What I Want to Do in 2021

I think we can all agree that we’re SO HAPPY to leave 2020. Granted, the first week of January’s been a hot mess, too. I chalk that up to 2020’s final gasps of desperation, like the attention gremlin it is.

With 2020 out of the way

What’s Next?

This year, I’m going to have a theme for the year, not resolutions.

For me, the theme for 2021 is GROWTH. I want to grow my book catalog, my minicomic collection, and a LOT more. And I want to grow into new subjects and mediums.

To get there, I decided to play with numerology. I set 5 separate goals, because 2+0+2+1=5. And in those goals, I intend on making 5 things. Let me illustrate:

GOAL 1: Make 5 New Craft Pieces

I’ve been getting more hands-on this past year. But that also means unfinished craft projects. So I want to finish some crochet, sewing, and scrapbooking projects that have stuck around for too dang long.

GOAL 2: Release 5 New Minicomics

Funny story; a few weeks ago, I followed up with Quimby’s, whom I sell on consignment with. As I made minicomics to send to them for restocking their shelves, I realized something…

The stuff they wanted restocks for were over 5 years old.

My art has changed in the last 5 years. And I want my minicomics to reflect that growth. Also, there’s some story ideas and art tools that would work better in short form, rather than in graphic novels or novellas.

GOAL 3: Make 5 New 11×17 inch (or Larger) Prints

Real talk…I’ve been writing a lot more prose in 2020. But the art bug keeps biting me with those stories. These stories don’t want to be told as comics, though, so I’m going to draw select scenes and moments as large prints.

Also I have colored pencils and watercolors that I REALLY want to use to make more art. So these prints would be a good candidate for those. (Who knows? Maybe I’ll make some minicomics with these tools, too.)

GOAL 4: Release 5 New Books

This book count includes my own books, PLUS Sean’s book and a comics anthology project I’ve joined recently. I just really want Fantasyville Productions to grow its foundation of authors and creatives! And the world needs BOOKS!

GOAL 5: Make 5 Videos on YouTube

NO, NOT LIVESTREAMS. Livestreams are fun, but they don’t count for this goal.

Instead, I want to grow into making animatics and short animations. And since I’ve joined TikTok recently, I may even make compilation videos of some of my own TikToks and post them on YouTube. (btw follow me on TikTok at kelcidc.)

“This is a lot of making stuff,” you might be thinking. “Why not have your theme be ‘Make’?”

Because I want to grow into new mediums, subject matter, and topics and challenges this year. Making things is the vehicle to grow into those challenges.

Will things get uncomfortable on the journey? I guarantee it. When trying out new things, there’s always discomfort. But I look forward to the challenge. After the trials of 2020, I look forward to seeing what this year will do.

Since this is a LOT of stuff I want to make, I’ll be blogging and posting on social media more often. So stay tuned for more updates!

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

You. Are. Awesome.

I (Kinda) Made My 2020 Goals!

Weird, right?! In a year that needs no explanation for the dumpster fire that it is…I actually made my goals!

Kind of.

Every year, I blog about the goals from the past year, followed by the goals in mind for the year incoming. If you’d like to see the original post about 2020 goals, here it is.

But just what WERE my goals for 2020?

Thumbnail/Script The Legend of Jamie Roberts to completion.

Ok, so I didn’t get all 20 (ish) chapters sketched out. BUT, I DID get 10 and a half. I even managed to script through some REALLY tricky plot points, so I consider that a success!

That said – moving to a new home did cut into my scripting routine. And it was hard to jump back after that. I have since learned to be a LOT kinder to myself with goals of “do this thing every day.”

Get Sean’s Book Published

So the book is ALMOST ready to get to print. I’m working with my editor on the final round of edits for these short stories.

This goal took a while to get off the ground properly because I wanted to hire an outside editor. I didn’t have the time to do edits, because of working with NeverEnding, making The Legend of Jamie Roberts, and taking up part-time gigs with DoorDash and Instacart.

ALL OF THAT, plus my first editor just…dropped off the face of the earth. And the second one did NOT do a good job.

The third editor? I went to my old college friend Melanie Doan to work with Sean and me on edits. Holy banana pants she knocked it out of the park!

Like I said, we’re doing the final passes. The goal post for publishing kept moving, so I’m not making any promises for when this book will go to KickStarter.

