2016, WOW. I can’t believe it’s actually over.

This is one of the first years that literally did NOT fly by for me. It felt exactly as long as a year should feel, I think, and though we’ve definitely had a huge share of tragedy (politically, socially, personally), I still think it’s worth looking to the bright side of life at least for just a moment.

2016 was a year of liberation, rebirth, and revitalization for me, though it didn’t come without hard work, sacrifice, and a lot of tears. Still, seeing this year through to the end allowed me to achieve A LOT on a creative, professional, and personal basis, and it taught me the true meaning of perseverance. I feel like I’ve built a pretty good foundation for 2017.

So! Let’s get into it, then! Here’s the round up for 2016, followed by some more in depth details!


Creative Achievements for 2016: The Round Up!

  • 59 blog posts for my author site written / recorded, and posted
  • 41 new, unique IPs added to the Rebel Ragdoll project slate
  • 38 meaty, creative training signature courses completed
  • 30 creative training masterclasses attended, complete with notes
  • 20+ author brand and marketing action plans created
  • 18 courses conceptualized for The Bohemian Badass
  • 15 leisure books read
  • 12 book reviews written and posted
  • 8 blog posts for The Bohemian Badass written and posted
  • 8 in-depth course outlines developed for The Bohemian Badass
  • 8 creative & career opportunities applied to:
    • 3 rejections received,
    • 3 creative applications withdrawn, and,
    • 2 won and accepted!
  • 5 MFA scholarships and fellowships acquired
  • 4 live masterclasses hosted
  • 3 beta-level courses designed and developed for The Bohemian Badass
  • 3 novels re-distributed internationally
  • 2 website home pages redesigned
  • 2 new blog post series created for my author brand: the Creative Journal and the Weekly Hustle
  • 1 three-year creative action plan for my personal, creative, and business growth finished
  • 1 massive personal, business, AND creative budget finished
  • 1 author brand totally rebooted!
  • 1 fully-funded acceptance into my dream program: the MFA in Generative Dramaturgy program at The University of Arizona
  • 1 challenging grad school semester completed
  • 1 production portfolio completed
  • 1 company prospectus for The Doll Theatre completed
  • 1 arts festival handbook and grant proposal completed
  • 1 arts festival in development + 1 Masters’ Thesis in development
  • 1 personalized summer filmmaking institute created
  • 1 book distribution tracker created
  • 1 marketing plan reboot
  • 1 new podcast series (soft) launched
  • 1 new company logo created (for Rebel Ragdoll Productions)!
  • 1 major epiphany on life’s purpose realized
  • 1 awesome apartment acquired in Tucson
  • 1 healthier diet and routine adopted
  • 1 light, daily exercise routine launched
  • 1 life officially in order (after countless hours of financial / administrative organization and stress)
  • 1 happy, healthy, loving toddler
  • More awesome graphic design skills attained
  • Countless writing tools and templates developed for personal creative use and for The Bohemian Badass
  • Started and maintained the Dreamer135 Project for the short films I want to create and showcase

So yes, this year was definitely about re-acclimating to being a career-driven, creatively-driven woman and balancing that out with motherhood and other things. It was about freedom, rebirth, and the revitalization of my dreams.

So awesome, and SO EXCITING! And what’s more, I achieved 3.5 out of my 5 major goals for 2016, and I can continue working on them from here. Now, here are the dirty dirty details on my accomplishments! 😉


Creative Achievements for 2016:
The Dirty Details!

Creative Achievement & Professional Development

This section details the creative training I finished, my quantifiable achievements, impactful experiences, and my professional development that sharpen my skills and acumen as a creative entrepreneur.

1. THE GIVEN spent over 15 weeks on Amazon’s top 100 Free list for New Adult & College fiction!

thegiven_cvr_lrgI explained this in a past post, but this happened with little to no marketing at ALL. This says little in some ways, but in other ways, it says a LOT. While I know I can do way better, sell more books, and rise higher in the ranks, I was honestly just happy to make the top 100 at this point. It made me feel like, “Wow. People actually LIKE my material, lol!”

