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Creativity-Portal.com Creative Careers in the Arts Series
David Duggins Interview : Page 2

'Spacesuits and Sixguns' Publisher David Duggins

continued from page 1

Q: What helps to recharge your creative batteries? How do you stay juicy and full of fresh ideas?

A: Live consciously. Be awake. There's a lot of stuff going on. When's the last time you were 100% aware of your drive to work? Most of us don't even remember how we got there. Check it out — something is going on that will reward your attention, and something different will reward your attention every day.

Here's a little exercise: for the next sixty seconds, try to be consciously aware of everything that is going on around you. Open your senses and let it all flood in — every sight, sound, smell and sensation. If you do this successfully, when that minute is over, you will be completely exhausted. Life is so full. There is so much going on. We spend most of our lives aware of only about 5% of it.

Q: Can you discuss the experience of starting your own online magazine? What inspired you to create "Spacesuits and Sixguns"?

A: I was laid up after the car accident — arm in a cast, legs bashed. I couldn't write. I couldn't drive. I was pretty stuck. My wife said, "you need to find something meaningful to do with your time." She didn't say because you're driving me crazy, but she didn't really need to.

When I drew a blank trying to figure out what to do, she filled that in, too. "You've always said you wanted to start your own magazine," she said. "You need two hands to write, but you don't need two hands to read, do you?"

I put up guidelines at popular resource websites and started getting stories three days later. I've always loved pulp fiction, so I knew that's what I was going to publish. I try to freshen the approach by keeping it contemporary (but I'm about to break that rule in #3).

Q: What are the challenges you faced? What are some of the rewarding aspects of working in this field?

A: Putting together a magazine is expensive. There is very little precedent for monetizing this kind of content. People are used to web content being free. Each issue has cost around $750, so in a sense it's still not a business. The coaching side of the house pays for it. But I absolutely love doing it, so I'll figure something out.

That's really the only challenge, and it isn't a big one. I just haven't focused on it yet. The rest of it is all fun. I'm the editor, layout designer, publisher and content provider. All those jobs are fun. There is not one aspect of this that bores me — nothing I would farm out to somebody else if I could. It's easy and fun because I expect that. I meet wonderful, talented people every day — mostly via email, but those contacts are enriching and inspirational. My life is filled with amazing people because of the work I do.

Q: As you look to the future, what are your goals and dreams? Where do you want to be in ten years? Would you like to discuss any special upcoming projects you have planned?

A: I want to grow Voidgunner Press into a specialty house with a fiction imprint and a secondary imprint that sells high-quality coffee table art books featuring the artists I publish in Spacesuits and Sixguns. I have a couple of other web businesses I'll be growing in the next year. I've been a musician and composer for years as well, and I'm working on music for a new CD. I have a novel and a short story anthology to publish. Lots of irons in the fire.

Q: If you could travel through time to pay a visit to your thirteen-year-old self, what type of advice would you give your younger self?

A: Keep doing what you're doing. You're going to turn into a pretty cool grownup.

Q: What makes you smile, shine, and glow inside?

A: The look on a person's face when they begin to realize what they're really capable of. I was getting my teeth cleaned a couple of months ago and told the dental tech what I do. She got really excited and said that she had gone to school for graphic arts and had always wanted to get a job as an artist. I said, "so why don't you?" Her mother had given her the old "get a real job" spiel, and she'd bought it.

I asked her if she loved being a dental tech. She said no. She liked it, but she really wanted to draw. She just wasn't sure she could make any money at it. I told her she could not only make money at it, but make a career of it — a very lucrative career that would support a very comfortable lifestyle. I told her she could do enough research to get her portfolio together and start prospecting within thirty days. I gave her some ideas about setting up a plan, daily goals to help her get to the big goal.

I don't think anyone had ever said, "Yes, you can," to her, but once I'd given her some idea of how to go about it, she lit up like a candle and said, "thank you." I went back a few weeks later for a follow-up, and she was gone. Off to grab the dream. That's great. I live for that.

Q: Who forms your support system? Many creative souls would be lost without the help of family, friends, and other writers and artists. This is your chance to give a shout out to those special folks who have helped make your dreams come true!

A: My eternally patient, long-suffering wife, April, who puts up with my creative temperament. My two sons, Matthew and Kieran, and my daughter, Gemma, who love their daddy unconditionally even though he's a little weird. My brothers, Kevin and Jeff, who have provided everything from simple tolerance to monetary support over the years. And my great friend Keith Lambert, who gave me the best support a friend can give when he said, "you deserve it."

Q: When did you first discover that this is the type of work you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

A: I made a little book for a fifth grade English project. I wrote it, illustrated it and bound it together somehow — with twine, I think. In a way, that book was the spiritual birth of both my writing career and Spacesuits and Sixguns. All that from a class project. Who knew?

Connect with Dave Duggins

Dave's online pulp fiction magazine, Spacesuits and Sixguns, can be found at www.spacesuitsandsixguns.com. He also blogs at www.daveduggins.com, where you'll find plenty of writing encouragement and advice.

© 2007 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »

7/23/07