How Do I Stay So Productive? A Peek Into My Bullet Journal

I’m in charge of a LOT of shit. From working a part-time side hustle (that sometimes works me full-time hours), to making comics for myself AND clients, to commissions and livestreams, I have a lot going on at any given time. And that’s not counting my volunteer work or recreational time. So how do I stay so productive?

Let’s take a peek into my bullet journal.

kelci crawford comic artist's bullet journal spread

I started keeping a full-on planner back in 2017. But the planner wasn’t as customizable as I wanted it to be. So for 2018 I got a Moleskin graph paper notebook and started keeping my planner that way.

I didn’t realize that what I was doing was, essentially, keeping a bullet journal…until I saw bullet journals on YouTube and Pinterest.

So I studied some layouts other people were making, sketched out some of my own, and put some of those layouts to use for 2019 in my new bullet journal.

Now, I opted for a BIG journal this year, because I wanted to see my full week in one two-page spread. I gauge my work by what I get done in a given week. This is because:

  • one week is more manageable at a glance than one month.
  • I tend to overestimate what I can do in one day but underestimate what can be done in a week. So I hacked that tendency and started going by the week rather than the day.
  • I have some side hustles that pay me by the week. So I structured a lot of things around those paydays.

Admittedly, it took a while to get to how I wanted to handle my week. But now I have a system that works.

Here’s what I do:

I make one column of all the objectives I want to accomplish in that week. (My week runs from Monday to Sunday. I keep Sunday as a rest day/day off AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE).

The remaining columns are dedicated to making my to-do lists for the days of the week. I used to use a grid system, but I like the columns better. Columns can keep things condensed, while also allowing for some days to be more productive than others.

I primarily use my bullet journal to track my to-do lists. My calendar and notebook are all digital. (But I DO need a new physical address book. My current one is too tiny for all the contacts I have.)

I DO NOT keep a calendar in my bullet journal. Some people do. I cannot. I use Google Calendar rather than using a bullet journal calendar and a digital one. When I had 2 calendars, I would accidentally double-book myself for work. And given how my schedule can change at the drop of a hat, a digital calendar is more customizable than a physical one.

That’s all for today!

Would you like to see more of my bullet journal? Want to talk about yours? Let me know in the comments. I love talking about productivity.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

LGBTQ Myths and Facts

This was written as an op-ed piece for submission to my local newspaper – which ran an article discussing how 3 West Virginia state lawmakers support and even endorse the idea that LGBTQ people are “the next Ku Klux Klan.”

It came to my attention that there are now 3 lawmakers in West Virginia who endorse the idea that the LGBTQ community is on the same level as the Ku Klux Klan.

So I thought it would be helpful to debunk some myths about the LGBTQ community.

Myth #1: “LGBTQ people are neo-Nazis!”

No.

It’s widely known that Nazis hated and persecuted Jewish people. Less well-known is that Nazis persecuted LGBTQ people, as well. Nazis would mark them with a badge bearing a pink triangle. Those with the pink triangle would be sent to concentration camps, just like the other “undesirables.”

Part of the reason the Pride flag has a pink stripe is to honor that history. Think of the POW MIA “You Are Not Forgotten” flag. That’s the same sentiment for why pink is in the Pride flag. It’s also a way for the LGBTQ community to reclaim the color pink as a positive color, not a color to be used to persecute them.

Myth #2: “LGBTQ people are terrorists like the Ku Klux Klan!”

No.

The Ku Klux Klan doesn’t just chase after black people, though that’s their most obvious target for their hate. The KKK is not a fan of LGBTQ people, because of their “sinfulness” and “perversion.” The KKK is an extremist Christian terrorist group. They takes the concept of “love thy neighbor as thyself” to mean “love the neighbor that’s most like me,” and to “correct” or eliminate anyone who does not fit their standard.

However, this leads to the next myth…

MYTH #3: “The LGBTQ community is violent!”

Are you talking about the Stonewall Riots of 1969? Because those riots were against a police force who had been actively targeting LGBTQ people, especially transgender folks, and shipping them off to prison for violating dress code laws. (Yes, dress code laws were a thing. Dress code laws were partially why women wearing pants was unheard of pre-1960.)

Nowadays, LGBTQ people are no more or less violent than the general population. But it is noteworthy that the most common defense for LGBTQ people accused of being violent is “self-defense.”

MYTH #4: “Political correctness is too rampant! That’s why gay perversion is allowed!”

Let’s make one thing clear: “politically correct” means to have actions and motives in line with whoever is in power at the time. Our current president has made it clear he does not tolerate LGBTQ people, by banning transgender troops from the military and repealing many laws that protect LGBTQ people from housing and job discrimination.