But as with all things, people can only support your stuff if they know about it. So for 2017, it’s time to really take my marketing up a notch.

I now know that I have the potential to make my books saleable and viable in the market; I just have to be strategic, relentless, smart, and ethical. Most importantly, I need to grow my community of readers, peers, and friends, and I also need to find my tribe. 🙂 So look out, 2017, you are officially going to KNOW who Colby R. Rice is!

2. Launched a professional rebrand of my author website and social media outlets.

cropped-coverpage3B.pngAnd I have to say: Colby’s Cove is looking 1000 times more gangster than it ever did. I LOVE my new website, the graphics, the font, and the simple set up. It really speaks to my brand: dark, gritty, futuristic, unapologetic. I just need to make a few more tweaks and fill in some empty pages, but that evolution will happen across 2017. Stay tuned!

3. Completed my first semester of MFA in Generative Dramaturgy!

uarizonaAs you guys may know from reading my past posts, grad school certainly rocked me this first semester. From adjusting to my daughter being in daycare (tears all around), to getting sick all the time (darned kids), to grad school kicking my ass in the strangest ways, this semester was a challenge to say the least.

STILL, I got some amazing things out it, including:

  • A creative production book and portfolio for Stage Management
  • A company prospectus for a potential theatre company, The Doll Theatre, that I MAY open up at some point under the Rebel Ragdoll brand
  • A play and film festival that I’m producing called the “Collaborative Arts Festival”
  • A grant proposal draft and handbook for The Collaborative Arts Festival
  • A full staged reading of a theatre action piece called After Orlando: An International Theatre Action
  • Participation in the Bridge Initiative and the Chicago Dramatists’ Network Playwright Program as a dramaturg
  • Opportunities to direct and dramaturg a slam poetry segment
  • Dramaturgical involvement in a full stage production named Creeps
  • A MAJOR upgrade to my creative CV! (As a result of all the above experiences)
  • A significant increase in my Theatre Arts and Theatre history knowledge.

So it was hard. And I struggled significantly with the academic lean of the program. But it brought a lot of great experiences and benefits, and it feels awesome to look back on those.

4. Claimed the title of film director for action, sci-fi, and horror movies!

This one was a huge one because being a director can be SUCH a terrifying undertaking. As a director, you need to know how you want to tell the story. You have to have the vision. You need to be firm and confident in your decisions. You need to know how to work well with and collaborate with other people, even those with big personalites.

But most importantly, it seems that directors need to pretty much know everything about everything that all the departments do. The Camera Department, VFX and SFX, Hair, Wardrobe, and Makeup, the Cast, the Producers, etc, are all departments and jobs that the director should know like the back of his hand. He doesn’t need to know every little detail, but he SHOULD be well versed in the techniques, tools, and language of each department. This and SO MUCH more (it seems),

rebelragdollproductionsThis and SO MUCH more (it seems) seems to be in the purview of the Director.

So as you can imagine, me announcing to the world that 1. I wanted to director horror, sci-fi, and action movies, and 2. I was filming my first FULL horror feature this year WAS SCARY AS HELL!

I was (and still am) afraid that whatever I produce is going to be sheer crap. But you know what? ALL directors pretty much started out like crap, lol. The fact that they stayed in the game is what helped them improve and is what made them great. Every director started off small and then developed a voice and brand, figured out the kinds of stories they wanted to tell, and they STUDIED, PRACTICED, AND HONED their art to a fine point.hey never stopped going or creating.

Most importantly, they never stopped going or creating. That’s pretty much the path I’m on, and as I write my first horror feature, plan the second and third, and continue to study the screenwriting and filmmaking craft, I’ve made a promise to myself that I’m going to stay on this path come hell or high water.

Because I. AM. A. DIRECTOR. SON!

5. One 3-year creative plan finished!

set and reach goal conceptI truly believe in being as resourceful, efficient, and as methodical as possible. I don’t want to waste any time or energy by floundering, being unorganized, or dicking around.

Enter my 3-year creative plan.

