So it’s been a few weeks since my car accident and my recovery is going well. I’m getting a lot of normal use back in the old broken arm, which is good. What’s bad is that broken arms just kind of stop working while they’re broken, and they just sort of sit there all stiff and useless and numb. Then someone will ask “Can you stretch your arm out?” and then — and only then — you’ll realise that it hurts to try. It’s a strange feeling, to have your arm stop talking to you like that. Here’s another example. So I’m having a meal and I’m using one of those salt mills to grind some salt onto my food. In trying to make it work I realised I couldn’t make my hands do that; I couldn’t do that ‘one hand rotates clockwise, the opposite hand rotates the other way’ motion. Just couldn’t do it. No grip strength, no rotation, nothing. I’d recovered to the point where I could pick up medium-sized weights like my daughter, but I couldn’t season food without help — I was weak as a kitten in that respect. So that was a couple of weeks ago. Since then, one by one, I’ve been getting back those abilities, those x, y and z angles of rotation, in the arm. But when stiffness and numbness and random weakness go away they are replaced by flexibility and pain. The more my arm starts acting like a normal arm, the more pain I’m not. So it’s like the better my arm gets, the worse it gets, which I didn’t expect. So that’s the bad news.

Here’s some more bad news, and I’m just going to be brutally honest with you. Making comics is taking too long. And I don’t mean because I fractured my elbow, although that sure as hell doesn’t help. No, this was a problem before the accident and I was already tackling it by learning new software to streamline my process. Now I haven’t finished getting to grips with the software, so I’m stuck with my old slow process. And, with a broken arm, an even slower version of that slow process. As we speak, I’m writing this blog post from the bath, soaking my arm in hot water to ease the pain. I’m not trying to score sympathy points, I’m just saying time spent taking long baths is not time spent drawing comics, ya dig?

What’s worse, my day job work is really busy now that society is going back to normal (and being at work is also making my arm more sore). I’m in high demand, which is good, y’know? It’s nice to have an important day job where you feel like a real person people need instead of a tiny cog in an idifferent machine. But with that comes a level of expectation. Right now I feel like a lot of people are counting on me, and I can’t let them down.

So the next five weeks at least are looking insanely busy right now, and simultaneously at time of writing the next strip is due… in a week.

So you and I, dear reader, we have a problem.

Well, I have a solution and I know you’re going to understand and be cool with it because you’re all such lovely people. I’m going to take some time off, hit pause on the update schedule, and get my ducks in a row. The ducks look like this. Meet the ducks:

  1. Physiotherapy and self-care. I need to go easy on the ol’ broken wing, stop when things get uncomfortable, take as many breaks for frozen peas applied to joints as necessary, look after myself. I’m on the verge of doing some serious damage to myself if I do otherwise.
  2. Clip Studio Paint. Move my comic-making process completely over to CSP. The latest comic was made partially in Photoshop and partially in CSP, and it’s like having the worst of both worlds. Enough is enough. I need to migrate my process over and, indeed, invent a new process that plays to the strengths of the new software and to my own strengths too. It’s something I was already doing before the accident, and it doesn’t make sense to stop now. In fact, a smoother process is going to be less intensive on my shattered bones.
  3. Buffer. Get ahead with the comic again. Build an actual, honest-to-God, real life buffer. Post the buffer to Patreon as a tantalising reward for patrons, work further ahead with the comic using the time afforded to me by said buffer. And so on. Be professional about this.

This is all going to take time, but it’s time worth taking now so things can be better for everyone in the future. I keep thinking about that old joke about the lumberjack chopping trees down with a blunt axe. He doesn’t have any time to stop and sharpen the axe because he has too many trees to chop down, and chopping down trees is taking so long what with the blunt axe. You can get yourself into a nice little rut where you’re meeting deadlines and being productive but you’re slow and getting bogged down, and the cycle just repeats.

Sometimes you just have to stop and sharpen your axe. Now seems like a good time. Follow me on Twitter for updates on how things are going. See you all soon, but not TOO soon. Not until the ducks are in a row. After that, nothing will be able to stop me.

Lots of love. Stay safe out there. Look both ways before crossing.