I co-run a website, ComixTribe.com. There was a point in time when I ran two columns, Bolts & Nuts and The Proving Grounds, as well as doing things like the Soapbox, where I tried to be a little more topical, and the first iteration of this column, the Daily Dose. A lot of writing gets done at ComixTribe.com, and all of it is free. My partner and I freely give of our time to produce content, a lot of “best practices” and “lessons learned”, with possibly one of the most comprehensive archives on the making of funnybooks currently on the ‘net. A lot of time and energy and words there. It’s something I’m proud of.
Every so often I get an e-mail or a note on Digital Webbing mentioning the work that’s been put in at ComixTribe and the help that the archive has provided them as they start their journey. The recognition feels good. Knowing that I’ve done something to help creators feels good.
What doesn’t feel good are the new creators who come to The Proving Grounds looking for free editing and haven’t done any work on their craft whatsoever. What doesn’t feel good is knowing that these creators come looking for help, but they don’t want to put in the work to help themselves. What doesn’t feel good is that the majority of the creators who come through The Proving Grounds don’t come back. Most don’t make comments (they have the chance to), and most don’t submit another script (we’re always open).
These don’t feel good because if they’re able to find our little corner of the internet and follow the rules to send in a script, then they can do a little more exploration to see what’s at the site, then they can do a lot to help themselves before they submit.
Help is all over the internet. You don’t have to go far to look. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your part. When you get the help, you have to understand that the help you’ve received is very subjective—it’s coming from the point of view of the person who’s helping you. It’s also coming from their experience level.
Here’s the secret to getting help: you have to learn to help yourself first. The more help you’re able to give yourself, the better the position you’ll be in to accept the help that comes your way and to put that help into action.