Email Newsletters Are On Hiatus

So I HAD an email newsletter. The service I used was MailChimp.

I logged in this morning, thinking, “Hey, I should delete the unsubscribers from my contacts. That should improve the open rate on my emails.” So I go to the menu showing all of my subscribers, including unsubscribes and bounces. I go to check the box to select the unsubscribes on the page shown to me.

Little did I know: clicking the “select all” button selected ALL of my contacts, not just the unsubscribes shown on screen.

And, well, all of my contacts got deleted.

Active, inactive, and unsubscribed people – all gone.

THREE YEARS OF WORK. GONE.

Due to a clunky mechanic through my email newsletter service, I have permanently deleted all of my subscribers.

I can’t contact support to fix this because I was on the free member plan. Tech support is only available for people who pay for a monthly plan.

There is no way to get them back on again. So I have to start over. From scratch.

And I’m going to start over with a different email client.

Please bear with me as I get this fixed.

Words cannot describe how disappointed and angry I am at this.

September Convention Reviews in 1 Paragraph or Less

Let’s get right to it!

WEST VIRGINIA POP CULTURE CON

They changed the dates this year and that affected attendance HARD. Had a great time, saw cool peeps, and got to hang out with table buddies whom I would totally have a corner booth with again. Also, corner booths are where it’s at.

8/10, PLEASE get the old dates back!

SMALL PRESS EXPO

HOLY BANANA PANTS a dream come true for me. Had the best table neighbor and assistant, KickStarter gave me incredible freebies, and everyone was AWESOME. But got a case of the con crud after.

11/10, sales were worth the sickness. Wanna’ go again.

FLAMING RIVER CON

Oh good lord I can’t sum up my feelings about this show in a short paragraph. I need a full-on review.

Spoilers: it was emotional chaos.

I can’t number this/10, most likely not going back next year, sorry.

PARKERSBURG POP CON

While tables were REALLY affordable at this show, low attendance was a concern. At least I shared a table with Ben Wright-Heuman again, and our table neighbor helped out by lending me an extra card table for the event.

meh/10, I might actually skip this next year. We’ll see.

That’s all for now! Next I’ll review Youngstown Indie Creator Expo, which is happening this Saturday, Oct. 5.

Thanks for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Is Drawing Everyday a Good Goal to Have?

gouache finger painting sketch of an english garden

I used to have the goal of drawing one page in my sketchbook every day. But is drawing everyday a good goal for me to have?

I thought it was the best way to keep my skills sharp, to build material to put into books, and develop story ideas.

But here’s the thing:

I couldn’t draw one page in my sketchbook everyday. Because LIFE happens.

I had a habit tracker all set up in my bullet journal, and when I looked back on the year so far, I discovered something. When it was a convention weekend, or on days when I was backed up on studio work, I did NOT draw a page in my sketchbook that day.

And you know something? I used to beat myself up over that.

Until I decided to let it go.

I made this decision during my vacation in Philadelphia earlier this month. While I was on vacation, I realized that a lot of daily habits I was holding myself to were hurting more than helping.

And one of those habits was forcing myself to draw everyday.

So, I stopped.

And the funny thing is: now I can’t stop drawing!

When I was forcing myself to draw everyday, I was beginning to resent it. It was like a chore.

Now that drawing everyday isn’t a requirement, I can fill up my sketchbook with whatever I want, whenever I want.

Will this stop me from doing Inktober – the artist challenge of making a new ink drawing everyday? Heck no. I still have every intent of participating in Inktober.

But that’s because I WANT to. Not because of an obligation or a habit tracker making me do it.

That’s just me though! What has helped you with your creative practice? Is drawing everyday a good goal for you? Or is it something else? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Designing a Print for RathaCon, Step 1: Sketching the Ideas

RathaCon is an Athens, OH-based pop culture con that’s been running successfully for 8 years. This year they’re running a KickStarter to give special passes and rewards to convention goers.

