the original niche, and it’s now our reputation that keeps us busy.

    Follow your heart. A bright future is yours. Stay strong!

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..NBOTW – Musings From A Father

  2. Blogger Dad says:

    Barbara – Thank you very much for the honor and for the words of wisdom. I appreciate you taking the time to help.

  3. I’ve spread myself over many, many different projects (I think it’s 3 or 4 at this time), all of which demand my time and presence…and at the same time, I must find time for my family as well. It should be the other way around…I should work on that.

    Matthew Drydens last blog post..Dullness Prevails / Worst Entry Ever

  4. Lance says:

    Congrats on being NBOTW – it a great honor Barbara has bestowed upon you!

    Your words, put together in writing, speak a wonderful story. Even when self-doubt sneaks into your brain (I think it does for all of us) – continue to listen to your heart. You do have much to share with the world!

    Finding time for all of this – hmmm….I’m not sure – I struggle with that one too. We are limited by the number of hours in a day, and what our priorities are during those hours.

    Lances last blog post..Life’s A Balancing Act

  5. Dave Fowler says:

    Blogger Dad, I understand a little of what you’re going through. I’ve been thinking recently that blogging is a foolish endeavour. It uses all my spare time and doesn’t put food on the table. Then suddenly I see flashes of the potential that exist in blogging and I press on.

    Personal organisation has been a huge problem for me. I was organised at work and became disorganised when I started being a stay at home dad. I’ve just gone through a major restructuring of my day and the way I get things done. It’s working quite well so far but I’m shattered. The balance is returning slowly but surely and maybe I’ll make it to being only ‘tired’ fairly soon.

    Further into my future I see a point when I’ll be well rested.

    Problem is I’ll be six foot underground and residing in a wooden box.

    Hahahahahahaha.

    No it’s not that bleak. But there are some distinct highs and some distinct lows.

    Press on my friend. You are doing a fine job. Your talent is evident and your audience is coming out of hiding.

    Dave Fowlers last blog post..The Hundred Square

  6. I write too, I keep one “normal” blog which is the one there and a fiction blog for young readers: callitfreedom.com.

    I manage with a variety of tools. By far my favorite is David Allen’s GTD, to which I add todoodlist, which is basically mindmapping all your projects.

    For long projects as a novel, I also use celtx, that sorts everything quite nicely.

    But you feel to be doing better than me already.

    Miguel de Luiss last blog post..A change of perspective

  7. Andy Bailey says:

    I know exactly how you feel being spread thin over multiple projects.

    I used to get despondant about one project or even two or three of them when I felt like this but over the years, I have found that if you suck it up and motor through it then you will get lots of “this is bloody great” times when you find a new thing to do with your skills or when one of your projects starts to ‘tick’ again.

    keep at it mate and don’t get too obliged to post a new blog every single day. it’s not a job, it’s a hobby! write when you want, about what you want, that’s the whole reason of having a blog in the first place isn’t it?

    Andy Baileys last blog post..Tell me what you want, what you really really want……. (please, no zigs or ahs)

  8. Writer Dad says:

    I’m so, so with you Dave. Hundreds of hours into Writer Dad, and I’m not even paying for hosting (we both know that neither one of us have covered the cost of our premium theme), but it is about following our muse and filling lots of baskets. I like the analogy, for me it’s fire. I’m feeding as many of them as I can, waiting for one to start roaring. It will happen. Thesis is hopscotching through Blogopolis, but none look like yours. With the kind of endeavor we’re in, it just takes the one big break, and despite the shortcomings in income, a blog has amazing potential as far as reach is concerned. You’re making a lot of friends now. One of them makes it to the top, I’m sure they’ll lower a rope. As far as time management, ask me again in January.

    Writer Dads last blog post..Dejá Vuesday

  9. Betsy says:

    BD – You’ve a fine store of brilliance to impart. Your timetable is yours to make. If anything, throw the cartooning up on here and we’ll be satisfied. Seriously, is there a way to make combination? Or would that just be more work?

    Betsys last blog post..RELIANCE

  10. Hi Blogger Dad, I jumped over here from Barbara’s NBOTW. Welcome to the club! I think we all struggle with time management. I have a 9-5 job, but my ultimate goal is to leave it and a) write full time and b) run an e-business with the Urbane Lion. That means putting a lot, A LOT, of time into blogging. And recently I discovered the joy of fiction writing, so like you, I want to pursue that as well to see if it leads anywhere.

