JohnRamblings
2013 in Review Part I: Bright Shiny Objects (OR, “I Was a Teenage Stretch-Goal”)

NewYearCarson2013 will go down – for me, at any rate – as the year my distraction by Bright, Shiny Objects reached Critical Mass.

If the year were a short story, it’d be titled “I Was a Teenage Stretch-Goal.” If I were to tweet about it, I’d end up spending a good hour or two between TwitterFacebook and Tumblr, and clicking through various links and listicles before getting around to the actual tweet itself…if I remembered to get to it at all, that is.

There was a lot of travel, these last few months. Some expected, some unexpected. As always, there were the usual new opportunities popping up, as well – most of them sparkly and challenging and exciting.

Looking back on 2013, it all added up to a year where I forgot what my goals were meant to be, and where my energies should have been focused.

To be fair I don’t regret a single Kickstarter I was asked to help with or join in on. Indeed, many of them stretched my creative muscles in new and wonderful ways, and I’m proud to have helped on each and every one of them. It’s always an thrill to be asked to contribute a little something to a project by someone you admire (and often a friend).

The problem is, “little things” add up. Quickly. And in 2013, I found my own projects – the comics, the books, the writing – not simply pushed to the back burner, but wrapped in Saran-Wrap, and thrown in the freezer.

Munchkin, thank goodness, proved to be a bright spot of my work year.

I was able to keep Munchkin prioritized, and for good reason. I’ve always felt both honored and lucky as hell to be part of the Munchkin crew. And while technically, Munchkin isn’t one of “my” projects (it’s fully owned by Steve Jackson Games), I’ve been made to feel like a full stakeholder in it by Steve, Phil and Andrew. As a result, every time a new Munchkin projects lands in my in-box, it gets priority over everything, and I try my darndest to make sure that the new art I’m assigned will be the best I can do, and will be better than anything I’ve done before.

MuncLegends

Finally, my work became legendary!

Another bright spot: thanks to the shepherding of business Manager Monica, and the great folks over at Cryptozoic, my game ROFL! was released this year. I’m awfully proud of the game, and the reviews have been amazing.

But everything else? Dork Tower? Dr. Blink? Kids’ books I’ve been working on? Getting sketches and cards and coloring books out to backers of a couple of charity projects? M making new toys? Writing new scripts?

Not good.

Things are going to change. But the main change has to be within myself, and how I deal with distractions, both professionally and personally.

As far as my work is concerned, I want 2014 to move in some very different directions than did 2013. There are some big, fun things planned, and some announcements to be made that I think folks will love.

Blaming the distractions – the travel, the Kickstarters, the Bright, Shiny Objects – for my lack of focus these last six months would be like blaming the iceberg for the Titanic. I had plenty of opportunities to avoid it, but in the end, the fault falls squarely on my shoulders.

Pardon me for getting bit introspective, here, but I think it’s needed.

I know I can do better, and I will.

John

Next: 2013 in Review II – Setting things right

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