In this era, the politically correct thing to do is to discriminate, even hate, against the LGBTQ community because that’s the standard the President and Republicans in Congress have set. They are the ones in charge (for now).

So, if you want to be politically incorrect, and go against the people in charge, wave the Pride flag. Be friends with your lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender neighbors. And above all, don’t kick out your children who come out to you as one of these qualifiers. And don’t send them to conversion therapy, either. Conversion therapy is politically correct because that’s what the President and Republicans in Congress want.

What Does a KickStarter Scam Email Look Like? Well…

You come across a LOT of junk mail and bull-crap whenever you run a KickStarter campaign, whether it’s your first time or your tenth.

As it turns out, The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 is my tenth campaign on KickStarter. And, true to form, I’ve been getting messages from total strangers saying that they “can help boost this campaign to millions of people” and that they know “the best outlets to promote this KickStarter to” so I should “reply to this email ASAP to jump on this unique opportunity.”

But there was ONE email that I got recently that stood out to me… for all the wrong reasons.

First, this is not the first time this guy emailed me. He had sent a previous email starting with, “I get it. You’ve seen thousands of messages from people saying they can help your campaign” (which I have). But the difference was this NEW guy emailing me called himself “a guru in crowdfunding.”

Pro tip: never call yourself a guru of anything. You sound pretentious and it’s step number 1 of making sure I delete your email.

But shortly after that one, he sent me a NEW email.

Here, I’ll show you a screencap of this thing. Don’t worry, I’ll censor out the guy’s email, name, and face. Just pay attention to the email text:

In case you can’t see it, the email says, “we’ve chosen The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 as our weekly “what could this campaign be doing better?” round table discussion.”

Already off to a bad start. I know what I can do better. This is my TENTH campaign. And I already made the fixes before this dude sent me this message.

And he adds, “We choose one very lucky campaign and go through it top-to-bottom to see what you can do better.”

This is the most slimy sentence I’ve come across.

And I’m saying this as someone who’s sat through brutal art class critiques and read thousands of pages of copy other people have written to promote their work.

I’m saying this as someone who studied marketing and promotional materials during college AND after. That sentence is slimy.

Why is this sentence slimy? Because it is preying on the email recipient’s insecurity about their campaign.

Whether you’re running your first campaign or your hundredth, there will always be a bit of insecurity that you feel when you launch. Will this thumbnail stand out? Did I make enough rewards? Did I overprice one of these tiers? Etc.

That sentence in that email is designed to snag onto that insecurity and make the email recipient feel like they NEED help.

Trust me: you do not need help from a guy like this.

I’ve had better luck getting help from ComixLaunch, and I found that program to be very hit and miss for me. Again, I’ve run ten successful KickStarter campaigns, and The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 is looking to be my eleventh successful one.

Never trust a dude who would use sentences like that, no matter how professional or “well-meaning” the rest of the email sounds.

I hope this helps you if you’re looking to start crowdfunding – or even if it helps you spot similar emails in the future. I hope this blog post has helped you spot what kind of language to watch out for and what to avoid.

Best of luck to you, and thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Chaco Canyon, and Historical Preservation

Notre Dame cathedral in France caught on fire. And that got me thinking.

Specifically, it got me thinking about the importance of cultural preservation, how we got to caring about Notre Dame cathedral so much, and how we can carry that attitude moving forward.

We as an American/European culture got to caring about Notre Dame cathedral mostly because of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame – or, in the original French, “Notre Dame de Paris.”

Believe it or not, that book has nothing to do with the love “triangle” of Quasimodo, Esmerelda, and Frollo. That dynamic was more due to later interpretations and adaptations of the novel to the movie screen. (For more on that, check out this video by Lindsay Ellis if you haven’t already.)

No, the original book is a lengthy essay about the importance of architecture to a culture and how architecture outlives and outlasts the people who live around it.

So, if you ever read the book and wondered, like teenage-me did, why the characters are so unlikeable and why there are entire pages devoted to the flying buttresses… well, now you know.

In short, Victor Hugo’s book was written in an attempt to preserve Notre Dame cathedral at a point in time and history when cultural preservation wasn’t even a concept. Keep in mind, too, that when Hugo wrote the book, Notre Dame cathedral was practically a shell, having been looted and torn apart multiple times until he wrote “Notre Dame de Paris.” This book was written with the intent of telling people why this cultural edifice was so important, and urging people to restore it and preserve it.

