Rockwell Kent illustration from Moby Dick. Check out the Plattsburgh State University of New York collection of his work from the book. Stunning.
I like setting creative goals instead of making New Year’s resolutions. I feel I’m less likely to accomplish “resolutions.” But I do think it is a good time to take stock of the previous year. And rather than set resolutions, I like creating goals. Lots of goals. Sometimes creative goals change mid-year, and I can drop their pursuit without a care if needed.
For example, I’m sure many people resolved that January 1st was the date they were going to get healthy. I can’t make that a resolution. I became healthier due to heart surgery. I’m on a low sodium diet. I exercise. I have my blood chemistry monitored every 6 weeks. I get 7–8 hours of rest a night. So my goal for 2016 is to keep doing that. Keep making adjustments to my diet and exercise habits so I keep being alive. It’s not an option, so I feel like it’s a poor resolution for me. Resolutions take discipline. Goals are something you work towards.
Another popular resolution is to create something, like a book or a graphic novel. Again, I’m working on a graphic novel. And I’m in the early stages on three others.
2016 Creative Goals
I do have some creative goals for 2016. If I get one quarter of these accomplished, I will consider the year successful for me. If I only get one accomplished, I’ll still feel good. And I’ll re-adjust my expectations for the coming year. There is only so much one can do with all their other obligations in life. It’s important to remember that.
- Conventions. I’ve avoided going to conventions for many years now. But I miss seeing all my peers and friends in comics. And this year, I should actually have some work to show now that the ticker is fixed. I stopped tabling at conventions over 6 years ago because the costs were getting too high. But I may find a couple to target and just chalk it up to a marketing expense.
- Finish The Walk. I’m well underway on getting this done in the first quarter of 2016.
- Make mini-comics and collect them in an annual. I’ve been thinking about printing my own self-anthology. Is it weird that I’ve been getting stuck on what to call it? They all have cool names! Regardless, I’d like to make mini-comics again and collect them into a nice package at the end of the year.
- Webcomics again?! I think most cartoonists are figuring out that webcomics are a good way to keep your work out in the world. I thought about how many fans and friends I made when I was producing Drunk Elephant Comics. I miss that. Hell, I’ve even thought of reviving Drunk Elephant Comics. But I have an idea for an all-ages adventure comic that I would love to publish. It would take me just over 5 years to complete the story.
- Work for hire and/or collaboration. I’ve enjoyed my work-for-hire comic jobs, because I get an editor. I like collaboration. It might be fun to find more opportunities for me to work with others.
- Finish rough draft of graphic novel. I have another graphic novel that I’ve outlined twice and have under control finally. Now I just need to do a rough draft of it. I’d love to get that done this year. I was thinking about trying out Tumblr as a platform for publishing the final product. But you know Yahoo is going to sell that off along with everything else soon.
And now, one 2016 resolution.
Okay, I just made this big deal about how I don’t believe in resolutions. But I decided to make one this year:
Finish reading Moby Dick.
I’ve been reading Moby Dick for over 6 years now! Seriously. I started to read it on my first iPad when I downloaded an electronic ePub from Project Gutenberg for free. It’s hard to read a book like that on a screen, so I didn’t get far. And I kept not getting far for a few years. In 2013, I picked up a physical dead tree copy of the book and began reading in earnest. It’s great! I love this book. People complain that Melville goes on for chapters on obscure whaling processes. Guess what? I love that shit. But I’ll put the book down and forget about it for months. I read on average a book or two a month (not counting graphic novels, comics, magazines and the huge amount of text I read online). So it’s not like I have a reading problem.
Moby Dick has become my white whale. Right before I went under for surgery I thought, “well, I didn’t finish Moby Dick. Hey, that smells goooodddddzzzzzz.” I’m not letting this damn book beat me. The year 2016 will be the year I finish Moby Dick.