No new update this week, but I think it might be a good chance to discuss something I’ve learnt and am still learning as a freelancer. No plan ever goes to plan, unless part of the plan includes the plan failing.

When I started drawing, I sat down and figured out that The Firelight Isle takes me 1.5 days a page on average, and that I have 8.6 days a month to work on it, meaning I can get 5.7 pages done a month, and with the average episode of the story being 6 pages attached to one another, I should be able to get just under 1 episode done a month.

Sounds great, huh? I’ve been making calculations like that since I started doing comics as a freelancer, and have ended up relying on them in a number of situations, but life always throws things you don’t expect at you.

Things like prepping the final designs for that other freelance project I took a few months ago, having a little extra work to do for The Phoenix out of office, updating my records with a year’s worth of business receipts, submitting my tax return, being away for Christmas, planning for the next financial year, going to town to post those shop orders, writing these blog entries… lots of small interruptions and additions that seen in isolation are barely worth thinking about, but when put together add up to a significant amount of time!

The thing I never want to admit to myself is that life never stops throwing these at you. You can wait all you want for the “quiet time” to happen or the “perfect routine” to fall into place, but it never does. The only predictable thing about self employment is unpredictability, and working with unpredictability is a matter of keeping space in your plans for the unknown to occur – not an easy task.

So, it seems that in the balance, suggesting I’d be able to get one episode out a month was optimistic, and plans made with optimism are just poor plans. Employing a bit of practical pessimism is forcing me to say that I just can’t schedule it… they’ll be ready when they’re ready. I really hate saying it, but it’s true. If I had 5 days a week for this things would be different, but 2 will have to do!See you next week, and remember – hope for the best, but prepare for problems, and never promise anyone anything that doesn’t take possible problems into account!

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