New Year, New Goals

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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For the longest time, I thought New Year’s resolutions were one of the corniest, hokiest, most pointless traditions in our culture. Every year, people set unrealistic goals that they never follow through with, which only leaves everyone feeling disappointed and apathetic by the time March or April rolls around. “Maybe I’ll try again next year” is usually the most common phrase.

Nevertheless, I’m happy to say that in 2017 I actually followed through on the resolution I had made at the beginning of the year. In January of last year, I told myself and my parents that I wanted to make legitimate progress in my comic book writing by the end of 2017. This meant I would have a comic book project in development with a full creative team, and that either an agreement would be made with a publisher or I would be on track to self-publish the story.

Sure enough, I received an early Christmas present a couple of weeks ago, when the editor of an upcoming anthology informed me my story had been accepted for this project! I wrote the story several months ago, and I’m collaborating on it with an artist friend of mine. We pitched to two anthologies, and the one that accepted us is actually focused on comics about disability. I didn’t hesitate to submit to this one when I didn’t make it into the other anthology.

Granted, the publication of this anthology hinges on the success of its Kickstarter campaign in February. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website, which is used for many things. Numerous independent comic book creators and entrepreneurs use it on a regular basis to finance their projects. Once this project is funded, all of the individual stories will be completed and submitted for final approval. If all goes well, the anthology should be published during 2018.

Suffice it to say, I’m as excited as a teenage fangirl at a Taylor Swift concert. I’ve dreamed of becoming a published writer since I was a boy, and now a comic book story with my name on it is on the horizon. Sure, I’ve been in journalism for about five years now and have had a couple of hundred articles published online and in print; but a piece of fiction is entirely different. This is the next level for me and my career, even if my story is only five pages.

Now, this is the first time I can recall actually setting a New Year’s resolution for myself and following through with it. There have been years when I halfheartedly told myself that I’d eat healthier or something to that effect, but before 2017 I never set a goal that I was passionate about reaching or that was feasible. I knew it would be unrealistic to strive for a published comic by the end of the year, as these things take time. But assembling a creative team and getting a project up and running was feasible.

Simply setting a goal for myself not only kept me motivated and working toward something in the wake of graduating from college, but it also opened other doors that went beyond my comic book writing. In 2017, I acquired a full-time position here at BioNews Services, spoke at two SMA conferences, made dozens of connections in the SMA and MDA communities, read dozens of books and hundreds of comics, recorded dozens of podcasts, started writing a book and a screenplay, and still made time to argue with all of the Star Wars fans who didn’t like The Last Jedi.

Setting an effective New Year’s resolution is something I encourage every SMA individual to do. It doesn’t have to be anything outrageous or an insanely ambitious resolution. In fact, I recommend keeping resolutions simple and practical. Think about what you really want this year, and go for it. If you can commit yourself to just one thing and think more about what you can do than what you’re incapable of because of SMA, I think you’ll find yourself more motivated and with a strong mindset going into the new year. It worked for me, and I wish you all the best as you set out to reach your goals in 2018.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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