I turn 30 in about a month and it’s gotten me thinking about change. Which got me thinking about things like presuppositions and habits. Which made me realize how many of those I have in my life, and how many of them I take as givens.

I’m no longer willing to let faulty presuppositions and bad habits dictate the terms of my life to me. How about you?

So I’m going to spend this year dismantling them and replacing them with better motivations, better approaches and better use of my time. It’s My Breakout Year because I intend to spend it breaking free of calcified poor practices and creative inefficiencies. If the breaking free works, I will be writing more effectively and more creatively, which will also hopefully lead to a breakout project.

The project has two distinct phases.

Phase 1:
Find my best practices (or Simplify, Organize, Produce, Improve). Using found materials whenever possible. The goal is not to buy or buy into a bunch of new “systems” or “organizers” or “production tools”, but to develop a personal system so simple that it organizes and produces without them. The focus here is on creative productivity: writing more and writing better. So much written about productivity seems to be about better ways of finishing busywork. I want to find better ways to finish better creations.

Phase 2:
Find my audience (or Brand, Publicize, Network, Market). The next step is to then find homes out in the world for the things I’m making.

Goals:
It’s important for projects to have goals, so here are mine for the year:

  1. To finish the bulk of Phase 1 by SDCC. The con inevitably adds a ton of stuff to my plate, so I want to have my plate clean by then and have methodologies in place for quickly tearing through the new additions.
  2. To establish a 4-hour writing workday, 5-days a week.
  3. To have 4 new comic projects in print or scheduled for publication. Short stories don’t count. Projects must be 22 pages in length or more.
  4. To finish my screenplay.
  5. To finish a puke draft of my unbook.

These go in rough order. #1 allows #2, which in turn should lead to #s 3-5. I’m telling you right now: as the year progresses, these goals will probably shift, change, slide or morph. Because the nature of this project (especially Phase 1) is that every day of the process should change my outlook on the end result. That’s what happens when you ferret out preconceived notions and rebuild without them.

Here’s a handy little table of contents for keeping track of blog posts about My Breakout Year:

  1. Phase 1
  2. Phase 2
  3. Project Graveyard (learning what to leave behind)
  4. Miscellaneous

My Breakout Year officially began on June 1, 2009 and will end on May 31, 2010.

Wish me luck. I’m especially interested to hear from you in the comments about the successes and failures of your own efforts to change habits.

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