I offered to draw a limited-edition, KickStarter-exclusive print themed around RathaCon. And they REALLY liked this idea.

So I sketched out the following two ideas and sent these to the crew, asking, “What do you think?”

Of course, if they have a hard time deciding, they could pitch it to KickStarter backers and ask for their feedback.

I do this with everyone I collaborate with, no matter if it’s a comic strip I’m paid for, or a logo I’m designing pro-bono for a non-profit. I sketch out the ideas I have, send them over, and ask, “Eh? Thoughts?”

I’ll be sharing the progress of this project as it develops.

Usually, posts like this are shared only with patrons on Patreon(unless there’s a contract saying not to). I’m making the progress of the RathaCon print public so you can get a taste of what patrons on Patreon get to see. Of course, they see more projects in progress than the general public does.

If you’re interested in seeing more behind-the-scenes progress on art, go to my Patreon page and pledge. You can change or cancel your pledge amount at any time, and it’s totally optional. (But the option to support gets you goodies and helps me make more art.)

Stay tuned as this print gets made!

What I Accomplished in 2018

This is going to be a 2-part blog series. Part 1 – today – is about what I accomplished this year. Part 2 will be about what I plan to get done next year, in 2019.

So I had a list. Like everybody else, I wanted to get everything on the list done. That said, I’m happy that at least half of it was accomplished. I’ll get into why the entire thing wasn’t complete by the end of the post.

The purple circles next to the entries are for comics/business related goals. The green circles indicate personal goals of mine.

I can tell you right now the reasons that “Get a passport” and “Pay off at least one student loan” weren’t accomplished.

A) The student loan goal wasn’t accomplished because my student loans are federal. In one package. The package has a breakdown of, like, 6 loans. But my repayment plan is set so that one payment splits among all the loans. I tried to negotiate it to do otherwise, but the loan servicer wouldn’t let me. To do that would have necessitated changing the repayment plan, which I couldn’t do until the very end of this year.

B) I have the money saved back for a passport. HOWEVER, there’s a metric ass-ton of paperwork involved to get one. One of the documents you need is your original birth certificate. Not a copy. Already this is a pain in the ass for me, because my birth certificate is on THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE COUNTRY. Thanks, dad, for being in the military when I was born.

All that said, Let’s talk about what WAS accomplished, in chronological order.

JANUARY: Start Roth IRA

This was top of my list for one reason only: I opened the wrong type of IRA last year. Aspiration is a great company, but right now they only have Traditional IRAs.

(The difference between a Traditional and Roth IRA can be found in this post. No, it won’t freeze your brain.)

So I opened a Roth IRA with Fidelity. I also got an Acorns account, but that’s a different ball of wax.

MARCH/APRIL: Make $500 in sales at a convention

Thank you to the peeps at Awesome Con for making THIS goal happen!

Awesome Con this year was the last weekend of March, going into April 1. This was my first convention in over 5 years with an attendance of over 70,000 people. So I was nervous.

I wrote a lot more about the experience of Awesome Con in this post if you would like to read it.

MAY: Edit The Legend of Jamie Roberts to Completion

I have this day marked specifically in my bullet journal: May 30, 2018. That’s the day I wrote the outline for the final draft of The Legend of Jamie Roberts.

Up until the outline, I combed through the first 5 to 7 chapters and fixed a LOT of things. Did I comb through the story after Chapter 9? Well, I didn’t feel it was necessary to.

Why? Because as long as I have the outline in hand, the story is set. It’s not entirely set in stone, to allow for some creative wiggle room. Because present day me will not be the same as me 5 years from now. And this comic is going to be updating online for YEARS.

That said, I wanted to write down the trajectory of the story and how it will end. That’s what the outline is for. And I’m glad I wrote it.

AUGUST: Paid Off Credit Card.

I got myself into credit card debt last year for one altruistic but dumb reason. I was making donations to political and social causes and thinking, “I can pay this off soon!”

Only I didn’t.

So I stopped making donations… though you couldn’t tell with the amount of mail I get from organizations asking me to donate to them.

