Sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’ve done enough work in any given day.
I know, I know… for somebody who’s never missed a day of updating, and for whom updating the comic is now a full-time job, it should be pretty EASY to tell. I mean, as long as the updates are on time and there’s room in the buffer for me to get sick, I’m doing enough, right?
Well, right now there ISN’T enough room in the buffer for me to get sick. It’s down to 12 days, and has dropped to single digits several times in the last month. I’ve been hovering between 8 and 12 for what seems like an eternity, but is really more like “ever since Linucon.”
Thus, I need a system whereby I can tell myself that only after such-and-such is complete can I be done working for the day. Said system must support the concept of “weekend,” too.
Here’s the system I conjured up while driving home from Boise:
Three times every weekday I must take three rows of Schlock Mercenary through one of the three major stages of completion.
Stage one is scripting.
Stage two is pencil-and-ink.
Stage three is coloring.
Today I succeeded in my goal. I scripted a three row Sunday (three rows through the scripting stage), pencilled and inked the preceding Thursday-through-Saturday (three rows through the pencil-and-ink stage), and scripted three weekdays (three rows through the scripting stage.)
Tomorrow I have the following on the work-a-la-carte menu:
1) 9 rows await coloring.
2) 6 rows await pencil-and-ink.
3) Scripting… there’s not much limit on that.
This system prevents me from getting bored, helps me keep the various queues full of things to do, and (assuming I stick with it) forces me to add 2/3rds of a week to the buffer with every work week that passes. More importantly, it helps prevent burnout. If I keep the time-consuming pencil-and-ink down to three rows a day, I can have my 9 rows worth of work done in three hours or less.
So… what do I do with the REST of the day? Right now it’s commercial work and the odd commission. Oh, and managing the business, monitoring the forums, and reading, reading, reading so that this strip stays smart and fresh.
I think this system can work. I really, REALLY need to get the buffer back up above 21. If I stick with this systemt for all the November weekdays (except Thanksgiving!) I’ll have cranked out 5 weeks of Schlock in just over three weeks. That’ll add 12 to the current buffer, which brings me back over 21. And I’ll have done it without burning out or going crazy.
–Howard “arguably, I already AM crazy” Tayler