Project Focus

I get this question quite a bit:

Do I ever have a difficult time focusing on projects?

The answer is: Sure!

I took me almost 20 years to get enough focus where I can work on big projects and get them done. That doesn’t help you really, since you’ve got your own focusing to do, but the point is that it’s a common problem.

Here’s some advice about focusing and choosing your comic project:

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Work on what you’re most passionate about.

When I was creating Monster Commute, I had to include lots of different things that I’m passionate about…

…monsters, steampunk, 1984, golems, halloween, advertising, vintage illustration…

…for me to stay interested in creating it every day. It was the only way to prevent me from bailing on it to pursue something else.

It’s super important that you focus on yourself, rather on what you think might be marketable. That’s important too, but you’ll never get there if you can’t finish anything.

Stop watching TV or playing video games, or whatever non-vital ways that you spend your time.

If you’re not willing or able to do that, then you’re not ready to be a focused creator. That’s okay, but don’t also wish that you could be a creator too.

You need the time to work on your project/business, and you ‘ll never have enough time to even do that right.

Work on what’s important.

If it’s a big idea that you’re really wanting to do, go for it. Your art/skill will develop in the meantime. If you’re concerned about your skill level, then do it privately, and don’t put it out there.

Really, what’s the alternative? Working on projects that you don’t have much passion for? That seems like an empty thing to me.

None of us are satisfied with our artwork; but you’ve got to do a bunch of it on a regular basis to grow. Focus on the craft and the making of your comics, and you’ll grow over time. It’s okay if you hate what you did 6 months back; at least you’re moving ahead now.

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In closing…

  1. Decide to dedicate yourself into being a maker, rather than a consumer of content.
  2. Schedule your life so that you can work on your project every day.
  3. Choose your best material to produce; stuff that you’re the most passionate about.
  4. Don’t chase “get successful quick” projects; those are usually distractions. Stay true to your vision.

Mine isn’t the only way, mind you, but it’s how I like to think about creating. Go out there and make stuff, and you’ll figure out your own methods.


Daniel m. Davis is the co-owner (with his wife Dawna) of Steam Crow LLC,  a Phoenix, Arizona studio that creates characters/stories/goods with a monster imagination.

He also creates the Monster Commute, a 5 day a week monsterpunk adventure comic. He likes steam-golems.

About Daniel Davis

Daniel is the co-owner of Steam Crow, a company that makes monster goods. He also makes the Monster Commute webcomic, which is updated 5 days a week. It's an Orwellian adventure story about steampunk monsters, and it isn't supposed to be jokey. Daniel lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the founder of TINY ARMY, a local illustrator/comic creator group.

5 thoughts on “Project Focus

  1. I agree with everything you said in this article – almost. I’d like to offer a counter-argument to the header, “Stop watching TV or playing video games, or whatever non-vital ways that you spend your time.”

    You’ve wisely pointed out before (and mention in the “In closing…” section), the importance of discipline and schedule, and with that, I could not agree more! However, cutting out the “non-vitals” means potentially getting rid of the only true relaxation time you may have. Stress kills creativity, and can even make you physically ill – now that’ll kill your production time! Another point is a paraphrase of something one of my co-workers said – If you’re always creating and never consuming, you’ll never grow. Inspiration can come from those outside sources.

    For myself, I get more productive if I have a fun treat waiting at the end of the day, like an hour of gaming or a movie. But I have to deliberately set up my time to work, and make sure it comes before my time to play. That’s just me, though, and I know peoples’ minds work differently.

    Just my two-and-a-half cents, which will buy… not much. Maybe it’s worth something in Monstru, though!

    Thank you for the blog post! I enjoy reading your insights.

    1. Good point. Everyone needs a break, I suppose.

      The real trouble is when people say that they “don’t have time” but are still able to dedicate hearty time to entertainment; video games, folk dancing, tv, etc.

      You Nightlyre, are producing, and thus deserve a break; I’m addressing the folks who can’t seem to finish a project largely because they aren’t willing to make the time to do it.

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