Books · Comics

Herding Cats by Sarah Anderson: Cats, Plus Creativity in the Internet Age

I’ve been a fan of Sarah Anderson’s comics for a while now and I was so happy to see this new volume of her collected comics. Along with the giggle-inducing comics about cats and relationships and the life of an introvert, Anderson has a lot to say in this book about creating and, more specifically, about creating in the internet age, when EVERYONE has an opinion and an easy way to express it.

Creating is difficult enough, but knowing that it is so easy for someone to jump on your mistakes or even just something about your work that they don’t like, is SO intimidating to creatives. And while she focuses on encouraging new artists/writers, the truth is that us old-timers face the same trepidation. Maybe a bit less but it’s still true that with every word I write, I almost expect to be trolled. It’s the world we live in.

The nice thing about the way Anderson talks about it (and there are not only comics devoted to it, but an essay in the last part of the book as well) is that she doesn’t just give the usual advice to ignore it and roll on through. In the end that’s what we all ultimately have to do, but she recognizes that we go through this fear and the heartbreak that comes with someone ripping our work apart. And her recommendations are solid: keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing — which is because you love it. Because you can’t imagine NOT doing it. Find a support system of other creatives who’ll lift you up and let you rant, and then get back to creating. She doesn’t approach any of it as if being hurt by the anonymous people on the internet is some sort of weakness, but reminds us that it’s totally normal and that as creative people, we’re often more sensitive anyway. It’s part of who we are and it’s okay to feel those feelings… but then get back to work.

I loved this book. I would definitely buy it for any artist or writer in my life, especially those just starting to put themselves out there.

How to Support Sarah Anderson:

(Disclaimer: I received a review copy of Herding Cats on Netgalley. I also support her on Patreon.)

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