My trouble revolves around a creative person’s desire to create and then share those creations with the world. I caught the bug almost nine years ago when I published my first children’s book, which started me on a road of creating books, comics, prints, shirts, and games. It became addicting after a while, knowing that you can have an idea and then go out and make a final product. You end up doing conventions, author fairs, and anything else that puts you in contact with the public, just so you can share your creations and hear positive things about them from other folks. Unfortunately, you begin to realize that there is only so much time in the day and only so much energy you have.
Like others who live to create, sometimes you need to step back and evaluate what you are doing versus what you want to do. When I look at the John Graham of two years ago, I would call myself an author and idea man, but that is only a small part of what I am today. When I moved to Indianapolis almost two years ago, I knew this town was filled with talented people and lots of opportunity. I had the pleasure of meeting amazingly talented creators and interacting with them in a variety of forums. It only took a few weeks of being here before I realized that I wanted to help promote and network the creative people in this town. That was when my identity crisis began.
I created a small local convention called The INDYpendent Show, which featured local creators who wanted to educate others on how to reach their creative goals. I loved the unique concept and layout of the show, but I realized quickly that I couldn’t be “John Graham – Author” at my own show, there simply wasn’t time. Later, at the many conventions I attended in the area, I ran into a similar problem. When someone visited my table, I was trying to be a comic book creator, a children’s book author, a tshirt designer, a game creator, a creative services consultant, and also the promoter of the INDYpendent Show. This typically led to a cluttered table layout and immense confusion as people tried to figure out what my company name, FIGID Press, stood for. (For the record, it stands for Finally I Got It Done.)
My time at home was spent juggling my family, work, new creative projects, web design, social networking, and promotion. While I was able to juggle them all, I found out quickly that not one area could receive enough time to become something great. So I had to sit down and ask myself, “what is the most important thing in my creative life right now?”, and then give myself permission to take a break from the rest. Not an easy decision by any means and it’s taken me weeks to get here.
In the end, moving to Indianapolis has revealed to me that I greatly enjoy promoting and educating others so they can reach their goals and dreams. I love the look on someone’s face when they are learning that new trick about art or how to publish a book. I love seeing people with an idea and a goal finally reach it and show off their finished product. I love when people realize that they can do something they always thought was impossible. I love to watch people teach as much as I enjoy watching them learn and I love to create a place where that can be done.
With that realization, I’ve decided to say goodbye to “John Graham – Author, Publisher, Game Creator” for a while and focus on ways to create more opportunities Indianapolis creators to promote themselves and network with each other. Sure the INDYpendent Show is one avenue for this, but I feel like this city needs more events at libraries, schools, conventions, and other events that encourage the creative spirit. While I do have a couple of final writing projects to finish up this year, my main focus will soon shift to promoting the creative culture in Indianapolis and I will devote the time it takes to make it happen. I will be happy to help any organization in the area that wants to incorporate a comic-based learning portion into their show, event, or venue.
If you know of any organization or group that might need some help in creating an event, please feel free to give them my information. You can even refer to me as John Graham – the INDYpendent Show guy if you’d like. I promise that my author side will not be jealous any longer.
All the best!