This not only serves as a master list of all my creative goals between now and August 2019, but it also lays my goals out in a rough step-by-step timeline that I can follow so that I hit the appropriate milestones on time. Between the 40+ books I’d like to publish, the plays I have to dramaturg and produce, the creative and artistic skills I need to gain, and the three films I aim to write, fund, and direct, I have a LOT to get done. So having a plan is essential!

6. Graphic design skills increased!

adobecreativecloudI have to say: diving feet first into my author and business rebrands forced me to up my design game by 1000%! I spent the month getting much more adept at Photoshop, Canva, LeadPages, Befunky, and more design programs so that I could really scrub and cinch my brands.

Mastering certain aspects of Photoshop took a lot of time, but I came out of it with a much deeper knowledge and better fluency in graphic design. And now, I’m dedicating the next decade of my life to training myself as a digital artist and designer! So I’m super proud of myself. 🙂 And I only expect my skills to grow in the future as I do more brand creation!

7. Finished 30 creative masterclasses, 38 signature courses, and created 20+ action plans based off those courses.

schoolbooksYou guys know by now that I’m an autodact. I love to learn, gain new skills, and apply them to my f’empire’s growth and projects. This year, I took classes in ALL different areas: blogging and infopreneurship, marketing, indie author brand building, novel writing, screenwriting, cipywriting, film editing, directing, producing, filmmaking, publishing, personal and business money management, creative advertising, and much MUCH more!

Still, these classes are only half-helpful if I implement the knowledge I’m learning.

So, based on what I’ve learned, I’ve created action plans for most of the classes I’ve taken! This is so that later, when I’m ready to apply my knowledge, I don’t need to re-take the masterclass to figure out what I need to do. The plan is just laid out for me, sequentially. Obviously this takes time, but it’ll be well worth it when I’m ready to implement all this knowledge in 2017!

By the way, check out the list below. It’s a master list of ALL the masterclasses and signature courses that I took this year. You might want to test them out yourself! 🙂

 

JAN 2016

– Email List Building (Mariah Coz)

– Filmmaking Success (Tanya Kersey)

– Fire Your Boss (Dr. Z Watkins)

– Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

*** The Independent Launch Lite Graphic Design Course (BMays)

*** Personal Branding Jumpstart (Maya Elious)

*** Infopreneur in 5 Course (By Regina)

*** Bestseller Blueprint (Kristin Kieffer)

 

FEB 2016

– Create and Market Your First Product in the Next 30 Days (Mariah Coz & Melyssa Griffin)

– Black Money: How to Earn 1 Million + Dollars over the Internet (Dr. Boyce Watkins)

– Black Money: Why Blacks Waste Our $1.1 Trillion Spending Power (Dr. Boyce Watkins)

– Black Money: How to Quit Your Job (Dr. Boyce Watkins)

– Black Money: The Man Who Saved His Pennies for 45 Years (Dr. Boyce Watkins)

– Saying Yes (Shonda Rhimes)

– Create an Interactive PDF for Your Opt In (Jenna Soard)

– Explode Your Sales with Facebook Ads + Instagram (Caitlin Bacher & Farideh Caeser)

– Launch Your Screenwriting Career (Lee Jessup & Corey Mandell)

– Rock Your Email List (Melyssa Griffin)

– Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

– The Art of Story Structure (Joe Nassise) **

– Goodreads Cracked**

– Facebook Ads for Authors**

– 100 Review Book Launch**

 

MAR 2016

– How to Make a Living Being Creative (Hilary Silver)

– Three Secrets to Writing Emails that Make You Riches (Ray Edwards)

– Have a Five-Figure Launch with Great Content (Maya Elious & Halley Gray)

– Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

– Selling for Authors (Copywriting for Authors) mini course (Bryan Cohen)**

– 2016 Live Richer Challenge: The Savings Edition (The Budgetnista)**

– Writing Productivity Habits for Self Published Authors (David James Ault)**

– Success: How to Master Your Mindset & Achieve Your Goals Now**

– Selling for Authors FULL course (Bryan Cohen)**

– #GoIndependent Course (byRegina)**

– Earn More Money Challenge for Women (Patrice Washington)**

 

