Sorry to make the comparison again, but here goes - Alcoholics Anonymous was started by alcoholics. And that how it is with Make Comics Forever. I started this group because I have problems - with productivity and discipline.
I've been thinking a lot about what I need to do to become a more capable cartoonist. I've learned some activities are helpful and some are detrimental. I'm trying to keep a running tab.
WHAT WORKS (for me)
1. Keep a record, make lists (like this one), WRITE IT DOWN. When I feel discouraged or frustrated, I write in my journal. It helps me MAKE SENSE of things. I want to improve. Writing is a tool I can use to understand my problems and propose solutions. It also acts as a RECORD. I can't keep this all in my head.
2. Act from a place of INSPIRATION, NOT GUILT. Guilt can be a motivator, but not a very constructive one. Guilt feeds guilt, and in the end, it can incapacitate you.
3. WRITE IN ALLCAPS when you need to.
4. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Maybe that's what the Higher Power talk in AA is really all about. I've felt my most productive times to be when I'm working on a project that's important (like CCS.)
5. A little help from my friends. Cartooning is such an isolating activity, I find I need the kinship and support of friends and colleagues. Last week Alec Longstreth and Aaron Renier visited CCS. Drawing with them I felt encouraged and productive.
IT'S EASY TO GIVE UP WHEN NO ONE'S LOOKING. Develop a chain of support. Should we start Make Comics Forever sponsors (like AA?)
6. Work within structure. GIVE YOURSELF DEADLINES. Develop a schedule. You don't have to go hardcore Longstreth style, you're allowed to be flexible. Find out what works for you.
7. Strike while the iron is hot! When you are inspired, when an idea is fresh, work NOW. Write it down in your journal. This is especially important to me. I'm forgetful, I can't trust myself to remember anything. I've made a rule for myself - act when the idea is in your head, or you will forget it.
8. DON'T STOP. I played the flute in 6th grade (I was awful, btw.) I remember when I'd flub up some part of music, I wanted to stop and start over. My music teacher always encouraged me to play through. Then try it again and do it right. This isn't always the right advice, but it can keep you from getting road blocked.
9. When all else fails, STOP. Get out of the house, listen to some music, do the dishes. Take a break. Come back and do more comics.