Accomplishments are great about 99% of the time but for me, my accomplishments of 2016 seem (like the rest of the year) shitty.
I published a book. I think that’s great. I think publishing a book is amazing. I got it funded successfully on Kickstarter and brought together artists and writers from around the globe. Now it’s sinking in and we’re making our royalty checks and I can’t help but think “This isn’t as cool as I had hoped it would be.”
Crows on Heartstrings was great, but I could have researched my story more, I could have paid another editor to look over the book just five more times on top of the countless number of reads went into it as it was. I could have done so much more but I didn’t and now I can’t focus on anything but those things. I don’t feel like I rushed Crows, but I feel like now that I’ve done it, I would go about it differently. So now I have this book that is successful on so many different levels that you might want to look at it, and I feel… unfulfilled. Like I didn’t do the best I could. And maybe that’s just a symptom of being naive and making all the first mistakes I needed to make.
If it doesn’t bring you joy, don’t do it.
I got into the BJD hobby this year. If you know nothing about BJD’s it stands for Ball Jointed Dolls. They’re made of resin and are limited run casts of art dolls. They’re not like barbies or action figures. They are 100% customizable works of art. Some people may say they’re weird, because dolls are weird right? But what I ended up doing, and what most collectors end up doing, is I made them into my characters from all the books I was working on. In doing this, I was able to flesh out characters and see them better. In doing this, I decided to scrap my Archer and the Lust Boys project. But the characters and some story elements didn’t die.
BJDs helped me see that on a broader spectrum, if I wrote about what I loved instead of what I felt I owed my characters, I could make some kind of fantasy masterpiece.
All the characters from my worlds fit nicely into one single Urban Fantasy/Alternate history world. They all exist on the same plane now. Archer and the Lust Boys still exist and are an integral part of the story, but they’re no longer boring teenagers who don’t do ver much as far as external plot is concerned.
I am focusing on world religion. I took art history as a minor in university and I loved learning about the religion and cultures that produced works of art I loved so much. I don’t want to spoil anything about the project I’m working on now, mainly because I am still in the research phase of it and anything I say now is likely to change, but I’m happy. I’m researching. I’m researching things that I love and find interesting. I might not be ready to write this first book until next year, but when I do it will be a well mapped out and researched world and I’m proud of myself for having realized that I needed to improve my world-building. It seems so stupid now, for me to say, “yeah I rushed the world building” I just feel so stupid about that.
While I research, I am creating more traditional art. I realized I wanted to draw characters and illustrate because I admired so man illustrators. But I’m not an illustrator. I’m an abstract artist. I’m a fine artist. So my two main focuses are that. I am working on creating more original abstract pieces and expanding my skills as an artist. I am also working on sculpting my own dolls, because I’ve always wanted to make dolls and the more I fall into this BJD hobby, the more I feel like this is what I was meant to do.
2016 helped me reprioritize my life and realize what I was doing for me and what I was doing because I thought I had to.
I will start posting more blogs, but they might not be writing related. They might just be art updates and commission updates. I definitely won’t be doing illustration anymore.
My point is that I was doing all of these things that vaguely lead me to this place and when I sat down to think about what I wanted to do, it all clicked. I am so excited to work on all the things I’ve got planned now. Everything I’m doing excites me.