Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms are such a powerful tool for artists, musicians, filmmakers and creatives of all kinds. It’s truly changed the game for those who want to share their unique point of view, further an important cause or just plain give something unique and wonderful to the world.
But for someone who has anxiety, like Howie, running a Kickstarter is also a terribly stressful experience.
Don’t get me wrong. He absolutely values and appreciates the opportunities Kickstarter affords him to self-publish his comics. And after two successful campaigns that have enabled him to produce enough copies of his Tara Normal graphic novel series to last a lifetime, he knows perfectly well that he’s capable of doing it. But still, every single time he hits that launch button, it’s like standing on the edge of a cliff, trying to use your arms to balance so you don’t fall over the precipice. He just can’t help it. The anxiety takes over and all he can think about is whether he’s going to be able to make this happen one more time.
I remember the first one. It was maddening to me. Watching him toil for weeks leading up to it. Deciding on the donation packages. Worrying about what goal to set to ensure he can produce the book, while still being able to meet it. Over and over again, he asks my option on the same things. My answer doesn’t change because I know the decisions he’s made are good ones. But anxiety keeps telling him to second guess himself. It’s like self-inflicted punishment, because he knows what it will do to him, but he does it repeatedly anyways.
Moment of truth.
After all the worrying over the setup, then he launches and a whole new wave of panic rolls in. “Will my fans and friends support me?” He feels the pledges aren’t going fast enough. He can’t stand the wait, even though it’s only been a few hours. That first time was just horrific. I told him he had to stop checking in every hour and just walk away. All he was doing was feeding the panic.
Within the first week, it was funded. THANK GOD. I honestly don’t know how long he could have gone on in a state of complete nervousness. I thought to myself, “that was rough. There’s no way he’s going to want to go through this again. There’s no way I want to go through this again.” Two days after the first one ended, he turned to me and said, “Let’s figure out the lessons here so we can make the next one even better.”
Method in the madness.
So you see, anxiety can be sexy and seductive, just like how Howie personifies it in Float. No matter what it puts him through, he’s ready to go back and do it again. The value of Kickstarter is so powerful, it doesn’t matter what it does to him host the campaign. What matters is the work. He’s willing to go through hell and duke it out with the anxiety because it’s important enough to him to keep creating.