I love this quote. It’s a great thing to see first as I start my day reading the internet.
Also, At its most basic, making art is about following what’s luminous to you and putting it in a jar, to share with others.
Yesterday I saw an ad inside Instagram for a first person shooter for Starship Troopers. Given the nature of that work, and given the nature of its most significant adaptation–one being a pretty earnest militarist work and one being a sly satire of militarism. How the heck are you going to adapt that into a videogame that attempts either of those things? It seems rather impossible.
I suppose it’s nothing new that videogames poorly adapt their source material.
It’s fortuitous I re-added Mark Evanier to my sidebar. He’s got a post with “Heinlein’s Rules for Writing” and with which it takes mild exception. Here are the rules:
- You must write.
- You must finish what you write.
- You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
- You must put the work on the market.
- You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.
Mr. Evanier has been a paid writer in comics (and elsewhere) for many decades. His short comments are great. This one stands out quite a bit, on reviewing portfolios:
When I’m stuck inspecting samples, one sign of outright amateurism I encounter is this. A kid will come up to show me his artwork and before I’ve even formulated a snap opinion — sometimes, before I’ve even opened the folio — they start with the excuses: “I did this a few years ago”…”Oh, I did that one when I had the flu”…”I had a lot of trouble with my pen on this one…” An oft-heard one is, “I know this looks bad there but the editor insisted I do it that way.”
As I’ve learned from others who do these critiques more often and willingly, the proper response is to close the portfolio, hand it back to them and say, “Come back when you can show me only work you’re proud of.” It’s usually the most valuable advice you can give these folks and I can’t square that with Heinlein’s #3-5.
I know a lot of folks gunshy about sharing their work. About putting it on the public web. It’s scary to put it out there.
Kudos to you for hitting publish.
This week I went to lunch with Al and gRegor. It’s good to be able to get lunch and chat with folks who make web pages. Al took a tremendous photo the other day: Lunch At Five Guys. Kudos to Al for hitting publish on the day he had decided to hit publish on!
Me, I don’t like a deadline. Why is death involved in that word anyway? Goals are nice. I prefer the word “milestone.” Framing matters. Whatever way you need to frame it to make it less intimidating and less terrifying.
When I had delivery dates for the comics I submitted to Burn All Books’ anthology I would add calendar events for myself. “4 weeks to comic, “3 weeks to comic,” “10 days to comic,” “7 days to comic” and then, escalating, countdowns for each day. It helped me far better than seeing a single date. And more than that, I would schedule time for myself to “work on comic” ad hoc. Putting that on my calendar was great for actually putting in the work.
Here’s the quote about deadlines I remember best, from Douglas Adams:
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
An aside: Larry King interviews Douglas Adams, a recording that younger me made from the radio and kept for 30 years and then put on the web.
Douglas Adams’ experience with his Hitchhiker’s series feels instructive to me. It was a shambling, erratic path that got those books out. A radio show. Novels. A TV series. A videogame adaptation. Each one reworked. Each one slightly different from the others. But all somehow recognizably Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The man succeeded against those whooshing deadlines but not in a linear fashion. He died at age 49. A profound injustice.
On Monday the local surf assessment from Surfline’s Schaler Perry included the sentence:
Beautiful afternoon and quality surf continues across the region on the dropping tide – go surf.
I did! And I had a great time in the water. But today the outlook includes the rather dispiriting line:
Overall its (sic) a victory at sea type of day plus the water quality is nasty.
It’s a good day to work on milestones at a keyboard.
Might even hit publish again.