The other problem, too, was that, at a certain point, I was charging reprints of my books onto my credit card. While shows like Awesome Con were a hit (and paid off the charges), other shows like Put-N-Play were flops that drained my money.

So I got aggressive. I adopted zero-sum budgeting and managed to pay off over $3000 in 6 months.

My last credit card payment was on my birthday, August 24. And I was SO FREAKING HAPPY.

Now I only use that credit card for my phone bill. Nothing else.

I did pull a potentially risky move and got a second credit card. But the new card I got is more in line with my goals. It has no interest for the first 15 months of using it, and it’s a cash back card. So far I’ve only been using it for everyday purchases (groceries and gas) and paying it off at the end of the month. The cast back I get? I put into my savings.

I do also use this new card for business purposes. In fact, I would rather have this card be for business use. However, I only purchase things if I have the money in the bank to pay it off ASAP.

NOVEMBER: Finish Writing Auxaton’s Story

I didn’t announce this, but I DID take part in National Novel Writing Month. I kept it low-key because I had just wrapped up Inktober and started a KickStarter to get the sketches into a book. (That KickStarter ended up running twice, because it failed the first time. I’ll talk about that in a future post.)

National Novel Writing Month encourages participants to write a totally new idea. But I broke that “rule” to rewrite Auxaton’s story. I had written the first draft a few years ago and wrote myself into a corner. I wanted to start over again. So I did.

Holy dang was it an emotional roller coaster! While writing it, I laughed. I cried (a lot). I had revelations. I wrote EVERYTHING down. I made the 50,000 word goal by Day 22.

In the end, the novel ended up with 74,079 words.

I don’t plan on touching it again for a long while. I want the story to sit there until I can look at it again with an editorial eye, not a sentimental one.

After I wrapped up writing the story, I realized two things:

1) I like writing in the mornings for an hour. It gets the creative juices flowing.

2) Inspiration is like a cat: it wants your attention when you’re at your busiest. So just keep working.

???: Make Appearances at 3 Comic Shops

I feel like I fudged this one. Not all of the stores I appeared at this year were comic shops. I also didn’t specify if these shops had to be new to me.

So… most of the comic shop appearances I made were at New Dimension Comics locations. Though I DID make an appearance at Half Price Books in Reynoldsburg, OH on August 18. There was also a visit paid to The Big Idea Bookstore in Pittsburgh on June 23. I talked about that a bit in this post because it was the same weekend as Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh.

???: Learn 3 new recipes and cook them regularly.

Truth be told: I started this year not knowing how to cook hardly anything. I wanted to learn to cook because I was tired of spending money on Subway and other places that made food for me. I wanted to learn how to make things myself, dangit!

Some of the recipes I learned this year (that I still cook) include:

  • Chicken and Apple Curry (I made an infographic about this one)
  • Potato Soup
  • Easy Risotto
  • Easy Dirty Rice
  • Chili
  • Shrimp Fried Rice (thanks to the Mealime app)

I also perfected cooking chicken, fried potatoes, French toast, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, and ground beef.

All this made me realize: I LOVE COOKING. I love making food using SCIENCE. Plus, if done right, recipes like slow-cooker recipes can last really Mc-Freaking-Long.

CONCLUSION:

Why didn’t I get the entire list accomplished? Because looking back on it, I was keeping track of the wrong things.

Up until my October vacation to New Mexico, my daily tracking regarded… the food I ate. I wasn’t tracking pages written or other relevant metrics on a daily basis like I should have. I fixed this in November, but by then, it was too late to wrap up the entire list.

Keeping track of the food I ate DID help in some regards. It helped me realize that I was getting lactose intolerant with age. Plus it helped me keep track of when/if leftovers from my cooked dishes were going bad.

But next year, I’m going to be doing daily metrics specific to my goals for the year.

How about you? What were your goals for 2018? Did you end up accomplishing them? What lead you to succeed, or not succeed? I’d love to hear about it.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.