Read 1 New Comic Per Week

Well, to be honest, I shut down the Indie Comics Hub – the biggest reason I set this goal. That said, if we expand this to reading more books generally, then 2020 was my best year so far.

By Dec 31, 2020, I read 23 books, including graphic novels. However, I did not count single-issue comics, zines, or minicomics in that count. If I did, it’d probably be double that. Possibly triple? It’s hard to say.

Unfortunately, moving to a new home played a role in this, too. I had to leave behind my single-issue comics and a large chunk of my zines because they just. Couldn’t. Fit. In the Truck.

But 23 books? And untold numbers of single-issue comics and zines? I’d say that’s pretty good. Better than 2019, at least.

So what’s in store for 2021? Well, I’m going to write about that next post.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

Life Without Facebook (So Far)

It has been exactly 2 months since I deactivated my Facebook account and deleted the business page for my art. And I’m going to talk a bit about my life without Facebook (so far).

For one thing, I am WAY less stressed about politics.

Facebook makes it very easy to see political opinions alongside cat videos. There is no separation of fun from calls to anger (or action). Why Facebook is so upsetting with political posts is because it’s the easiest way to discover that your close friends or family don’t hold the same opinions that you do – and they aren’t willing to change their mind about it. And the trap that Facebook sets up is the idea that you can talk with the other person in an effort to change their mind.

Speaking as someone who worked at a doctor’s office that quickly became a drug addiction clinic, I can tell you THIS surprising truth I learned:

The Venn diagram of people who are addicted to drugs, and people who hold racist/white supremacist beliefs, is only one centimeter off from a complete circle.

And unfortunately, on Facebook, I saw a lot of people who defended their beliefs with the same fervor as people who were addicted to drugs. The person thought they were in complete control over their addiction/feelings. The truth is, they aren’t. The drugs/feelings are controlling them. And voices of disagreement against them trigger a defensive response. Because the person addicted to their beliefs doesn’t want to admit that their emotions are controlling them. They don’t want to admit that they have a problem, because they think they don’t have one.

The sad truth is: you need to treat people who are stuck in certain beliefs the same way that you treat drug addicts. And that is: they have to admit that there is a problem first.

Until the addict admits that there is a problem, they will just continue going downhill.

To me, Facebook as a platform, and the people who use that platform, are going that route.

I’m glad I left when I did. Since I’m not on Facebook (or Twitter!) anymore, I’ve developed a more…realistic view of things. To me, that means that my understanding of things come from real life, not some apocalyptic think-piece someone posted at 3 am on Facebook. Gods I do NOT miss those.

I also don’t miss my posts being ignored by the algorithm.

Being on Instagram means that I’m still subject to the whims of a Facebook-esque algorithm, but in general, more people on Instagram are following me for the art I post. I may also get an account on TikTok, but I’ve seen news pieces talking about how the platform may get banned because it’s Chinese. So who the f*ck knows.

Thankfully, since I left Facebook, I’m not constantly being asked to spend ad money to promote a post to the audience that I ALREADY have.

However, I can’t run Instagram ads. Running ads on Instagram requires a Facebook account. Which I don’t have anymore.

So, with that said, I’ll have to get more creative with my promotions and outreach. I have yet to decide whether or not to return to Twitter. Gods I hope I don’t have to.

I still have an email newsletter though! And right now, that’s the best “social media” platform to stay in touch. If you’re not on it yet, you can sign up for free. I don’t give your email to anybody because that’s shady as heck. (Ok, soft plug done).

Also, in the meantime, I’ll be posting more often on the blog here. I’m playing with the idea of writing a new blog post every day. Just personal posts – no attempts at the traditional blog posts like my Writing for Comics or Freelance Lifestyle posts. I’m retiring those. I’ve written all I want to write for those topics anyway.

So yeah!

In short – I’m glad I left Facebook. I’m happier and more balanced. It’s also making me more creative in how I do outreach for my business.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

The Freelance Lifestyle – What Jobs to Pursue

Today for The Freelance Lifestyle, I’m going to give an honest take on what kinds of jobs you should pursue – especially if you’re freelancing for the first time.

For the first time freelancer, it can be tempting (or even encouraged) to take the first job that comes your way. For folks like me who have been freelancing for a few years, you get a better sense of what to say “yes” or “no” to.

I hope that in this blog post, you can learn from some mistakes I’ve made, so you can avoid really shifty, shady, or downright nasty clients.

