I’m sure people have heard the sayings–writers write, pencilers pencil, and all that. But the same can be said about the negative aspects of the arts…quitters quit. It’s actually much easier to quit sometimes than go through all the hard work it takes to create comics. Why is that? Well, one big factor is instant gratification. When you quit, you suddenly reclaim time to play more video games, spend more time at the bar, and stuff your face with dessert sandwiches made out of chocolate bars, pudding, and whipped cream. You also have one less project to stress over, so your blood pressure goes down…your hair starts to grow back…and your hypochondria eases up a bit.

Of course, there are instances where it’s nearly impossible to quit…when you’re addicted. Giving up smoking? How about caffeine? Or sweets? Quitting isn’t always a bad thing. When you actually think about it, quitting can be a form of sacrifice to help bring your life in line with your goals. Set a goal and try not to give up anything to achieve it. Want to lose weight? You’ll probably need to give up a lot of your favorite foods and some of your time for exercise. Want to watch a weekend-long MST3K marathon? You’ll lose out on time for other projects, sleep, and you might even sacrifice a little sanity along the way.

When I decided to get serious with my writing, I gave up a lot of my late nights playing games to make time for it. I also gave up an hour of sleep each night to get up early and work on my craft. My TV watching dropped to minimal levels as well, but that’s to give myself more time with the family (so they don’t feel left out when I’m locked away in my office writing).

Unfortunately, giving up so many different things to go after a goal also helps make it easier to quit later on. Think of how much you had to quit to go after a single goal. That’s a lot of practice, isn’t it? And if you have time to work on your projects, then you’ve been practicing how to quit other things correctly. You need to put that kind of practice into your creative endeavors as well, or you’ll be tempted to fall back to something you’re good at…quitting. But you can practice all the time and still feel the urge to quit.

So, how can you increase your odds of not giving up and falling back to all that well-practiced quitting? You get yourself addicted. Give yourself time to enjoy the rush of creating something new. Reward yourself whenever you stick to your goals and when you do a good job. Take a break every now and then to do something weird with your artwork…something fun. Set yourself up, so that you always feel your creativity overwhelming you to the point where you have no choice but to follow that path. Get yourself to the point where you stop thinking about how much you’re giving up and sacrificing to be a creator and start filling your thoughts with your creations instead.

Let’s flip back to the creative side real quick. You’re now addicted to all that fun creative stuff. You write or pencil all the time. But if you don’t take the effort to tear apart and analyze your work and guide all that practicing towards improvement, you’ll just be spinning your wheels. If you write and draw all the time, but do it wrong, you’re just reinforcing all those bad habits (and making them more difficult to break later on). So, it’s not enough to just write or draw all the time unless you constantly review your work with a critical eye to push yourself to improve your craft. Get the most out of the time you’ve made for yourself. To paraphrase from George Leonard’s book, Mastery–practice perfectly.

So, be a quitter! Quit the things you can afford to sacrifice to reach your goals, quit viewing the world through a pessimistic lens, quit worrying about your big break not showing up, and quit reinforcing bad habits in your craft. Quit those things, so you can reclaim the time, develop the positive attitude and practice the skills you need to reach your goals.