I posted this on the Chalkboard Manifesto Blog with much trepidation. It’s hard to so publicly state an ambitious goal. (And by publicly, I mean all 5 people who read the TCM blog.) And now I’m basically going to spend the rest of this entry talking to myself.
I’m going to play the “What’s the worst that could happen?” game. The worst that can happen is that I completely fail in my goal and TCM is right where it is right now: An obscure web comic with the occasional traffic spike. Am I currently embarrassed about having such a web comic? No. Besides, I’ve done similar things before, stating goals for TCM and then never fulfilling them. Things can’t get worse than the times I stopped updating and a few people got mad at me.
The other fear is success. Well, not really success. The fear is that the same thing will happen to TCM that happened to my old web comic. Because I referred someone to this thing, I got free advertising. I used it, and one person wrote a rather scathing criticism of my webcomic. This wouldn’t have meant anything, but I realized that the criticisms were very spot-on. I stopped updating. The fear is that someone will pierce into my very soul and see that TCM is just a piece of junk. But look what happened after I stopped updating TCM: I took the criticisms to heart and revamped Majestic (another webcomic). I’m still very proud of some of those comics I made. Good criticisms will force me to improve.
I’m also afraid of the garden-variety haters. Anything that’s popular will attract haters. I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle the heat. But I’d get the occasional piece of hate mail with Psycho-ward.org and I learned to love it. The lack of an ability to form a coherent thought, in those e-mails, is often very entertaining. I’ll re-learn how to shrug those things off. Anyway, it’s worse to be completely ignored, isn’t it?
I’m not afraid of people criticizing my crappy art skills. That will never go away, but I do want to improve the art process. I’m currently drawing things on paper with a mechanical pencil. However, I am afraid of people calling me lazy because it’s a legit criticism for many of the earlier comics. Yet with the mindset of obsession, no one will be able to call me lazy. If they can legitimately call me lazy, then I need to get off my ass and work. If they can’t, then why should I care what they accuse me of.
I’m also afraid that by choosing to focus on webcomics, I’ll miss other opportunities. Shouldn’t I focus on something more useful? Like writing or oratory? First of all, The Chalkboard Manifesto is writing. Secondly, if I tell people I authored one of the most popular web comics on the internet, it’s not as if that’s nothing. No one’s going to say, “Why didn’t you do something more useful?” Even if I fall far short of my goal, I’ll still be able to point to a readership more significant than people’s private blogs. It’ll still be pretty cool.
Speaking of which, another fear is falling short of my goal. What if I only make it to #50 on TWC or something? That’s still over 30 votes a day, which isn’t nothing. 30 very dedicated readers also means you’ve got quite a bit more readers who aren’t so dedicated. By that point, I’ll have built up some type of community. That’s a cool skill to have — experience with building your own online community.
At the end of this exercise, I feel much less trepidation. Those fears really didn’t have much to them.