Welcome to 2017. I spent Christmas and New Years Eve in bed with the flu, which gave me lots of time to consider my outlook for the year. Slightly before then, I’d already decided that I was going to give Oprah style positivity a chance. You know: envisioning success, being sincerely compassionate, inviting change. Given that my personality is naturally slanted toward pessimism, this mindset isn’t the easiest to attain for me. Still, when lost in my fever-haze and looking back over last year, I realized that most of my NYE 2016 resolutions, I actually completed.
I wanted to grow the series. I did that; new fans and readers galore. Sure, I’m not swimming in champagne and sleeping on a bed of hundred dollar bills, though I am paying a few of the bills with my work. As an artist that’s the baseline, I feel. After four years of racking up debt, it’s certainly a landmark being able to contribute again.
I wanted to stress less about my work. I worry about every word, colon, character and detail of my world. I used to lose sleep when writing a manuscript; voices in my head usually kept me awake. I’m one of those people who accumulates pressure, stress and negativity and effuses it slowly out of myself like steam. Unfortunately, there’s more negativity in the world than I can process through this strange detoxification, and often I’m left feeling disoriented and overwhelmed. Everyone has anxiety, I suppose, and there are aspects of our culture that actively encourage neurosis. What I worked on last year–through a combination of therapy, meditation and mindfulness–was raising my threshold for stress. I’ll never be a “calm” person, though I’ve come leaps and bounds with how I manage and react to negativity.
I wanted to be stronger, healthier and braver. Like many people, I became stuck in a loop with my good and bad habits; exercise, nutrition and hobbies became predictable. Last year, I shook everything up. Changed to a Paleo diet, grew a (tidy) beard, mixed up my leisure time so that I was spending more time with my partner and less doing isolated activities. Change is scary, and our bodies fight it, but in the end only good can come of challenging yourself.
I think that was the biggest lesson for 2016: comfort easily slides into complacency, and our mind shapes so much of who we are. Looking ahead, I see a year of further opportunities and changes. I’ll be keeping up with my mental and physical makeover. That damnable newsletter will finally see the light of day. In the summer, I’ll be heading to my first ComiCon to promote the series as well as getting back into the PR circuit. I think we’ll be taking another trip to Europe–I have some research to do for my first non-Geadhain work. I’m super excited about the Creative Collective and about helping out other artists; I already have the first post lined up. (I’m terrible at figuring out what to read, so having stuff sent to me is ideal!)
Really, the only failure in life is not trying. And I’m trying it all, as should you. The world needs more people moving and less of us sitting still, stewing in their worries, and drowning ourselves in negativity. It’s a bright and beautiful world, despite its dark corners. Let’s explore it together.
All my love,