Trust Your Gut.

Your logic brain will tell you to take any job you can get because “it’s money.”

But if there’s something about the potential client that makes you raise eyebrows, pay attention to that.

Pay attention to these signs if you’re unsure about a gig:

  1. Does the client use language that makes your spider sense tingle? For me, that looks like anyone who makes sexist jokes, or talks about Christian topics in really uncomfortable ways. My primary audience is the exact opposite of these people. So if a potential client is using language that my primary audience would NEVER use, I note that.
  2. Does the client use an obscene amount of emojis? I’m not knocking against emoji use. However, I’m encouraging you to spot any communication from your potential client that’s less than professional. Especially if you feel that it’s detrimental.
  3. Does this client have a digital presence that’s easy to find? Some clients will share their website or social media link with you. THIS IS GOOD. Some potential clients may not provide this information, even if you ask for it. THIS IS SHADY. Do your due diligence and go to Google. Cross-check them. If the search results come up with something weird or unsavory, voice that concern.
  4. Does this client balk at the idea of signing a contract YOU wrote? If you don’t know how to write a contract that protects you and a client, I wrote a post a long while ago about how to do it. There’s also some good templates through the Artist and Graphic Designer’s Market.

If you wrote a contract, and the potential client doesn’t want to sign it or even READ it, make note of that. A good client will ask clarifying questions before signing anything.

If I missed something, or if you still have questions, let me know in the comments. I’m happy to help.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

The Freelance Lifestyle – How to Keep a Client

In this installment of The Freelance LifeStyle, let’s talk about how to keep a client.

If you want to know how to GET clients, here’s last week’s post revealing my mind-bogglingly simple techniques.

So, now that you’ve used those techniques, you’re ready to keep clients!

Here’s how you go from portfolio to satisfied co-creator:

Be honest – let the potential client know if you have other commitments.

This is so you can let the client know that you and them will BOTH need to strike a balance between availability and actually working on the project. To this end, let the potential client know when they can reasonably expect you to deliver something. This is not the time for aspirational declarations.

I know – this flies WILDLY in the face of most freelancer aspirations of “set a deadline and then deliver the project early” or “deliver the project with extra bells and whistles a few days before the deadline!”

You are a human. And this is life. Things get in the way. Let your client know when that happens. Which leads to:

Keep that honesty in your communications.

I don’t care if you’re talking to your clients through email, phone, or Facebook messenger. Be honest with your potential client in the medium of your choosing (that means no sarcastic or meme-y remarks).

Do you have to share EVERYTHING that’s happening? No. Your client probably doesn’t need (or want) to know about your cat choking on a ballpoint pen cap before being eaten by a mutant boa constrictor. But if you are in a state of grief, just say, “Hey, things are really rough right now because my pet died.” You don’t have to go into details. Keep it simple.

Good clients will understand if you’re having an off day. Or an off week. (If they don’t get it, maybe don’t work with them any further. Just a heads up.)

Check in regularly.

“Regularly” can mean once a day, or once every couple of days, or once a week. As long as it’s consistent and NOT spam, that’s what matters. Don’t just drop off the face of the earth while working. (And clients, this goes for you, too. I’ve known a few clients who have just dropped off the face of the earth.)

Check-ins can look like whatever you need it to. Just keep up the communication.

Actually deliver what you promised.

You know that thing the client asked you to make? DO THAT THING.

Use whatever work flow method works for you. Pomodoro technique? Kanban board? A checklist? Use what works FOR YOU. (If you need ideas for how to structure your workflow, try one of Thomas Frank’s videos on YouTube. He does good beginner videos on productivity).

And as much as humanly possible – do NOT put the work off until the last minute.

“But I work better if I -”

No you don’t. You THINK you do, but you don’t. I have two sisters who are known stubborn procrastinators and I am the token sibling that turns work in early. I KNOW THE EXCUSES. They are just that: excuses.

You will make better work if you actually DO the work, one step at a time, one day at a time.

I tried procrastinating ONCE, in college – I pulled an all-nighter to make a painting that was due the next day. And I STILL didn’t finish it. It would have been better if I worked on that painting for even five or ten minutes a day for the week leading up to the due date.

Learn from that mistake.

Alright, I’ll end it here before this post gets any longer. If you have questions, leave them in the comments for me.

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

You. Are. Awesome.