I’m glad we now live in a world where historical and cultural preservation is a thing. And I’m glad to live in a world where the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral is considered a tragic event because of the historic significance of the landmark.

That said, don’t worry too much about Notre Dame Cathedral. Now, I’m saying this as an American Pagan and not a French Catholic. I’ve never seen the cathedral in person, and my only visual memory of it is the Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame Cathedral has the Catholic Church and the support of millions of Catholics around the world to restore it. Notre Dame cathedral will be fine.

My hope is that we remember the significance of cultural landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral, and we carry that attitude with us towards monuments and landmarks that are at risk.

Like, here in the United States, we have a lot of cultural parks at risk at the hands of our current government administration, who are more focused on resource extraction than on cultural or historic preservation.

As an example, let’s take a look at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. This site is not only a culturally significant site to MANY Native American tribes. It’s also the home of the oldest Pueblo ruins in the United States.

And the problem? The largest of those ruins, Pueblo Bonito, was excavated, but nearly half of it was buried again under a landslide. All of that work, and all of the artifacts left to excavate, was lost.

And my concern? Right now there are fossil fuel companies looking to build mines, or god forbid, go fracking, in the lands in and around Chaco Canyon. The earthquakes that those operations cause could bury more ruins and make us lose more history.

My hope? I hope we remember the example of Notre Dame Cathedral and we carry that momentum forward, to protect the cultural landmarks that contain our history.

Chaco Canyon and Notre Dame Cathedral mean different things, depending on your religious outlook. But they are both significant landmarks that have outlasted and outlived the peoples who originally built them. My hope is that we remember the significance of places like Chaco Canyon and we treat it with the same care and respect as we do Notre Dame.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. If you would like to find out more about Chaco Canyon, here’s their official website (if you have the means to, they also accept donations). And be sure to check out (and if you can, support) The National Park Service, the organization that protects sites like Chaco Canyon nationwide.

How Did the Patreon Pledge Drive Do?

patreon pledge drive patreon screencap

Last week I ran a pledge drive for Patreon.

If you don’t know what Patreon is, that’s ok: Patreon is an online subscription service that lets you support your favorite artists, often for as little as $1 a month.

To clarify: I have a Patreon page for the comics I write and illustrate under the Fantasyville Productions label. These comics include, but are not limited to:

  • Thoughtful Dinosaur
  • The Case of the Wendigo
  • and the upcoming The Legend of Jamie Roberts.

There’s a separate Patreon page for Validation and its related stories (including Mr. Dino & Friends, Roxie Comics, and Tiny Unicorn). That’s because the Validation comics are a collaborative effort with Christian Beranek and myself.

Funding for my Fantasyville Productions comics does not go to Validation, and Validation funding does not go to Fantasyville Productions comics.

I ran the Patreon pledge drive for my page (not Validation’s) because the comic shop I currently work at has cut my hours severely. Like, now I only work there 5 hours a week.

So I ran the Patreon pledge drive to see if a) I could get new patrons to b) help cover the lost income due to my hours getting cut.

The goal was to jump from $180 a month to $250 a month. My goal for the end of the year is to make $500 a month on Patreon alone, so to get to $250 by the half-year point would have gotten me closer to this goal.

By the end of the week, we went from $170 a month to $201 a month.

It didn’t make my goal, but it’s still not bad at all, especially for only having a pledge drive that lasted a week.

What surprised me more was the current patrons I had who increased their pledges – often by an extra $3 a month! That’s amazing!

We also got a new patron on board, which is marvelous, and so immensely helpful.

And so, with the combination of the new patron plus the increased pledges from current ones, we reached one of the Patreon goals listed on the page: at $200/month, I’m now going to draw a patron-exclusive The Case of the Wendigo desktop wallpaper!

Honestly, it’s just amazing that folks who love my comics were willing and able to chip in and help during this tough time. This will help make production of The Legend of Jamie Roberts go just that little bit smoother.

If you would like to pledge support, and help bring The Legend of Jamie Roberts to life, please check out my Patreon page. You can adjust or cancel your pledge at any time.

Even if you pledge $1 a month, you get to see behind-the-scenes development of the comics I do.

For example, here’s a post about Jamie and their two best friends; here’s another post about the dragon Norsa; and here’s a post about two gods in the Jamie Roberts universe, The Voice and The Messenger. These three posts were made free during the pledge drive, to give a taste of what rewards patrons can get for pledging support.

If you’re broke, that’s totally ok, because Patreon is optional. If you would rather make a one-time donation, there’s a Paypal donate button on the side of this website, or you can purchase a convention goody from my online store.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.