    I am fortunate, in that I am only 45, but already an empty nester. So, I don’t have the parental duties that you and Writer Dad do. To be honest, I have no idea how you do it!

    I guess, in the end, it’s like Lance said. You follow your heart!

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Through someone else’s eyes

  11. CK Lunchbox says:

    Dave,

    I could have written this post word for word, which is to say, I have felt the same exact way. In fact I feel it everyday. It’s been a struggle for 8 months, and the longer it drags on the worse it feels. Writing has been my dream all my life, and I ignored the opportunity to pursue so many times out of fear. Now it’s 4th down and 75 yards from the endzone with 3 seconds on the clock. I’m throwing a hail mary, but there’s a sliver of faith in my gut I’m going to pull out a win.

    What you don’t realize is how far you’ve come in such a short time. Like I’ve said before, what’s taken me months has taken you weeks and I can’t emphasize that point enough. You’re tipping point will come, I’m sure of it just based on how people respond to your writing.

    I do have some tips that have helped me in making some big strides that I think would be helpful to you. I’d post them here for everyone to read, or maybe even write a post on my site, but I’m always careful not to go throwing out my opinions to sound like some kind of know-it-all.

    You’ve got another thing going for you. The support of so many others like Writer Dad and Dave Fowler, to mention only a few, that are there to encourage you and keep you from letting those fears get to you. We all can’t go it alone.

    I hope this is at least a little bit helpful, and not patronizing. It’s posts like this that make me feel better.

    BTW, Congrats on the Blog of the Week.

    CK Lunchboxs last blog post..I’m Turning Into My Mother

  12. Oktober Five says:

    I wish I had found that time management gem to help me get things done. Truth is, every time I try something like a real schedule, I get sickened by the structure of it, lose interest in everything, including life, and drop all of my projects. Eventually, I recover and begin again, but it’s a destructive cycle. I’ve gotten used to it and kind of like it, actually.

    Oktober Fives last blog post..When I Forget, You Lose

  13. Kyddryn says:

    I find cutting my sleep down to one or two hours a night helpful.

    Especially if you don’t mind visual and auditory hallucinations, twitchiness, itchiness, irritability, a sudden, raging case of narcolepsy, a slightly skewed perception of reality, and that dead-sexy crazed hair, bloodshot eye thing.

    If you can convince your family and creditors that money doesn’t buy happiness, and you have their best interests at heart and want them happy, and that eating regularly is overrated…that’d be useful, too. Let me know how that works out.

    Seriously, I feel ya, sugar – between raising the Evil Genius, schooling the Evil Genius, writing, recording (well, in theory – I’ve been slacking on the new CD), demonstrating beadwork at the gallery, feeding my family and occasionally laundering their clothes, getting to the gym so my fifty-acre ass will shrink to a more manageable forty acres, reading more than two-dozen blogs daily, and blogging…whew…

    Something gave. The housework. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who may make her fortune starting up a rest home for bewildered bloggers)

    Kyddryns last blog post..Small Things

  14. Caroline says:

    Fear is:

    False
    Evidence
    Appearing
    Real

    You are an incredible writer and your blog is AWESOME! Just go with what feels right. Don’t succumb to fear. I really think you have a knack for this blogging “thing” and your feature today on Barbara’s blog will bring you many new subscribers! Just keep doing what you are doing… You sure seem to be on the right path!

    Carolines last blog post..Healing mandalas

  15. I’ll just echo what everyone else has said – they’ve said it so much better too!
    Very few find success overnight. It is a slog.
    And Writer Dad is right, you’re picking up some pretty great blogging buddies on here who are all behind you (and you never know when someone can give you a lift up by the bootstraps).
    So keep going BD.

    Tara@From Dawn Till Rusks last blog post..Wipe your feet. Today we are guests at Momology’s pad

  16. Came here from Barbara’s blog.

    I haven’t read the other comments, but I wonder if you could combine two of your passions – the comics and the blog – into one? Just an idea.

  17. Mike Goad says:

    Congrats on being NBOTW!

    I agree with some of the others. Include some comics on your blog for a mix of writing and blogging. If you were to create some cartoons with appropriate commentary and allow others to use them with the proviso of a link back to your blog, you might even have a way to build your blog popularity in a way that most of the rest of can’t.

    I, for one, can’t draw worth a darn.

    Just a thought.

