Spare Keys for Strange Doors
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The Long Version


First off, 'Keep Digging' has been the most emotionally draining Spare Keys story I've worked on, by a wide margin. It has changed a lot during its creation, it deals with things that I have very strong feelings about, I have worried about it throughout, and it was, without a doubt, the worst story for me to be working on during the pandemic. I thought about quitting numerous times, but in the end I didn't feel able to walk away from the characters in the middle of the story it was important to me to see it through to the end. Still, making it has been an exhausting experience.

Leaving aside this particular story, creating the comic to a weekly (or biweekly) deadline has been grinding me down for a long time. Over the years, it has become increasingly hard to fit it around everything else in my life, while still giving myself enough time to have breaks. I've finally admitted to myself that it just doesn't work for me any more.

I want to take some time to step back from the whole thing, have a long rest, and then figure out if I want to carry on at all, and if so how I might best do that. I do still have stories I would like to tell, so I like to think I will come back to it. But before I do that, I need to find a way to enjoy it again, because right now it feels like work.

HOWEVER.

Before I put Spare Keys to bed, I really, really want to make a book. After making webcomics for sixteen years, I'd love to finally see one of them in print.

I did try working on this at the same time as doing pages, briefly made progress, and then completely went to bits. Instead, I've decided to work on the book once I'm no longer updating the comic, with the goal of running a Kickstarter in Feb / March next year. It's not ideal, as I know people will stop checking the site so often once I stop updating with comic pages, but it's the best plan I've got, so I'm going to run with it.

In order to keep the site active, and to keep motivating myself, I'm going to post progress updates over the book-making period, with whatever won't take too much energy away from making the actual book. I've already asked for some help from SpiderForest friends, so I'll have a few guest art pieces from them, but if any of you would like to send me anything as well, I would really appreciate it! Obviously I will link your websites and / or social media if you would like me to.

I've set a deadline of 9th December, as that's when I'll be posting my first progress update, but as this is going to be going on for a while, then it's fine if you want to send me something later than that!

I'm sorry to drop all of this on everyone. It's taken a long time for me to come to this decision, but it probably seems rather sudden from your point of view, as I don't like to talk much about where I am with the comic, I'd much rather you just enjoy the story. But now I have made the decision, I wanted to give you a proper explanation, and to let you all know what my plans are.

Thank you so much for all your support; to everyone reading, and lurking, and commenting it has meant so much to me, and the fact that so many of you engaged with this story gave me a lot of motivation to finish it, despite the difficulties!

Thank you also to all of my Patreon patrons what can I say, you guys are great; I really appreciated having a bit of money coming in, and knowing that I could pay for some of the supplies I needed through the comic itself like, for instance, the copy of Affinity Publisher that I've been using to work on the book! I'll be keeping the Patreon running to help cover any other expenditures I might have in the next few months, and then hiatusing all payments after the Kickstarter.

You are all awesome, and I really do hope that one day I will be able to bring you more stories.

All content © Lucy Lyall. All rights reserved.