APR 2016

How to Write a $10 Million Sales Letter (Ray Edwards)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

*** Write Copy That Sells (mini course) (Ray Edwards)

*** Your First 10K Readers: Core Modules (Nick Stephenson)

 

MAY 2016

Hack Your Social Marketing: Double Your Traffic AND Your Free Time (Laura Roeder)

How to Get 10,000 Fans, Publish a Book, and Make $100,000 in 18 Months (Jeff Goins)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

*** Your First 10K Readers: Advanced Modules + Bonus Modules + Master Classes (Nick Stephenson)

*** How to Keep Going and Keep Being Creative Even When Your Life is Shit (School of Hard Knocks / Life)

 

JUNE 2016

*** The Profitable Teacher: Create Your Own Profitable Online Course in 30 Days (Teachable)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

 

JULY 2016

*** 5-Day Self-Love Challenge (Mama Gena)

*** The Killer Mini Course Challenge (byRegina)

*** Epic Listbuilding Bootcamp, PART I of II (byRegina + Kory Woodward)

Series and Serials – Writing Stories that Keep Your Readers Coming (Susan Kaye Quinn)

Launch Your Five-Figure Challenge (Zach Spuckler)

How Beta Students Can Lead to a Profitable 5-Figure Course (Jenna Soard)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

 

AUGUST 2016

*** Supermom Sanity Challenge (Mariana Ruiz)

*** How to Sell Films Using Facebook (Arel Avellino at Film Thrive)

*** How to Market and Monetize Your Mind (byRegina)

How to Get the Cinematic Look (Eric Thayne)

Create Your First Infoproduct While Working Full-Time (byRegina)

9 Legal Concerns for Infopreneurs (byRegina & Lem the Lawyer)

The 60-Day Author: Plotting, Planning, and Structure (Joseph Nassise & Nick Stephenson)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

 

SEPTEMBER 2016

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Advanced Topics in Production Dramaturgy 563 (Elaine Romero)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Generative Dramatic Theory 660 (Kevin Byrne)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Research Methods for Theatre (Jessica Maerz)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Theatre Management (Stage Management & Arts Administration) 532

*** Assistant Director Training, 8-hour Masterclass

*** Film Editing Pro Course (Chris at Film Editing Pro)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

 

OCTOBER 2016

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Advanced Topics in Production Dramaturgy 563 (Elaine Romero)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Generative Dramatic Theory 660 (Kevin Byrne)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Research Methods for Theatre (Jessica Maerz)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Theatre Management (Stage Management & Arts Administration) 532

*** Filmmaking Hacks (Alex Ferrari / Indie Film Hustle)

Creating a Terrifying Horror Script (Hal Croasman)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

 

NOVEMBER 2016

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Advanced Topics in Production Dramaturgy 563 (Elaine Romero)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Generative Dramatic Theory 660 (Kevin Byrne)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Research Methods for Theatre (Jessica Maerz)

*** GRAD SCHOOL: Theatre Management (Stage Management & Arts Administration) 532

*** Horror Genre Summit (Shane Y)

*** How to Create a Terrifying Horror Script (Screenwriters U)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts

 

DECEMBER 2016

*** Producing with RJFS (Rocket Jump Film School)

*** Directing with RJFS (Rocket Jump Film School)

*** Screenwriting with RJFS (RocketJump Film School)

7 Steps to Taking Control of 2017 Masterclass (Michael Hyatt)

7 Steps to Writing Your Novel Masterclass (Joanna Penn)

— Creating Zero Content Books Masterclass (Kristen Joy)

Podcasts, Books, and Blog Posts


Creative & Professional Products

This section details the physical and digital products that I created this year. All products listed are ready for reading, listening, watching, purchase, re/viewing, evaluation, or submission!

1. Launched two new journaling series for my author brand!

writing updates collageAnd I’m SO excited about them! The first journal series I launched was my Weekly Creative Hustle series, to keep track of everything I’d been doing and achieving creatively for 2016. And I LOVE it! (This endeavor was inspired by JF Penn’s (Joanna Penn’s) jfpenn.com/now, which tells you what she’s working on each week.)

