Days when you feel like punching words

batman

As someone who writes and revises for hours every day, my confidence fluctuates.

Sometimes I envy a clever headline. Or I wish my vocabulary were bigger. I could have explained things more clearly. I need to use more humor. Add more opinion. Et cetera. Usually I read another person’s writing — someone I admire — and then hate my own.

I’m pretty sure everyone experiences this at least occasionally, but when you write for a living, it’s more common. I’m a strong writer, but we’re all learning. Constantly. I once heard that this happens in fits and starts and not all at once, which is probably true. You don’t become a master overnight; it takes years of practice.

I’ve always struggled with crafting good headlines — and encouraging discussion. I’m a shy person and a bit of an introvert, so opening up to billions of people on the Internet can be hard. But that connection is important to me. It’s what makes writing worthwhile.

So my question to you is, how do you overcome your perceived shortcomings? What do you find works best for generating comments? How do you actually improve without regressing backward?

And above all, how do you keep from losing confidence?

Or we could just say screw it and spill our guts about how terrible our writing is on Mondays and how awesome it is on Wednesdays because that’s typically how it works for me.

(Maybe the solution is red wine. Lots and lots of wine.)

June’s comic book pick of the month: Adventure Time

If you read my open call for comics back in April, then you know I’ll be reviewing current comic book series (in addition to writing graphic novel reviews) every month or so to inspire discussion. I’m also taking requests, so please — leave a comment or drop me an email!

Did you know comics require a lot more brainpower to read? The right side of your brain processes pictures, while the left interprets words. Okay, moving on!

I know what you’re thinking: “Adventure Time is a show, silly!” Whoa-hoahh, hold on a sec. It’s also a relatively new comic book series from BOOM! Studios. Before you groan and turn away, believe me, I understand any misgivings you might have. Like with any crossing of mediums, television-to-comic adaptations don’t usually work so well.

ADVENTURE TIME does.

Ryan North (creator of Dinosaur Comics) pens the issues, and Shelli Paroline typically handles art. Paroline is amazing. I know actual human likenesses are harder to authentically portray in illustration, but her work rivals Georges Jeanty’s on the BUFFY line (Dark Horse Comics). I can’t tell the difference between show and comic here, honestly.

(Also, I love her reproduction of Avatar: The Last Airbender.)

I’m a strong believer that the more recognizable a comic is to its original source, the more successful it can be — especially if it has talented writers working on it. Thankfully, North captures the humor and essence of Adventure Time without missing a beat.

In some cases, it’s better. (Gasp!) While music has always been a fundamental part of the show, I know some people are turned off by all the singing. I don’t particularly care for it myself except in episodes like “What Was Missing” (and I’m not even going to go into the weird controversy there).

ADVENTURE TIME #4 is my favorite yet. It’s amazing how effortlessly North and Paroline can recreate the unique characteristics of the show in still form. Here’s a quick recap: Recently Finn and Jake and co. defeated the Lich and reformed the world, only the desert kingdom isn’t quite where it’s supposed to be. This issue calls upon some princess power to set things right again.

The secondary stories placed in the back end act as fun side adventures that feature different contributing writers and artists. And for those who like variant covers, the incentive ones for ADVENTURE TIME are rather popular. Mike “Gabe” Krahulik of Penny Arcade even prepared one for issue #5. Talk about awesome!

You can preview and buy ADVENTURE TIME #4 online at ComiXology or your local comic shop.

ADVENTURE TIME #4 (by writer Ryan North and artists Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline) released on Wednesday, May 30. Issue #5 is now available.