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Setting Your #MakeComics Goals for 2012

| January 9, 2012 | 6 Comments

As promised, it’s time to get serious and talk about goals for 2012.

In last week’s column, I talked about my thought process on handling coming up short on previous year’s goals.  This year, I’ll be revising some of the goals in the past, and setting new ones.  So, let’s get right too it, andset some goals for the year that is already upon us.  But first, a reminder of the keys to effective goal setting.

Effective Goals:

  • Matter to you – This is your life.  Your goals need to be YOURS.  Not your parents’, friends’, your collaborators’, etc.  As you set a goal, ask yourself why it’s important to YOU.  Seriously, for every goal you are considering, write a few sentences that tell the WHY?  Why does this goal matter?  What positive change will it evoke in your life?  If you can’t articulate this, move on to something else.
  • Are Specific – The more specific you can be about your goal, the better chance you have at achieving it.  It’s very tough to hit the bullseye on a dartboard when wearing fogged up glasses.  Always err on the side of more specific than less with your goals. For example, “lose weight” is an awful goal, because it gives no measure of quantity. Triple my network, a goal from last year, wasn’t as good a goal as it could of been because I didn’t have a clear vision of what the size of my network was currently, and what “triple” would look like. When your goals are too vague, determining appropriate action steps become difficult.  So paint as clear a picture as possible of success.
  • Are Measurable – The only way to know whether or not you’ve achieved your goal is if there is a way to measure it.  The most common goal or resolution of 2012 is to “improve my finances.”  Guess what?  That is an awful goal. No, not because improving one’s personal balance sheet, or getting one’s budget under control is not a good idea.  It is.  But “improve my finances” is not specific, and it’s not measurable.  “Become a better writer” is another poorly constructed goal.  How are you going to measure that?  You can’t.  So rather than find yourself at the end of the year with nebulous results on an unclear goal, stick a stake in the ground on something measurable.
  • Have a Time Limit – The difference between goals and dreams is that goals have a time frame attached.  Setting a time frame will keep your goals realistic, and allow you to pace your action steps needed to achieve that goal on a calendar.
  • Are Put in Writing – There is a power to putting things in writing.  Getting goals out of your head and onto paper makes it more likely you’ll achieve them.  Publically stating your goals declares your intentions to the universe, and can help attract the support you need to make them a reality.  Posting your goals places where you will consistently review them helps you stay focused towards achieving them.
  • Are Reflected on EVERY SINGLE DAY.  NEW for 2012! One of the reasons I fell short on my 2011 goals, was because other things came up.  Other goals were set, other non-essential tasks filled up my to-do lists.  That’s going to happen.  But the way you stop yourself from abandoning your goals is by including time in your day, EVERY DAY, to reflect on them.  This might just be a quiet minute of reflection.  Or more effectively, a journaling exercise of writing down every single day a few sentences about what steps you took that day to move closer to your goal. This is a great way to never lose focus on your goals, and something I’m trying in 2012.  I’m using the Seth Godin/Zig Zigler PICK FOUR system to do it. Check it out if you need something extra to keep you honest and on track this year.
“What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination.- Zig Zigler  

My #Makecomics Goals for 2012

Another year wiser (let’s hope), I’ve thought long and hard about what I should state as my comics goals for 2012.  Now, the PICK FOUR method mentioned above is going to stress that we limit our focus to fewer goals, ones that really matter, and do a nice mix of short and long term goals.  The fact is, I have a number of non-comic related goals this year that will be taking up some time and focus (getting married this year will do that to a fellow.)  So, here they are:

  1. Sell 1000 comic books with my name on them.
  2. Connect with five comics influencers.  
  3. Start writing and drawing a new webcomic OGN project.

So, there they are, goals for 2012.  Now, a word about each.

