Escaping Solomon’s Paradox and Writing Comics

Whether you’re a writer, artist, entrepreneur, or simply someone who finds themselves giving great advice but struggling to take it, Solomon’s Paradox is a phenomenon that affects us all. In this post, I’ll be exploring what Solomon’s Paradox is, how it impacts comic book writers like myself, and most importantly, how we can all learn to escape its clutches.

What is Solomon’s Paradox?

Solomon’s Paradox refers to the observation that we often have an easier time giving wise advice to others than applying that same wisdom to our own lives. The name comes from the biblical King Solomon, who was known for his wisdom but struggled to make wise decisions in his personal life.

According to the paradox, when we give others advice, we are much more able to be objective and honest. But when considering our own problems, that’s rarely the case. We often make excuses and/or look for ways to ignore the hard truths about what needs to be done.

Sound familar?

Solomon’s Paradox and Writing Comics

As a comic book writer, I face a unique challenge when it comes to Solomon’s Paradox. Over the years, I’ve offered plenty of advice to fellow creatives:

Write a little each day, it compounds. Done is better than perfect. And so on.

However, I often struggle to apply those same insights to my own creative process, leading to writer’s block, self-doubt, or difficulty in making crucial decisions about my characters and plots.

Becoming Your Own Manager

To escape Solomon’s Paradox, I try to approach my own work as if I were an outside observer, specifically a manager.

Let me explain.

In his book “Principles,” Ray Dalio emphasizes the importance of being your own manager. He encourages individuals to take control of their personal and professional lives by setting clear goals, making thoughtful decisions, and continuously learning and adapting.

Dalio believes that by acting as your own manager, you can develop a stronger sense of responsibility, accountability, and self-awareness. This principle involves regularly assessing your strengths and weaknesses, seeking feedback from others, and making necessary adjustments to improve your performance. By taking ownership of your life and managing yourself effectively, you can increase your chances of success and fulfillment in both your personal and professional endeavors.

5 Ways to Beat Solomon’s Paradox for Comic Book Writers

By stepping back and examining my writing from a manager’s perspective, I can gain clarity and make more objective decisions. Here are some tips that I use and recommend to fellow writers:

  1. Set clear writing goals: Establish specific, measurable, and time-bound goals for your comic book writing projects. This could include deadlines for script completion, character development milestones, or the number of pages you aim to write each week. What was the deadline? Did you meet it?
  2. Conduct regular self-assessments: Periodically evaluate your writing skills, storytelling abilities, and creative growth. Identify areas where you excel and aspects that need improvement. Use this self-awareness to focus on enhancing your strengths and addressing your weaknesses.
  3. Seek feedback from trusted sources: Share your work with fellow writers, editors, or beta readers to gain valuable insights and constructive criticism. Be open to their feedback and use it to refine your writing and storytelling techniques. Remember that feedback is essential for personal and professional development.
  4. Continuously learn and adapt: Stay updated with the latest trends, techniques, and best practices in comic book writing. Attend workshops, read books on the craft, and participate in online communities to expand your knowledge and skills. Embrace a growth mindset and be willing to experiment with new ideas and approaches in your writing.
  5. Manage your time and resources effectively: Create a structured schedule for your writing projects, balancing your creative work with other responsibilities. Prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency, and allocate your time and energy accordingly. Be proactive in managing your deadlines, collaborations, and professional relationships to ensure a smooth and efficient writing process.

By implementing these strategies, you can take control of your comic book writing career, improve your craft, and increase your chances of success in the industry. Remember, being your own manager requires discipline, self-reflection, and a commitment to continuous growth and improvement.

Beyond Comics

I believe that the solution to Solomon’s Paradox isn’t limited to comic book writers. Anyone in a creative or decision-making role can benefit from taking a manager’s perspective on their work. Whether you’re a novelist, artist, entrepreneur, or manager, try to step back and view your challenges through the lens of a manager.

“How would a manager rate my output and performance?”

Ask yourself, “How would a manager rate my output and performance?”

By doing so, you may find that the wisdom you so readily share with others can also guide you in your own endeavors.

Final Thoughts

Solomon’s Paradox is a common struggle that I face as a comic book writer, but by learning to view my own work from a manager’s perspective, I can overcome it. For creators in all fields, this shift in mindset can lead to greater clarity, creativity, and success. So, the next time you find yourself stuck, remember to step back and ask yourself, “What would I advise someone else in this situation?” The answer may just surprise you.

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Frank Gogol is a San Francisco-based comic book writer. He is the writer of Dead End Kids (2019), GRIEF (2018), No Heroine (2020), Dead End Kids: The Suburban Job (2021), and Unborn (2021) as well as his work on the Power Rangers franchise.

Gogol’s first book, GRIEF, was nominated for the Ringo Award for Best Anthology in 2019. Gogol and his second book, Dead End Kids, were named Best Writer and Best New Series of 2019, respectively, by the Independent Creator Awards.