In at least one important way, there is no difference.
Both have to come up with something to fill their spot on the page. Every. Blessed. Day.
Longest running comic strips
Do you read the newspaper any more? I still get it a couple of days a week. I look forward to the comics – two full pages in the daily U-T San Diego – because they give me the chance to sit in spellbound admiration at the intestinal fortitude of the cartoonists.
Cartoonists have to deliver creativity and meet reader expectations every day of every week of every year for the rest of their career. Sure, they take time off, but you know it means that they’ve had to work extra hard before they leave and extra hard when they return to come up with clever content that we want to read and will enjoy. Every. Blessed. Day.
Some comic strips go on for decades, like Little Orphan Annie, Popeye and The Katzenjammer Kids. Don’t you ever wonder how Mort Walker can keep coming up with ways for Beetle Bailey and the Sarge to cross each other? Or how many more flat puns Johnny Hart can coax out of Wiley’s Dictionary in B.C.? Or how many exclamation marks Moy and Giella have used in Mary Worth’s unending life?
When the “single most important characteristic of successful content marketers is perseverance” (Joe Pulizzi), do you have the chops for that kind of longevity in your blog?
How do they do it?
Don’t ask me how they do it. This blog has nothing on The Wizard of Id, or on any of the long-in-the-tooth bunch, so I don’t have their secret inside of me.
I need to search the Web for it.
I find that in my (non-brilliant) creative endeavors it pays to keep a notebook (or smart phone) to capture comic strip ideas, jokes, etc.
I find that I can only hold 2 – 3 ideas in my head before new ideas start “over-writing” them. If I write down the ideas as I get them I can go back and develop them at my leisure.
Write it down, you will forget.
Eternally on your guard
You may have to give up a little bit of your consciousness to be a long-term blogger or content marketer. You may have to be eternally on your guard, collecting and jotting down ideas here and there, because they won’t always come at the most convenient moment.
When a couple of good ideas pop into your head, and you know you’d better write them down before they slip into Lethe’s waters:
- you may spend years hearing an inner voice randomly nag, “Oh! Gotta jot that down!”
- you may miss your boss praising your writing in front of your co-workers.
- you may not hear your spouse tell you how good you look since you’ve lost weight.
- you may turn to ask the man behind you for a pen, just as your daughter scores a goal.
That’s the potential price of being eternally on guard for ideas to turn into content. It may be too high for you. You may not want to live that way, even temporarily. If so, you may just chuck the whole be-on-your-guard thing and publish whatever self-promoting drivel occurs to you, since nobody ever got fired for toeing the company line.
But what cartoonist would dare do that?
photo credit: Kevin Dooley