Goal 1- I haven’t tallied it all up yet for 2011, but it was definitely a record setting year for my comic sales.  Just THE RED TEN is closing in on 500 copies sold, and we’re still expanding into new retail locations.  However, I think I’ve more or less hit the ceiling on sales from conventions alone.  Fact is, I’m not going to double or triple my con appearances this year. What I am going to do engage the direct market, which will hopefully let me hit four digit sales for the first time.

Goal 2 – Comics is a small pond.  There are people that it pays to know in this industry.  Connections are how business gets done.  So, I’m working on a list of people in comics I’d like to connect with, and will be actively working, by hook or crook, to establish relationships with folks on that list.  Now, that’s not to say I won’t be open to expanding my network outside the list.  Of course I will!  I just think I need to be a little more proactive about making connections with folks who might give me some insight on furthering my career.  You can never know too many people in this business.

Goal 3 – I got the itch, man.  Now, it hasn’t broken out into full-blown hives, but I’m starting to feel the call to get back to the grind of sequentials of my own.  I’ll be replicating the process I did for OVER, where I first write out the entire script, do several drafts based on feedback, and don’t draw a single page until I’m happy I have a tale worth telling.  So, it’ll probably be Q3 or Q4 before the script is ready for me.  But I’m really looking forward to drawing pages and serializing them online again!

 

So there you have it!  My #makecomics goals for 2012.  They are now written down and out in the world.  I feel better already.  Your turn!  What are your comic related goals for 2012? As stated, do your goals pass the “effective” test above?  And what do you think about committing to reflect on them every single day until you’ve achieved them or decided they’re not worth pursuing afterall?

The comments are there for you!

Next: Tackling a Short

***

Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, and educator residing in Newburyport, MA. He is the writer and co-creator of superhero murder mystery maxi-series THE RED TEN EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and Tears of the Dragon, a swords and sorcery fantasy. His past work includes OVER, a romantic comedy graphic novel, and Super Seed, the story of the world’s first super powered fertility clinic. His work has been published by DC and Arcana comics.

Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of ComixTribe, a new website empowering creators to help each other make better comics.

Contact Tyler via email ([email protected]), visit his website TylerJamesComics.com, follow him on Twitter, or check him out on Facebook

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About the Author ()

Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, educator, and publisher residing in Newburyport, MA. He is the writer and co-creator of THE RED TEN, a superhero murder mystery, EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and TEARS of the DRAGON, a swords and sorcery fantasy. Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of ComixTribe, which is both a new imprint of quality creator owned titles, and an online community where creators help creators make better comics.

Follow him on Twitter @tylerjamescomics, or send him an email at [email protected]

Comments (6)

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  1. Great post Tyler! The “effective goals” tips you listed seem right on point. I’ve been thinking real hard myself about this year’s goals as well, but have not put them into any kind of concise list as of yet but I think I will use these tips you laid out to set them into a good structure. Thanks man and good luck on your goals as well!

  2. John Lees says:

    I’m planning on coming up with something for this too. Just need to think out what my goals are gonna be!

  3. Conner MacDonald says:

    I NEED to complete my miniseries, WALTER GROSS THE BRAIN DAMAGED DETECTIVE(Only need to write issue 5).
    I want to launch a shitty web comic,(I’m currently in the process of drawing it).
    Write and illustrate a ONE SHOT comic about Gnomes, and find a new job(Not necessarily comic related but still).
    Become more involved in the comic book community.

  4. John Lees says:

    Okay, this post is really late, but here it is: my #makecomics goals for 2012! The theme of this year’s goals will be to be a bit more ambitious, and more difficult to succeed in, than the goals I set for 2011. This way, I may fall short, but even in attempting them, I’ll be more inclined to stretch out of my comfort zone and do more stuff rather than treading water or resting on my laurels.

    1. PUBLISH 5 COMICS IN 2012
    Last year, I set the goal of finally getting one comic published: The Standard. I succeeded in that goal, getting the first 2 issues published, both digitally, and in print, available at cons and shops in Glasgow. So, how do I go more ambitious from there this year? I want to try and have a credit on 5 different comics projects published this year. One of those will be more issues of The Standard, hopefully the rest of the series. But I also have another 4 projects in various stages of development, and I’d like to see them all in print before the year is out. That’s going to be easier with some than with others, but we’ll see how things go!

