This year was a mess. Back in 2022, I made a couple of big decisions that I thought were a good idea. In 2023, I found out they were, in fact, not a good idea. I dealt with the consequences of my actions.

I’ve tried to write this post three times now. Each one was long winded so here’s a 4th attempt with a focus on being brief. I had some financial struggles this year after my best friend and roommate experienced a health emergency. It led to me returning to my old job while working a part-time job on the weekends. I kept a roof over our heads, but I had to make a decision: Where do I go from here? On top of that, I was experiencing a huge amount of stress and burnout. The blank months in my art summary are pretty telling.

2023 Summary of Art
Technically, I drew the August piece at the end of 2022. However, it went public in August and was a small hit, so I added it to my summary anyway.

In the fall, a friend gifted me Baldur’s Gate 3 after I expressed interest in it. Obviously, I fell in love with it, and I’ve been happily fixated on it ever since. But it also rekindled my creative energies, and Neil Newbon, the actor behind Astarion, rekindled my creative motivation. It’s a little embarrassing, but a lot of the things he’s said in interviews and streams resonated with me, and he reminded me why I started drawing and writing in the first place. I want to tell stories.

For the last two or three years, without even knowing, I had been trying to fit myself in a shoebox that would match the lives of some people close to me. I thought I wanted what they had, and I do, but I also started believing that I wanted it more than my creative work. That I not only wanted it, but that I’d be willing to push aside my creative endeavors to obtain it, by working in some career field that I had a little interest in but zero passion for.

My creative work has been the only steady thing in my life, ever since I first doodled my terrible Sailor Moon-Dragonball Z mashup Mary Sue OC when I was a kid. I’ve wandered away from it a few times, but I always came back—I just can’t stay away from it. And I’ve actually come pretty far in the last few years. I’ve drawn a lot of great commissions, had a lot of great clients, and I’ve published three books! I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been with my art, drawing is fun, and there’s actual potential to take it even further. So…why hold back?

After an earth-shattering week of personal revelations, I realized that no, I wasn’t willing to push aside my creative endeavors just to obtain a sliver of someone else’s lifestyle.

Plans for 2024

I decided I will no longer sideline my creative work. I’ve renewed my dedication to it and I’ve refocused my priorities. 2024 is not going to be any easier than 2023. I’ve got bills to pay, a car that needs an oil change and new brakes, and a whole bunch of other things that cost money but were pushed aside or ignored. But I think I’ll be happier. I don’t want any blank months on next year’s art summary, and I want to be more honest with myself about what I really want.

2024 Plans include, but are not limited to:

  • Publish a new book series: I originally had planned on writing a series of omegaverse shorts on a separate pen name this year, but that plan fell apart. Instead, my next series will be a spicy romance set in the same fantasy world as my first series. The two series won’t be related, but I started a World Anvil wiki to start compiling worldbuilding notes. You can get access to the wiki as a patron.
  • Draw more original content: I do have OCs, but they rarely see the light of day. It’s a far cry from my early years of art, and I don’t really know why that happened. 🤷‍♂️ I want to draw them more! Especially now that I’m publishing them!
  • Keep pushing towards better composition and technique: I started experimenting with texture this year and I want to continue playing with it. I also want to improve compositions, to make them more dynamic, or more intimate and romantic.
  • Revamp my website. Again. Yeah, I know, I just redid it last year. But I’ve finally seen the light: I finally understand why WordPress is popular. It can be useful, once I finally figured out how to bend it to my will. So even though I converted it to a regular website last year, I’m gonna revamp back into a WordPress site. 😂 It’ll be much easier to keep updated, which is something I haven’t bothered doing in ages because making manual code changes is tedious as hell.
  • Post to the blog. For real. I said I would post here regularly. I didn’t, because there was nothing to post. I was too stressed out and tired to do much beyond some commission work for a good part of the year. That’s gonna change. I’ve already tweaked my blog theme to make it easier to maintain (see above: WordPress is actually useful lmao).

I have other goals, but they’re boring business ones, or they’re more vaguely defined. In general, I’m pursuing my passion rather than what I think I should live like. This post is too long again, I’m so sorry…

If your 2023 also felt like shit, I hope 2024 will be far better. If your 2023 was great, I hope 2024 will be even greater. Let’s go in it together and have fun, regardless of what comes.

Happy new year! ♥