Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

Looking back at 2011...

2011 began... badly. 2010 was really hard, and a car accident late that year rattled loose a lot of old skeletons in my closet. I lost two friends in two weeks around Christmas, and in January, I was in weekly therapy trying to come to grips with my entire life. My primary stated goal for 2011 was:

My first, primary and most important goal for 2011 is to be happy. To make progress on me, and my mental state, to prioritize my various commitments and balance my life between business and creative energy and family and self. Balance is important, and I feel like I spun my wheels an awful lot in 2010 because I didn't have that.

It took until the end of March before I felt ready to move on, and the therapy was grueling, but necessary. I found myself again, and yes, was happy again. In that, 2011 can be nothing less than a resounding success.

I also made a few more specific goals:

  • I want to revise my novel and turn it into a cohesive complete draft. At this stage, I consider it version 0.5 - I'd like to get it to version 2, and start the hunt for an agent to represent it. - Oh. Hm. Well, I did figure out how to re-start the thing, but haven't spent any time doing so.
  • I want to continue to write plot-moving-forward stories for Torn World, though if I don't manage 52(!!) this year, I won't consider it a dead loss. Maybe say 20? That's still a lot of stories, and very attainable. - A big check here!
  • I do want a piece of artwork a month again, at least, so 12. Selling a few of them would be icing on my cake. - Another big check, though none of them are terribly impressive pieces, and some of them deviate a great deal from my usual style. I also get icing - I sold more artwork this year than I have in many previous years, though almost no prints or other products. (As expected, seeing as I've phased those out!) Many of the sales were small ($5-10), but they added up.
  • Revamp the EMG webpage to feature the work that's staying, add donation and funding pages, cut the dead weight and re-tool the contact, FAQ and such to catch up with the new improved gameplan. Better karma and credits integration. Maintain regular newsletters and updates, advertise and word-of-mouth more steadily. - A partial check here - the primary page got cleaned up, but the karma and credits are still underway. Regular newsletters - er... well, if you watch my journal you get all kinds of updates, but otherwise, I quite suck at it.
  • Expand my programming freelancing. The definition of 'expand' is flexible, but I want to carry my financial weight. - 'expand' did not happen. Work was scarce, though I picked up another client (who is currently in arrears on my invoices...) and signed up for a work webpage... I did the bare minimum that I needed to, which is not at all expanded and I don't feel particularly great about this. I was also rather distracted by my biggest news of the year for some of this time.
  • Publish the Arabian Nights coloring book, start collecting for the next one (dragons, maybe?). - Alas, folks did not step up for this one, and it ended up being canceled instead - I did publish a Torn World coloring book, and a private collection coloring book, so it wasn't a dead loss in that arena!

    In all? I'd say I got a B. Maybe a B+. Not shabby, but could use some improvement.

    I did feel generally less scattered, and spent some good time on many of my various projects and creative pursuits. Let's look in some detail...

    Sketch Fest:

  • Major fabulous improvements at the webpage: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfesthistory.php
  • Some major structural changes, including letting artists sell their sketch fest pieces at the site without donating 100% to the Sketch Fest site. I had qualms about doing this, because I have no control over what gets mailed to the client, but it's worked out well enough so far.
  • It has grown in popularity and become more automated!

    Torn World:

  • Torn World interview: http://sharedstoryworlds.com/2011/04/interview-with-ellen-million-creator-of-torn-world/
  • Torn World anthology: http://www.tornworld.net/familyties.php
  • Torn World coloring book: http://www.tornworld.net/coloringbooks.php
  • Sea Monster month in May was also great fun and a success.
  • Improvements at the webpage, including new fiction pages, new article structure, artwork linking various places (articles and artists, primarily), the sidebar on articles and fiction that shows related artwork and articles and browsing tools, the beta of the language database,
    character landing pages...


  • Completely changed business models here, and found enough support to actually turn the 'zine into a self-supporting project for 2012 - a big improvement over the money drain that it used to be! (Seriously, I figured I spent nearly $10K keeping it alive its first five years!)
  • Minor webpage improvements - particularly regarding artwork. Several hours of work are slated for this project, and I know exactly where they are going...

