Saturday, May 23, 2015

How to Never Work a Day

There is a quote from Confucius that goes like this: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I love this quote and I firmly believe the philosophy behind it to be the absolute truth. If you were to read the success stories of many millionaires, you will find that many of them have a number of things in common. They will often be the type of people who had big dreams and they put in a lot of hours pursuing them.

What often makes it easier for them to put in so many hours is the fact that they enjoy the type of work that they are doing. So what Confucius really means by saying that you will never work a day in your life is that since it is something you enjoy so much, it's not like working at something you would think of as tedious or monotonous.

Everybody has their own idea as to what may be tedious or monotonous or boring. What I may consider to be a boring job, someone else may consider to be their dream job. Sure, any job, no matter how much you may like it, would have some negative aspects about it. Work is, well, work. It's really more about what kind of satisfaction you really get out of it.

One of my many “jobs” is that of a comic strip creator. I do an online comic strip called the Comic Strip. I enjoy doing it mainly because I like to see the end product. Now, granted, I believe some of them are funnier or better than others. I'll be the first to admit that I probably don't hit a home run every time at the plate. But, overall, I am pretty satisfied with the end product most of the time.

There are a number of challenging aspects to doing it. I do it in 3D animation program and add the captions in another program that is used for creating comic books. I also use Photoshop for some things as well as a few other programs. So the creation of each of the comic strips involves the use of a number of programs. Learning those programs was a challenge but once I learn how to do certain tasks, I am kind of proud of myself for having yet another accomplishment under my belt.

I also do other things that have been a bit of a challenge as well. The feeling I get upon the completion of those projects is what really drives me to do them the most. I will often put in a lot of hours doing some of the things I do. Some aspects may be a bit tedious. For example, when I add a lot of pages to one of my websites, it can be a bit monotonous. I have done projects that have involved the creation of hundreds of web pages. But when I look at what I have done and see how I have created over 4,000 pages, it is sometimes hard to believe.

So my satisfaction comes really from what I accomplish. I look at my thousands of web pages I have on the Internet, my 3D art and animation, my music and my writing and it is sometimes hard to believe that I am the one who has done all of those things.

Writing itself can be a challenge. Some of you writers out there would be able to relate to that statement. Sometimes you get writer's block and are worried you may not be able to come up with your next idea. I kind of get that with my comic strips too. But the funny thing is that sometimes I get a rush of ideas and I write them all down for future use. So I somehow manage to keep going.

I guess, to sum things up, I would have to say that you need to find something that you really have a passion for. As for myself, I like the creative process of creating something from nothing. Sometimes the various challenges can be intimidating but when I meet a challenge and do well, the feeling of accomplishment makes it all worthwhile. That's when I realize that maybe confucius was really on to something when he said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau is a musician, writer, cartoonist, webmaster, 3D artist and entrepreneur. He is also the creator of the comic strip.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Always Think of the End Game to Stay on Track

It's really easy to lose focus at times, no matter what it is that you are trying to achieve. So every now and then, you need to remind yourself as to what the end game should be. You have to think about what you really want to do in the end. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up to spend more time doing the things you don't want to do than the things you really want to do.

Years ago, I started a local arts magazine. I thought it would be a great way to break into the music scene with my own music. It helped to some degree but what I really ended up doing was spending most of my time working on the magazine and not so much time working on my music. You see, the end game that I wanted was to do more with my music, not less. That's just one example as to how you can end up losing focus and veering off into a direction you never really intended to go.

Another thing I tried was doing websites for other bands in exchange for opportunities to play at their gigs while the owners of the establishments were present. I did that to sort of use it as an opportunity to do a live audition. I got a number of gigs that way. But after while, I spent more time doing the website updates and was given less opportunities to play at their gigs and so it ended up getting to the point where it was really a waste of my time.

Still, to this day, I have to stop what I am doing and really analyze my situation, my progress and my goals. It doesn't really take much to lose focus. I think about what I am currently doing, whether or not it's something I want to continue to do and I also think about the things that I am not doing that I would like to be able to do. I have to think about whether or not I am moving closer to my goals or drifting away from them.

I am a creative person. I like to do a number of creative things. I do websites, 3D art and animation, music and this writing thing. I also work a full time job. So needless to say, I manage to keep myself pretty busy. The eventual goal is to just work completely for myself doing all of the creative things that I enjoy doing. I would also prefer that I make some decent money while doing so. I believe my overall goal to be a realistic one.

That's another thing that we have to think about as well. We have to think about whether or not our end game or overall goal is a realistically attainable one. Once we determine that it is, we have to keep after it.

At one time, I was completely self employed. When the economy took a major downturn, I was forced to get a job working for someone else. It was a disappointment because I really loved the freedom that I had working totally for myself. I would get up in the morning and decide what I was going to work on that day. It could be web development, my music or writing some articles. It was whatever I felt like and that was great.

So my overall goal is to get back to that but preferable with a more sustainable business model that would not be easily derailed by a downturn in the economy. Every now and then, though, I find myself working more on some of the less desirable things and less on the more desirable things and I ask myself “is this what you really want to do?” Then I tell myself “no.” So I kind of make some modifications in my activities to try to get back on track.

