Monthly Review: January 2014

One month down in the new year. How have things been going?

I’d already been intending to write a month-in-review post when Nicole Antoinette’s latest mailing list e-mail with her own one turned up, complete with a template for the rest of us to use. So, with a little cross-promotion for her web log, A Life Less Bullshit (can I say that on TV?), here’s my month in review done to her template:

Thinking back over the month of January, and looking ahead to February, I am…

proud of:

  • Picking up drawing again. It’s been great exercising my pencil hand again and making things fall out of it onto a blank piece of paper!
  • Making connections. I have a friend who’s interested in getting me on board with an endeavour of his. I don’t know how it’s going to go, but I’m curious to find out, and my friend is a good guy!
  • Trying capoeira out. It may not have caught on thanks to my complaining right arm and a realisation about what I was doing it for, but I still pushed myself outside my comfort zone!

glad I have lots of:

  • The love of my wife. We tread on each other’s toes at times (I do more treading than she does, usually by trying to avoid it) but it’s starting to sink in (yes, after thirteen years) that I can really be myself around her. And, as the capoeira episode revealed, it’s really great being with someone who knows me better than  I do!
  • Weekly Review CouchYard. It’s a pain to mow, but it’s lots of space for our dogs! Not only that, it’s great to sit in the easy chair in the entertainment area and journal!
  • Good people in my life. We were watching Death in Paradise last night, and the lead character, Richard Poole, ended the episode by talking about how much he’d come to appreciate his own company. While that’s something I need to work on a little, I find I tend to walk away from relationships a lot. I’m starting to actually appreciate the folks in my life a bit more.
  • Sunlight and fresh air, two of the bonuses of living where we do!

Note: I changed “grateful for” to “glad I have lots of” as I’m still unsure about this “gratitude” business; whenever someone mentions it, I keep flashing to Robert A. Heinlein’s words on the subject in Stranger in a Strange Land. Rather than resenting a debt, I’d prefer to be selfish in an enlightened manner.

letting go of:

(This one took me a bit to come up with an answer for. I’ve been slowly and steadily letting go of things like RPGs and computer games for a little while, so I didn’t think I’d really let go of anything new in January, until I remembered this:)

  • Trying to do everything at once. There’s that fear that I’m just not doing enough; that I need to be quicker, learning more, incorporating more things into my life – this month I’ve been taking it slow and steady with a couple of priorities and not expecting the hell out of the results. I’m too close to the work I’ve done to comment on its overall quality, but I definitely feel more sane as a result. I’m doing things without burning myself out on them, punishing myself with my new obsessions.

obsessed with:

(This also took me a while.  End of last year, it was Infinity and painting miniatures, but that went away toward the end of the year. I have a couple of things niggling at my attention but I wouldn’t have said I was full-on obsessed with them – until I realised:)

  • My first and only strip for the aborted "Fraser Road" web comic, created a little over twelve years ago.
    My first and only strip for the aborted “Fraser Road” web comic, created a little over twelve years ago.

    Drawing and comicing. I’ve been cramming time in on my lunch beaks and evenings to filling sketch pads and putting scripts into Scrivener, and I can’t wait to fiddle with a strip in GIMP again!

excited about:

  • Making more comics. I’ve set myself a goal of creating twenty strips by the end of the month as a see-if-I-can-do-it challenge and I occasionally think about doing more Bistrip style single-panel jobs after that first one.

committing to:

  • More enough. I still feel like I need more; need to do more, move more, learn more, earn more, get more. For February, I’m committing to starting the day by telling myself that I’m enough and everything else that happens today is a bonus. (This idea came from Joel Zaslovsky’s chat with Sarah Peck on Joel’s Smart and Simple Matters podcast.)
  • Asking people what they’re digging. This is another idea from that same podcast episode. I tried it last night with a family friend I don’t see often and found out some interesting stuff about him – I knew he had tattoos but didn’t realise he was getting into drawing them on others (and himself) – he’s pretty damned good! I want to be more outgoing this month, embrace the discomfort of getting to know other people (yes, you extroverts out there, interpersonal relationships can be uncomfortable for some). It’ll also give me the chance to share more about what I’m doing!
  • Twenty strips by the end of February. As above; this is my way of finding out whether I can really embrace the discomfort of creating new strips on a regular basis, a requirement for a web comic serious about building an audience. I don’t mind if I fall a little short, but even if I miss the mark slightly, I’ll have a better idea of whether I have what it takes.

What about you?

Thinking back over the month of January, and looking ahead to February, what are you…

  • proud of?
  • glad you have lots of?
  • letting go of?
  • obsessed with?
  • excited about?
  • committing to?


A Life Less Bullshit

Smart and Simple Matters, Episode #33 – Positive Addictions and UNdefining Yourself with Sarah Peck

Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein- Wikipedia entry

You can have everything you want, and you will never be enough. – Sarah Peck