I excite myself, artistically, when I challenge myself to improve. This can be an improvement in skill, in vision, in process or just in life. I don’t always meet the specific challenges I set for myself, but engaging in the attempt earns me some improvement without exception. I find myself in this exact place 2/3 of the way through October.

For Inktober, I am challenging myself to complete the inks for the next 8 pages of Appalachia Tales. I know that my production time is going to be severely limited in November and December, so I wanted to get some pages ready to finish this month. A good plan. Aggressive with my available time, but in a good way. This challenge has forced me to let go of work when it is good enough. I’m falling away from the pitfalls of chasing perfection.

I went into Archon feeling very good about this. I knew I would be a bit more behind after the con, but I had a plan. Plus, the additional commission and table demonstration work I would do at the con would be useful in the future too. And so it went, a fantastic con where I met some great new friends and had a fantastic time getting the Appalachia Tales project out there. Then life happened, like it does.

On Saturday, I broke my favorite pen. No biggie, I can replace it, but it will take some time for it to get here. In the mean time, I am forced to use other pens to complete this work. That means a slower and more meticulous pace. In addition, I’ve been fighting a bug this week. When my compromised immune system is fighting a bug it lays me out. 10+ hours of sleep per day instead of 7 – 8 hours means less time drawing and inking.

So now, I am even further behind. And with this nearly insurmountable deficit I have come to a wonderful life lesson. I will almost certainly fail at my stated goal to ink the next 8 pages of Appalachia Tales for Inktober. But that’s OK! I am creating to my full potential and loving it. Just over a year ago I dusted off my pens and got back into the habit of drawing and Inking daily. That routine led to the re-launching the MuShinGirl brand over the summer and starting production on Appalachia Tales. I am in a very good place!

So, sometimes we miss. Sometimes we set deadlines for ourselves and fail. But we aren’t failures if our process improves, if our skill improves, if our vision improves and if we are enjoying what we are doing. And I am.

Enjoy the process of creating, gang, and you will always create more.