Iâ€™m well-known for making short stories long, so Iâ€™ll get to the point: I am completely burned out, creatively. This is probably the worst case of burn-out Iâ€™ve had since I started drawing the strip. I no longer have the drive to do the one thing Iâ€™ve wanted to do since I was five years old: draw cartoons. This both sickens and saddens me.
Sure, working a full-time job for the first time in over nine years, coupled with a two-hour round-trip commute each day, is a contributing factor, but this malaise is something that has been building for well over two years now, if Iâ€™m being honest with myself.
After much soul-searching, Iâ€™ve decided that I need to take a sabbatical. Priests get to take one after five years; I guess cartoonists get to take them after nine? Making comics should be bringing me (and you all) joy. I just need to step away for a while and find that joy, that spark, again. Maybe with MeatShield, maybe with something else. I need to take the time to figure that out, too.
Also, not for nothing, but Iâ€™ve been at this for 9 1/2 years. Despite my stubbornness, I havenâ€™t been able to make MeatShield profitable enough for it to be my full-time job. Iâ€™m not all about the money, but being able to keep your family fed and put a roof over their heads are important and valid concerns.
My sabbatical starts now – I apologize for doing so in the middle of a storyline. My tentative plan is to return on September 9, 2019, the ten-year anniversary of the strip. Thank you so much for the support youâ€™ve shown me for all or part of the last 9 1/2 years. Whether you discovered MeatShield nine years ago or nine days ago, your support as readers has really made a difference.
So bear with me during this time of recovery and exploration. Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing what bigger and better things are out there for me creatively, and I canâ€™t wait to share them with you.