    Mike Goads last blog post..“I’m not _______, but…”

  18. Blogger Dad says:

    Sorry it took so long to get back, I was out most of the day. Thank you to everyone who commented. I appreciate you taking the time.

    Matthew – Yeah, I didn’t even mention family. Obviously, they come first in this equation.

    Lance – Thank you for the kind words. We need to find a way to squeeze more hours out of the day!

    Dave – Thank you, I always knew we had a lot in common.

    Miguel de Luis – Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the advice. I will check those out. And any illusion that I am doing better than anyone at this is just that, an illusion.

    Andy Bailey – Thanks for stopping by. Great advice. I am considering slowing it down a bit just for sanity’s sake. Thanks again for the improvements to CommentLuv

    Writer Dad – Thank you for the kind words. You are definitely one of my brothers in arms here. I feel that good things are on the horizon.

    Betsy – Thank you. The original blog I was going to do was a combination blog including some words and some comics. I thought twice when I realized just how much more drawing would be required to do it constantly. As this blog grows, you will see more of my comics making their way. Although, the few times I’ve put comics on here, the reaction has been minimal. I don’t want to foist my drawings on the blogging audience if they prefer the writing. I’ll see how it goes. Thank you for the nice words.

    Urban Panther – Thanks for stopping by. And yeah, your plate sounds full indeed. I don’t know how anyone with children manages to get anything done!

    CK Lunchbox – 4th down and 75 yards to go. Wow, that’s not pressure. And any ideas you have are welcome either here or on a post at your site. I’m sure most of us would find the info invaluable! I’ll see you tomorrow at Eight Questions!

    Oktober 5 – Wow, that sounds rough. If I find a The Secret System, I’ll pass it on here.

    Kyddryn – LOL! I’ve tried the sleep thing, though on an involuntary basis. I’ll try your idea with the creditors too. I’ll record their responses – should make for an amusing blog post! Yeah, my housework was the first to go, also. Though E has been helping in that regard. And by help I mean, making more housework necessary.

    Caroline – Thank you for the nice words. I appreciate them.

    Tara – Thank you, and yes, I am making some awesome blogging friends. Count yourself among them!

    Vered – Thank you for stopping by. I originally was going to combine a blog with comics, but it would simply add to my workload. Besides, I don’t know if the blog readers here WANT comics. And if they do, what would they want? My Todd and Penguin comics or something related to this site or parenting? I definitely will find a way to bring some comics or illustrations here.

    Blogger Dads last blog post..Finding time to create new worlds

  19. I feel your pain, my friend. Seriously, Jame Chartrand is the Father of all managing machines. He knows how to manage his time. Check out the Pen Men archives for advice. They won’t steer you wrong.

    Jamie Simmermans last blog post..For Sale: Ran Great Yesterday

  20. Pingback: Hump Day Reading for the Restless Soul — Write From Home

  21. Blogger Dad says:

    Mike Goad – Sorry I didn’t comment on you sooner. Your post didn’t show up in my “to approve” comments until after I’d already written. Anyway, thank you for the kind words. I am going to seriously consider adding comics here in some form. I have a few ideas I’m kicking around. As for using comics on other sites, I like the idea, though part of me fears that if it takes off, I’d have a bunch of sites hotlinking and driving up the bandwidth. Not sure if that’s a realistic concern or not.

    Jamie – Thank you, I’ll have to check that out.

  22. Patricia says:

    Congratulation on the NBOTW honor. I have been here a number of times, but did not comment from Writer Dad’s blog, Barbara’s Blog and Vered’s – today I subscribed. I enjoy your writing, humor and style and some lovely photographs -images and word designs.
    My background is 30 years of intensive caregiving and giving up my career goals inch by inch/crisis by crisis – I am trying to now do exactly what I want to do and enjoying a new and sometimes scary freedom. I garner hope and enthusiasm from your blog and appreciate your pursuit; wishing you success as your children grow and become…
    I used to love reading Erma Bombeck, her wit and enjoyment of life and she truly nailed the important things in life with a sledge hammer of humor.
    Thank you for emerging into my life…thank you Barbara for your choice.

    Patricias last blog post..American Ingenuity – or Crisis Intervention to Discover Success

  23. Blogger Dad says:

    Patricia – Thanks for the nice comments and for subscribing! I’m glad you are finding value in my musings. I remember watching Erma Bombeck (on Good Morning America?) when I was a kid. I didn’t get a chance to read her while she was still alive, but I respect what I know of her work. Thank you and best of luck to you in your efforts, also.