I took this photo just before New Year’s Eve, as the sun was setting on the snowy landscape of our little valley. It seemed a symbolic moment for another year now passed. The trees had long since lost their leaves, the vibrant colors of autumn had turned to a dreary ice-encrusted gray. Mother nature buried 2013 just as the darkness finally swallowed the light of the last day.

It’s with this introspective attitude that I reconciled 2013 in my mind. There’s a saying I live by each day:

“Have I created anything today?”

My day is not complete if I haven’t created something. I find it hard to sleep and even sometimes feel a sense of deep failure. It gnaws at me, driving me to “do something” before letting another day go by where I don’t create. Even a small thought or idea is enough to check the box on my creation-quota for the day. Sometimes there are bursts of creativity, other days it’s real work to come up with mediocre ideas at best. I find the more I work at it though, the easier it gets to let the ideas flow.

Tombstone Building

Each year, I have a couple of big creative goals. It’s rarely only one goal because I’m always multi-tasking and I don’t like to be tied down to one thing at a time. But 2013 was a bit different. There was one overarching goal: write a novel. Did I accomplish it? Yes, the novel is written. Is it done? No. Why not? Because I’m still revising. Tales of the Macabre West is my first novel so it has to be the best I can do. The only deadlines are self-imposed.

All of these goals, this quest for creativity each day, what does all it amount to? I don’t believe in reincarnation so I feel like I’ve only got one shot at this life and I better make it good. A friend once called the quest to accomplish creative goals: Tombstone Building and that’s a pretty interesting way of looking at it. What will they say about you when you’re gone. How will your kids and grandkids know who you really were?

“What you create says as much about you as what you do.”

So what will 2014 bring? Here’s a list of my big creative goals for 2014.

  • Publish Tales of the Macabre West by April. I’ve still got a lot of revising to do but it is really coming together and I’m proud of how it reads. I’m not a perfectionist so when it’s close enough and I’ve captured the intended “feel” of the book, it’s going to be ready. I’m in the home stretch.
  • Record a new album. It’s been almost two years since Railyard recorded and I’ve spent a lot more time writing comics and books rather than playing music. I’ve got a ton of ideas and am anxious to collaborate with some friends. I’m super excited for what’s going to come out of these sessions this year.
  • Write another short film. After the success of Marooned last year, I’ve been itching to get back to screenplay writing. I’ve got a couple of ideas for short films and we are putting most of the Marooned crew back together for a possible shoot this summer. I can’t wait to take what I learned on the set of Marooned and make it even better this time around.
  • Launch a new comic series. I’m working with an amazing artist I couldn’t be more excited about. We are well into planning and drawing a new comic series that should have a first issue out this year. The story is kind of a mash-up of war genre (World War II) and horror and I think people are really going to dig it.

Those are the ones that are pretty much set in stone and I think are likely to happen. I’m also working on ideas for another novel. I’ve got some pretty strong material for a science-fiction / thriller story. I’m also toying with the idea of doing a collection of Christmas short stories because I had a brain-blast over the holidays. Those will probably happen in the background as I work on the above list.

I’m stoked for the prospects of creativity in 2014. It’s going to be a good year. Stay tuned.