    2. WRITE 300 PAGES OF COMIC SCRIPT
    My goal for 2011 was to write 200 pages of comic script, and in the end I managed to write 214. I ended up cutting it fine, not passing the 200 mark until some point in December, but I made it in the end. In trying to be a bit more ambitious, I’m nudging that number up to 300 for this year. I’ve already written 25 pages in 2012 so far, and add that on to the other 83 pages of script for various projects I’m wanting to get written within the next couple of months, and that would take me to an early total of 108, already a third of the way to 300. So this could be managable!

    3. PITCH SUCCESSFULLY TO A PUBLISHER
    If there’s one thing I suck at, it’s pitching. I find writing whole scripts easier than a page of prose about said script. Even the mighty Steven Forbes, editor extraordinaire, the man with the ability to turn crud to gold… offered a resigned, “Maybe we’ll come back to this later,” after a long struggle trying to get a decent pitch together for The Standard. I’m fortunate that, through connections with Steve, Tyler read The Standard, and believed in it enough to give me the chance of being a part of ComixTribe. I’m very happy to be a part of what I think will be the breakthrough comic publisher of 2012. But it means I never had to pitch for The Standard. I don’t know what it’s like to try and sell a publisher who has never heard of me on my work. So, this year, a goal – perhaps the most difficult of all these goals – is to put together a pitch for one of my projects, and pitch to a publisher, large or small, and for that pitch to be good enough to get accepted. This is one I see myself as being most likely to fail at… but even pitching and failing will take me a step further than I’ve been thus far.

  5. I love this idea of starting the year with goals. I don’t like the term “resolutions” as it’s too linked to the idea of having goals and breaking them. I much prefer goals, as they seem more like milestones on the way to various different destinations.

    This year, my main goals are in my comic work, and are all designed as much as possible to put me in a better position by the end of 2012 to get some professional comic work.

    The first was to do a comic page a day. This is designed to force me to set my own deadlines and stick to them, and to think more like a professional. So far I’m doing a little over a page every two days, which is really good going considering my speed last year, so I’m quite chuffed with that. And I’ll keep pushing to speed up without dropping quality.

    The next is to slow down my process a little, which seems contrary to the previous one, but is actually about a whole different thing. In the past I’ve often barrelled into a project without properly considering it, but this year I also want to improve my skills as much as possible, so I’m taking the time now to ensure that I have proper reference, that I’m thinking more about environment, context etc, and that I’m taking the time to set up proper perspective and things. I’m trying to ramp up the sense of solidity in my comic work, so all this is essential.

    The third is similar to Mister Lees’ above – I want my name on as many comics as possible this year. After entering the indie scene I took about three years to deliver three self published books – I want this year to be the one where I seem positively *prolific*… So far I’ve got my two projects waiting for publication, and my name’s down for three others, one of which I’m already half way through, and that’s all really in the first half of 2012. I like to keep that momentum up and end it with my name on about five or six books.

    I suppose there’s two reasons for that: 1) the more and varied work I do, the more practice I’m getting in – working in different genres, different styles and with different writers, and 2) the more visible I hopefully become, so that I have more work to choose from for submitting, and so that there’s more chance of looking like an attractive proposition for an editor.

    It’s interesting to notice Tyler and John’s definite, specific and achievable goals. This is heartening. I totally think if you want to make it in any business, and particularly in comics, you need to have a full, proper plan in place for how you’re going to do it.

    Too many of us in the indie field just float along, doing our own underground stuff, and hoping that some time in the future we’ll be “discovered” and get a good gig from it. It rarely works like that. I think you’ve got to be professional, and determined, and have a route in mind. It’s great to see other folk thinking the same way. Good luck folks!

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