    Fantastic Portfolios:

  • Turned it over to Janet Chui, who has been updating and improving it!


    I got this up to beta-testing and stalled out trying to get people to use it and figure out how to make the next steps. I'm slightly dissatisfied with the current incarnation, but chewing on my knuckles over how to improve it. Without people nagging me to improve it, I have let it simmer back-burner without much attention since mid-year. Anyone who has donated to it and feels that my delay is unfair, let me know - I do intend to finish this up, but I do not have any ETA whatsoever at this point. I could sit down and tackle it in an inspired week... or it may languish another year.

    Portrait Adoption:

    I want to fan the flames of this project, but have simply not had the energy to. It used to be that I had about a portrait a day to approve. Now, a week may pass with no new portraits. A shame, because we've still got adoptions happening, folks! Submit portraits!

    Coloring Books:

    The Arabian Nights coloring book project was cancelled due to low submissions. Gardens and Goddesses was released, featuring Mitzi Sato-Wiuff. There is greater interest in the next coloring book theme: Fairy Tales.

    House Building:

  • Re-painted ALL floors
  • Bedroom - carpet! trim! closets! curtains! http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1226261.html (before trim and curtains!)
  • Nursery!!! From crazy-making, crowded studio, gutted, to actual finished room, complete with furnishings: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1256464.html
  • Flower bed: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1198544.html


  • 30 short stories for TW. Most of these are longer stories, active and plot intensive, which is a new challenge for me. Some of them, I'm REALLY happy with.
  • 1 co-written story for TW
  • 1 RTH story
  • 2 independent short stories (for EMG-Zine, and creative jam thingy)
  • 4 poems

    Finished artwork:

  • A World, Torn: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=260
  • Everberries 1: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=215
  • Everberries 2: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=233
  • Fala the Leader: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=213
  • Kin and Ink: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=248
  • Willow Mother painting: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestart.php?id=1897 (prophetic?)
  • On the Rocks: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestart.php?id=2145
  • Fairy Ring painting: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestart.php?id=3388
  • Trophy Mermaid ACEO: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestart.php?id=2863
  • Mermaid's Grotto: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestart.php?id=3776
  • Renovations ACEO: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestart.php?id=2864
  • Building Cities: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=216
  • Drawing on the Moon: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestart.php?id=3434
  • Whedon fanart: http://hotlink.ellenmilliongraphics.com/ellen/ceelove8.jpg
  • Life comic: http://hotlink.ellenmilliongraphics.com/ellen/02-firsts-sm.jpg
  • Skykitties: http://hotlink.ellenmilliongraphics.com/ellen/skykittens-ink.jpg (still need to do color!)

    Sketches and simple portraits:

  • A few PA pieces: http://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2355 - http://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2354 - http://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2356 - http://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2349 - http://portraitadoption.com/portrait.php?id=2344
  • Jularei: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=262
  • Lenarai: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=264
  • Ivara sketch: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=263
  • Trapped sketch: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=255
  • All of the 2011 sketches and speedpaintings (85, though a few were finished and are listed above): http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestartist.php?id=9
  • Sea Serpents: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=249
  • Drill Barnacles: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=243
  • Margaa: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=204
  • Jrilii: http://www.tornworld.net/artpageview.php?id=182


  • Approximately 150 abstract paintings (mostly ACEOs): http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/abstracts2-finishedabstracts.php and http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1216777.html

    Other not-creative things:

  • Did freelance programming enough to cover minimal household input. Other than about $1000 in unpaid invoices, it's been good.
  • Completed a hard, hard round of therapy and put many old demons to rest.
  • MADE A BABY. (Still in final baking stages)

    Seriously that last one is pretty major, and took up more than half my year. I still have trouble believing it, even when I look down and my huge, bellybutton-less stomach is doing a weird alien belly-wave. I'm growing a baby in there. It is so surreal and life-changing that I can hardly believe it. Of all the things I got done this year, this is the one that intimidates and awes me the most. I can't wait to meet my little Elsa-Guppy.

    (20 week ultrasound)

    I suspect my 2012 goals will largely revolve around MAKE BABY and SLAVE TO BABY, but I will try to put together something a little more coherent and comprehensive a little later. :)
  • Tags: emg, goals, lists

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