December 28th, 2007


What will the new year bring? (LJ Idol)

The question is not really 'what will the new year bring?'

The new year will bring the same things that the old year brought: problems, solutions, politics, unrest, cruelty, kindness, relationships and failed relationships... they will be the same patterns as before, with different names and different places. There will be heartache and joy. There will be successes and failures. It is the weakness and beauty of our world that we will be tested and measured and rewarded, in nothing that feels like equal measure. The details, in the big picture, are trivial.

The point is not what the new year brings, it is what we bring to the new year.

I was looking back at my list of goals for 2007, and was disappointed in myself. There was a lot I wanted to do with my year, that I didn't. I struggled mightily getting several projects to print, and lost a lot of faith in my ability to manage my own business. I went back to work. I'm mired in one of the most crippling artistic wastelands I've ever suffered through. I've made more money with less effort in the last six months than I ever have before and it does nothing for my self esteem (though hey, it is paying off the house...). Printers failed at inopportune times. Computers crashed. Septics froze.

I did things to be proud of, too. I finished the anthology. I saw (with help!) another 12 issues of EMG-Zine out on time every month. I got another 2 coloring books out. I got Fantastic Portfolios up and running. I installed RUNNING HOT WATER, and a window and several household electrical components. I put out 3 calendars and added purses, soaps, lipbalms and costuming accessories to EMG. I got some amazing new work licensed. I may not have followed my 3-year trend of doubling sales (yes, that was 100% growth for three years in a row... and the year before that was 200%), but I did stay on top of orders and general business upkeep despite going back to work. And the job... I got decent freelance work within days of looking when we most needed it, and had a lucrative, stable job offer within 2 days of working. That's pretty impressive, really. I wrote a handful of short stories. I did a sparser handful of artwork.

The failures my year saw were based in three major things:

Things beyond my control. Things I could do nothing about, and coped with as best I could. Getting sick. Having printers drop the ball. Having my own printers break. The septic tank freezing.

Fear. I was afraid to do several things that would have helped the business, because I was afraid of failure. In all cases of getting the freelance work, I dawdled and waffled and was afraid to go out and look for it, so it took longer than it needed to. I let my fear cripple me at several key moments this year, and I know that it might have been a more successful year if I had set aside that terror and done what I knew I needed to do more swiftly. In every single case, when I swallowed my fear and did what needed to be done, it was painless (or at least, shortly over) and rewarding in the end.

Being negative. I was displeased when I went back through my livejournal to review what I'd done this year. I spent too much time talking and thinking about gossipy, silly things that hurt my feelings and slowed me down. I perceived the worst of innocuous things. I wallowed in my conviction of failure and saw my successes as concessions. I couldn't get past the idea that my inability to be great at what I was half-heartedly attempting to do was a flaw in myself. I obsessed over my lack of skill without actually attempting to remedy the problem with practice.

I can't know what 2008 will bring me. But I know what I intend to bring to 2008.

There will still be things outside of my control. People and things that I depend on will fail me. This is not a reflection of my own quality, and I will not allow it to slow me down more than necessary. I cannot say that I won't fear things, but by whatever gods you worship, I won't let that stop me or slow me. I'm not going to leave projects half-done because I am sure they will fail. I will be more appreciative of those folks who have been of great help, and not concentrate on those who haven't. My successes deserve as much attention as my failures, and I can learn from both.

Bring it on, 2008. I'm ready for you.