There are a number of ways I can try to publicize myself and promote myself online. Much of that will involve various activities that are quite time consuming. If I get too caught up in that, I set myself up to do more of those things I don't like having to do. So I try to do those things in moderation. Another thing too is the fact that if everything becomes so tedious, monotonous or boring, you may end up giving up on everything or just burn yourself out.

So the main advice I intend to give here is to stop every now and then, think of that end game and see if you are really progressing towards it. If you find that you have drifted away, try to steer yourself back onto the right path. Then maybe, the light at the end of the tunnel will soon be within site.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It Takes Constant Promotion to Attain Success Online

With the many things that I have done online, I have come to the realization that in order to attain any level of success, you need to engage in constant promotion. My online activities include web development, selling of art prints, selling of my music as well as e-books.

I recently started an online comic strip called the comic strip, which features punk rock cartoon characters. I have to say that I probably spend more time promoting the comic strip, the merchandise and the website that they are on than I do creating the comic strip itself. There is no exaggeration here, it is really constant promotion.

Every time I create a new work of 3D art, I make it available for sale as art prints. So I upload it to the site I sell from and then post it on my Facebook page. I post it on my personal Facebook page as well as the various fan pages. I also post on Twitter. If I want to promote a new feature on one of my websites, I basically do the same.

Facebook and Twitter aren't the only social networking sites I am active on. I am active on a few more sites as well. So I make a point of posting on them as well. I even have a few blogs that I post things on too.

I not only post my websites and my art prints but whenever I upload new music or videos, I promote that as well. I post in Google plus groups as well as Facebook groups. Let's just say that I post wherever I can get away with posting.

I have seen the difference between actively engaging in online promotion through social media and not. Let me tell you that there is a significant difference. I can tell how effective it is by using Google Analytics as well as checking the statistics of my Blogspot blogs.

If you don't actively engage in online promotion of some kind, you will basically be depending upon people discovering what you want them to see by merely stumbling upon it. That's fine but don't expect a lot of people to do that. I am fortunate in the sense that I do have some websites that get thousands of visits a month through search engine traffic but not everybody has that advantage. Even with that advantage, It still helps a lot to post on my social media pages.

I don't only promote things that are new that would obviously need to be promoted in order for people to see. But I also promote some of the features on my various websites that already get traffic though the search engines. I figure that promoting it on the social networking sites will only make those websites even more popular.

I just recently finished an e-book that is a compilation of the first 50 comic strips for the comic strip. Once it was completed, I wrote a blog about the release of it, I wrote a blog about how I did it and I posted it all over my social networking pages. Let me just say that it is crucial that you do that sort of thing unless you have a serious advertising budget. Even if you do have a large advertising budget, it doesn't hurt to use the methods that are free like promotion on social networking websites.

It doesn't really matter so much as to what exactly it is that you are trying to promote online. No matter what it is, chances are, people will not just stumble on to it. When I say that I spend a lot of time promoting my work, I am not joking. If you don't actively engage in online promotion through the social networking websites then you may not be getting anyone to see your work, whether it is a website, a product you are selling, your music or online videos. That is the reality of the situation. You need to accept that reality and meet it head on. That's what I have done and will continue to do myself.

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau is a webmaster, 3D artist, musician and the creator of the Comic Strip.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I Have Released the First E-book Volume of the Comic Strip

I recently released a new e-book called The Comic Strip Collection Volume 1. It features the first 50 strips from the Comic Strip series. I was very happy to complete and release the compilation e-book. For more information regarding it, I have included the FOREWORD from the book in this post, so here it goes:

Thank you for buying this book. This book celebrates the completion of the first fifty comic strips. The first strip was officially released on January 25th, 2015. It initially started out as being just a weekly comic strip but has since gone on to have three strips released per week.

The first fifty comic strips feature over 20 characters. That can be confusing for some, I know, but I do have a characters page on the website that describes each character in detail and I also have a free e-book available that does the same.

I wanted to do what I could to introduce all of the characters and the various scenarios in the first fifty strips because I felt it was important to create the basic foundation upon which it all would be built.

This is actually my first attempt at a comic strip. It is something that I had been considering for a number of years but had not actually gotten around to it until recently. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep coming up with new ideas for strips. Luckily enough, though, I managed to at least come up with the fifty that make up this book and I have a number of ideas written down for future comic strips.

I tried to incorporate a number of different elements into the strip. I am a musician, so I have my experiences there to work with. I have worked in a corporate environment, so I have that element as well. I have also worked a number of other different types of jobs and met a lot of different people along the way that provide memories for me to draw from. Please don’t go thinking that I am just making fun of certain types of people because, to a great extent, I am really poking fun at myself, my experiences and how I used to be.

I would not recommend the humor contained in my comic strips for young readers. It is primarily adult humor. I would prefer that the reader be at least 16 or 17 years old. Some people have referred to the humor as being somewhat dark or cynical. Others don’t try to describe it at all other than to say that they think they are funny. Being the creator of the comic strips, I am glad that someone thinks they are funny. I just hope that you all get a kick out of it too."

Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

For more information about the book, CLICK HERE.