B&N Week 105: Become A Better Creator- Goals

| December 25, 2012

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Merry Christmas! Outstanding, isn’t it? Christmas on a Tuesday! [I wonder how many of you are going to show up. I’m here for you! Glorious day!

On top of that, this is also the last B&N of the year! Two whole years without missing a week! That says something, doesn't it?

Anyway, we’re still talking about being a better creator. This week, we’re going to talk about setting goals. If you don’t have goals, you’re not going to get far. Goals are the things that get you to where you’re going. They are as important as the hard work you put in to get where you’re going. Even moreso, really. They are the foundation for everything you want to do.

Remember that goals need to have a plan. Without a plan, goals are nothing more than dreams. Plans are what makes a goal attainable. Plans have to be actionable and measurable. If you have no way to take action on a plan or measure the results, then you have a dream. Dreams aren’t bad—they’re what fuel goals, and thus, plans—but if all you have is a dream, then you might as well sit there and do nothing.

Now, plans don’t mean much unless they are expressed, articulated, or enunciated [take your pick]. What do I mean? You have to tell someone about the plan. You have to tell them at least what it is you plan to do and in what timeframe you plan to do it. Those are the two main things you need to tell someone.

Why? Simple.

It’ll keep you honest.

Let’s face it, humans are inherently lazy creatures. I know I am, and I’m exceedingly average. If I’m exceedingly average and I know that I’m lazy, then I know most of you are, too. It’s an act of will to break out of that laziness, and it is more challenging than it seems.

By telling someone about the goal and the plan, you increase your likelihood of following through, because those other people will keep you honest. You want to lose weight? Tell someone how much and in what timeframe, and they’ll ask you about it every so often. They’ll help keep you on the path. Why? Because while we’re inherently lazy creatures, we’re also inherently curious. They’ll want to know about your progress. Plain and simple.

How many people should you tell? As many as will listen. Tell as many people as you know and who will care about the results about your goals and something of your plan to get there. [Some of the telling of the plan will come about in normal conversation as people ask questions about the goal. Remember, they’re naturally curious. It’ll come up.]

Do you have to go into every aspect as to how you plan to accomplish your goal(s)? Nope. You don’t want to bore people. But by telling them you have a plan to do something by such and such a time, then you’re helping yourself. If you aren’t actively working toward accomplishing your goals, then you’re going to have to deal with the “why” questions from the people you’ve told. If they’re true friends, they’re going to see the excuses for what they are and call you on it. That’s what friends do. Most of the time, the only thing stopping you is you.

I have a goal. My goal is to have six projects on the shelves next year: Runners, Keys, the Bolts & Nuts book, Nation, Bullet Time, and Hack. Let’s talk just a bit about what it is I want each of these projects to be by the end of next year.

Runners is an ongoing [in my head, at least], but I want to have one arc completely written and drawn and ready to go by the end of the year. I’ve already got one issue done and the second issue written, I just need to go back and incorporate the edits, and then write the rest of the arc. I also need to color the first issue.

Keys is three issues. I’ve already written it, but it needs to be completely rewritten in order to be more readable [read: interesting/commercial]. There’s also something special I want to do with it, but that has to stay under wraps.

Nation is an ongoing [in my head], but I’ve already planned out the first arc and written the first issue. I have to incorporate the edits on that and then finish writing the first arc.

Bullet Time is completely written, and the first four issues are completely drawn. The final issue needs to be drawn. The first three issues are inked. They just need to be colored and lettered. Yes, this one is the furthest along.

Hack is going to be about four issues. This one needs the most work. I need to plot it out, then write it up. Runners, Nation, and Keys have artists attached. Hack doesn’t. So, yeah, starting from scratch right there.

The Bolts & Nuts book is also almost done. I just have to add artwork to it, and then put some finishing touches on it before sending it out to people to read for their tweaks.

I want to have all of these completed, and at least the first issues of each on the shelves by the end of 2013. Yes, I know that that date is both hazy and concrete, but there are some things that have to get done first. Another move, really. Once I get that done, a lot of my concentration is freed up and I can get things moving.

(Excuse!) See? You’re a true friend. You’re right, that’s something of an excuse. I can get some of the writing and stuff done as I wait for other things to happen. So, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll have two issues written and edited by the end of Jan. More if I’m lucky. Issues of what? Runners and Nation. I also want to have B&N finished and out to people to ready by that time, too. Three things, by the end of Jan. You going to keep me honest?

And that’s it. Want to be a better creator? Set goals, make plans to accomplish them, and then tell people about it. I’ve done it. What about you?

See you in seven.

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Category: Bolts & Nuts, Columns

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at [email protected] for rate inquiries.

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