How do creators switch off their brains?

Plus Star Wars: The High Republic - Saber for Hire #1 hits comic stores!

How do creators switch off their brains?

Hello there!

Anyone who read my recent roundup of favourite podcasts will know I looove Ashcan Press's Ideas Don't Bleed where Matthew Rosenbery and the Supple Boiz (don't ask, it's an entire thing) chat to fellow comic creators. Every episode is a treasure trove of advice and insights into the entire comic writing experience, although I particularly enjoyed the recent discussion with author and comic writer, Alex Segura.

‎Ideas Don’t Bleed: IDEAS DON’T BLEED episode seventy-four | Alex Segura, part two on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Ideas Don’t Bleed, Ep IDEAS DON’T BLEED episode seventy-four | Alex Segura, part two - 12 Feb 2024

During the chat, Matt admitted that he'd hit a point in his professional life where:

"I need to find the thing that turns my brain off, because, yeah, anxiety and stress."

I get this. Boy, do I get it. This happens when your hobby (comics, Jedi, monsters, horror) becomes your job. This is, obviously, a very good thing. A literal dream come true, in fact, but it does bring a frustrating side-effect.

It's 6pm. You've been working all day on comics, Jedi, monsters and horror and are ready to kick off your size nines and relax. So what to do? Read comics? Watch films featuring Jedi? Or monsters? Or both? Maybe you pick up a horror novel instead? It doesn't matter, to be honest, because your brain IMMEDIATELY GOES INTO WORK MODE!

It can't help itself, the stupid little cluster of annoying grey cells.

"Oh hey, he's watching monsters. We like monsters. But how does this monster work? Has it any clever new lore? Have the creators subverted any tropes? Ooh, why did they make that decision? Or that? Or THAT?! What if they'd gone another way?

Image: Sinando via Canva pro

Oh, and while we're at it, let's obsess about the monster you wrote today. Was it as good as this monster? Could you learn anything from how they structured this movie? Or that last speech? Or the title! It's a good title! Is the title on your next pitch okay? Should you brainstorm some alternatives? In fact, why don't we analyse every decision you made in the pitch document and, while we're at it go over that other project. You know, the one you don't actually have to think about until Thursday, but it's fine, you can think about it now because YOU MUST NEVER STOP WORKING!!!

See what I mean? It's virtually impossible to switch off. It's exhausting.

Stupid, stupid brain.

In the episode, Matt describes the solution he's discovered, his foolproof way for switching off:

"I realised the thing for me is movies that I know like the back of my hand. I can throw on Star Wars or the Departed or Chungking Express and... I'm not analyzing them and tearing them apart, because I did that a decade ago. I'm just taking them in as a fan passively."

It's a great idea, and one I've tried with varying levels of success, although I still find myself thinking about work, breaking scenes down and obsessing over character choices. Because stupid brain.

But it's okay, I have my own way to switch off...

Bristol City Football Club.

Match days are my time to slip my brain into neutral, especially for the 90 minutes I'm standing on the terraces shouting at the players / ref / linesmen / other fans. From the first to the last whistle, I am 100% focused on the pitch. No comics. No jedi. No monsters. No horror. (Other than City's inability to score more goals than the opposition!)

Absolute bliss.

I'd love to hear what other creators do to switch off? What hobbies do you have? How do you put your brain in neutral? Let me know in the comments!

Out today! Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures - Saber for Hire!

Ty Yorrick is back! My latest Star Wars: The High Republic mini-series hits the shelves and, best of all, it sees me back working with artist Rachael Stott.

If you've never experienced Ty, she first appeared in my novel The Rising Storm. Ty Yorrick is a former Padawan who left the Order before she could be knighted as a Jedi, becoming first a mercenary and then a monster hunter!

(Please see above for mentions of how my brain works. Jedi and monsters are never far away!)

She doesn't suffer fools gladly, is hot-headed to the point of recklessness and emotionally... well, to be honest emotionally she's a hot-mess.

Saber for Hire is set in the Occlusion Zone, the vast area of Republic space annexed by Marchion Ro and his ferocious Nihil, the villains of our High Republic era. Ty is having a ball, earning credits by slaughtering monsters and smashing Nihil scav-droids whenever she has a chance. She has no responsibilities and no Jedi breathing down her neck.

But she does have a squire who thinks he should be her padawan... and a mission on the horizon that will have her troubled past finally catching up with her.

Want to see some pages? Of course, you do!

Here's Kip and Jom, two lovers also first introduced in The Rising Storm:

And where would a monster hunter be without a big ol' monster:

Eagle-eyed fans may recognize that tentacled nightmare. It's inspired by concept art designed for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith by Sang Jun Lee.

In the comic, we give it a name - a Trilark!

It would be great if you could head to your friendly neighbourhood comic store today to pick up Star Wars: The High Republic AdventuresSaber for Hire #1.

You can find your local store by visiting Comic Shop Locator or popping over to Dark Horse Comic's Saber for Hire page!

Ask me anything!

We just have time for a quick question, submitted via my Ask Me Anything form.

Subscriber Issac Harding wants to know:

My copy of Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space - The Cold says that Tom Huddleston wrote the book, but I've seen you credited with writing it as well. Did you write it together? Or did you ghost write it for Tom? I'm so confused!

Don't be confused, Issac! The US edition of The Cold does indeed credit Tom as the book's author, but that was a printing error!

Here is the original UK cover with my name where it should be!

Speaking about Tom, he recently popped up on the Star Wars Book Community podcast to talk about writing the Adventures in Wild Space series with me. You can listen to it here, and also check out the previous episode where Tom discussed his recent book, The Worlds of Dune!

‎Star Wars Book Community Podcast: Canon Catch Up - Adventures in Wild Space on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Star Wars Book Community Podcast, Ep Canon Catch Up - Adventures in Wild Space - 2 Apr 2024

That's all for now, but don't forget to:

a) let me know how you switch your brain off.

b) buy Star Wars: The High Republic - Saber for Hire #1.

c) Send me more questions.

Until next time, look after yourself and each other!

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