Crawling Into 2016


2015 was a year.

As has been the case for quite some time, the takeaway from it all is that I am ridiculously blessed.

You can insert “privileged” or “lucky” for “blessed,” if you’re so inclined. I’m not sure which applies more. All I know is I’m incredibly fortunate to find myself in a position of being able to support a family I love, with work I love. The silly little things I scribble onto paper seem to make an awful lot of people very, very happy, as well.

A mind-blowing position to be in, really, when you draw muskrats as badly as I do.

So, yes – blessed/privileged/lucky-as-heck. But, holy SPIT, 2015 was a tough year.

It started out with one of the craziest deadlines I’ve ever been given, when a major project I was told had been cancelled hadn’t actually been cancelled. I won’t go into the details here, as honest mistakes were made. Also, the Unnamed Project from Heck turned out fantastic.

Three other Large-to-Giant projects hit at the same time, along with some smaller ones.

Chinese New Year is important in the games industry, as that’s when projects need to be at press, if you want a shot of having them out by Summer convention season.

However, the games industry seems to collectively forget that Chinese New Year happens annually. This means that January and February hit the tabletop biz with all the calm, reasoned organization of, say, a chicken with its head cut off.

(I was on the verge of Googling “Chicken With Its Head Cut Off,” but realized – four letters in – what an awful, awful mistake that could be. There are things online you can never un-see, and I don’t trust the matrix when “Chicken” and “Head” are two of the search terms. “Cut Off”? That’s right up there, too).

I had to cancel a trip to Ireland, which was heartbreaking, but likely good for my liver, long-run-wise. On the plus side, I got to see Poland, Berlin, and Brazil. London was a working trip, but it allowed me to hang with my family. I hope to get to some more conventions in the UK, now that my Sister’s moved back, from Australia. LOOKING AT YOU, UK Games Expo and Dragonmeet!

The travel was brilliant but exhausting. That said, I still hit every work deadline I had, despite the swanky jet-setting life of Delta Economy Class (Motto: “The World’s Most Trussed – I’m Sorry, we meant “Trusted” – Airline”).

Getting hit with emergency gallbladder surgery, on the other hand, played havoc with deadlines later in the year. Fortunately, when you’re texting from the emergency room, your partners and clients and teams tend to be understanding.

Of course, the low point of 2015 was losing the best mother-in-law I could possibly imagine. That remains difficult for me to talk about, and still haunts me.

Because I have the greatest readers a Moderately-Creative Type Who Draws Unfortunate-Looking Muskrats could ever hope for, we were able to raise nearly $18,000 for two charities in 2015: The American Diabetes Society ($5,000 +) in May, and the Fair Share Coalition ($12,000 +) in October. Between them, I biked 120-odd miles…and one or two that were not so odd, and maybe even quite normal.

(I’m still working on getting the Bike the Barns pledge rewards off to press – my apologies on this. The gallbladder surgery pushed everything back further that I could have expected. It also played whack-a-mole with my workout schedule: I find myself needing to get back to the freaking gym before I blow up like a half-share of a bread-like-substance from “the Force Awakens.”)

Professionally, my biggest disappointment this year was pushing back the Kickstarter yet gain. What Kickstarter? I’m glad you asked. But I’m not telling. When it launches, I want everything about it to be complete, and ready to go to press. I think you’ll be excited, and I think it will be ready to go soon. But I also thought that last year.

Updating Dork Tower thrice weekly online was another major goal that never quite materialized – which is a kind way of saying “failed miserably.” Dork Tower makes me happy, and I need to prioritize it, right up there with “Munchkin.” There’s a whole blog post in this.

Yes, I did draw a kid’s picture book that I’m quite proud of this year. No, it has yet to find a publisher. But I’m not giving up, and I’ve more ideas. There’s a whole blog post in this, too.

I also need to write more blog posts. There’s a whole blog post in this, too, too.

Overall, I didn’t find nearly enough time for reading, writing, painting, painting minis, and gaming, in 2015. But I managed to find plenty of time to waste untold hours online. I’m not entirely sure, but these two things may be related.

There was more I failed to accomplish in 2015. But right now, I’m trying not to beat myself up too much about that. Well, apart from “Killing baby Hitler” thing, of course. I totally blew that one. That’s on me. My bad.

Things I need to do:

  • Read More
  • Write More
  • Relax More
  • Make Fewer Bullet-Point Lists. Wait. DAMMIT!

This week, I’m regrouping, relaxing, and reading. I’m planning and scheming.

2015 was an exhausting year. There were triumphs, but also loss. I’m tired, but I’m resting up. And regrouping.

I feel like I’m crawling into 2016. But at least I’m getting there.

Now it’s time to stand up again.

– John


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