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Inspiration, motivation, and making a fool of yourself

Another transcribed tweet session by Greg Pak
On Saturday I had the great pleasure of receiving the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival’s Emerging Artist Award and participating in a “Conversation with Greg Pak” event moderated by Loraine Morrill. The conversation and Q&A session were a blast — but afterwards I realized I hadn’t fully answered one of the attendee’s questions, so last night I tried to finish the thoughts on the Twitter.
Read on for the transcript:

Had a fantastic time at the @PAAFF “Conversation with Greg Pak” event last night – thanks to Michael & Joe & Loraine!
But I realized I didn’t completely finish answering one person’s question. She was asking about inspiration/motivation.
I talked about the constant deadlines as a comic book writer being great for discipline. Can’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration. [Comic book writers] have to learn how to make it happen, no matter what, in order to make those deadlines. Which is actually a great thing. Without deadlines, it’s far too easy to moon around with a creative project indefinitely.
So what I forgot to mention yesterday was that it’s possible to create deadlines for yourself to motivate yourself to finish creative projects. Just a few ways…

  1. Form a group with friends to critique each others’ work. Good kick in the pants to at least complete first drafts of projects.
  2. Find contests to enter. Those contests will have deadlines that you can’t miss. (But always carefully read competition rules/regs. Don’t want to sign away rights without realizing it!)
  3. Take a shot at stuff like Ntn’l Graphic Novel Writing Month or http://24hourcomicsday.com/

I haven’t done those myself, but I’ve done the film world equivalent with a 48 hour film at @HamptonsFilm a few years ago.
Finishing projects is absolutely key. And here’s another crazy thought: embrace creative failure and humiliation.
When I was doing improv comedy, I had a friend who said the number one rule was to be completely willing to make a total fool of yourself.
Finishing those early projects is key because they’re going to be flawed and bad and we need to learn by seeing how people react to them.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true – we often learn more from our creative failures than our creative successes.
We might not intellectually know why a creative project succeeds – we just managed to hit the right notes without thinking it all through.
But when I screw something up, boy, do I take the time to think it through and learn from it.
It’s also critical to develop the ability to keep going in the face of creative failure. Most people quit. Sometimes the most talented quit.
The ones who make it have one thing in common – they didn’t quit.
And finally, it’s critical to embrace making a fool of yourself because every awesome creative project initially sounded totally moronic.
Particularly now, it’s breathtakingly/heartbreakingly easy to make anyone’s story sound stupid – in 140 characters or less! 😉
The relevant song for all of this: “They All Laughed.” Here’s part of the Louis Armstrong version.
Which brings me to my recently rediscovered 1980 centaur novella. 😉
Okay, y’all, thanks for putting up with all this yapping. And thanks again to everyone who came to the @PAAFF and @BNWCOMICS events!

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