The second series I launched is the Colby’s Creative Journal series, which is more of a daily creative update, reflections, and insights series. (This channel was inspired by Garrett Robinson’s daily check ins!) I developed this channel because I wanted to post more often and really show the world the true meaning of “hustle”. BUT I also didn’t want to physically type out my posts, lol! Eventually, I will have transcript summaries and notes of the videos available. I also just wanted to get used to putting a face to my work, talking to my audience, and also showing my community that creators of

Eventually, I will have transcript summaries and notes of the videos available. I also just wanted to get used to putting a face to my work, talking to my audience, and also showing my community that creators of color DO exist, and we are working diligently to develop awesome, badass work and put it out into the world.

I’m really excited to continue these two series will be taking for 2017.

2. Updated and evolved the Books of Ezekiel series!

So, while still working on writing the next novel, The Iron Maiden, and also developing the story and plot for the rest of the second season arc, I decided to throw a little color and life into the mix! I got my cover artist, Steven Novak, to create the next four covers in the series, so now all of the covers for this season arc are COMPLETE! Check them out:

I’m super excited about what’s happening in this series, and I hope to finish this entire second arc come 2017!

3. Started developing another new fiction series!

So, I realized that with nine season arcs, each of which contains multiple books (up to 10!) per season, The Books of Ezekiel saga is going to take quite a long time to write, lol! And I definitely want to be working on other series and releasing other novels in the meantime.

SO! My goal this year is to release at LEAST one new fiction series… and I’m pretty darned excited about it.

INTRODUCING… THE HITMEN OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER!

Basically? Fairy Tale Retellings meets crime noir, action, and of course, a dash of (gangster) HEA romance! I’m SO excited about this series, and I’m currently working on the first novel (Rose n’ John Does), doing LOTS of worldbuilding, and I’m working on the next FIVE book covers!!

This series is going to kick all kinds of creative fairy tale ass, so stay tuned!

4. Worked on my first two directing assignments!

This is super exciting because I REALLY needed the opportunity to get my feet wet as a director (and dramaturg)! So, through both my coursework and a very generous faculty member, I co-dramturged and co-directed two collaborative assignments this semester: After Orlando: An International Theatre Action and INkliNG.

mnw_ambasada_2

The June 2016 shooting in Orlando was the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter, and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in the history of the United States. (Photo: Miłość Nie Wyklucza via Wikipedia)

After Orlando was a theatre action response project designed to speak to the terrible tragedy that occurred at Pulse nightclub, when a gunman, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, murdered over 50 people and injured over 53 more people in a rage against the LGBTQIA+ community. The tragedy still sits with all of us, and After Orlando as a response served not only as a tribute, but also as a dialogue to start conversations about love, life, and culture in this targeted community.

Click the link to find out more about After Orlando: An International Theatre Action.
The second directing assignment is one that I’m still working on, that will open on Sunday, January 15. It’s called INkliNG, and it is a slam poetry tribute to the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and to all the work that has been done, and that still needs to be done, within and without the Black community.

wordsontheavenueThis project was the result of an awesome collaboration between the University of Arizona’s Poetry CenterWords on the Avenue (a slam poetry group), and MFA in Generative Dramaturgy Program at the School of Theatre, Film, and Television at the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts (that’s me and my advisor, lol)! And so far, the segment we’ve put together is INCREDIBLE (

And so far, the segment we’ve put together is INCREDIBLE (imo, of course).

So far, my co-director and I have chosen the poems to be performed, added in a couple of our own lines for cohesion, developed a script, recruited the poets, and now, I’m in the midst of getting everyone’s schedules coordinated and acquiring the space. We will both be attending rehearsals and will be fine-tuning the performance until its debut on the 15th! SO EXCITING! We are really proud of the material we have, and I’m mega amped to see it in action!

While I served as co-dramaturg and co-director for these assignments, I’ve learned so much about directing. I will probably continue to co-direct up until I direct my first feature horror film, so that I can gain skills, absorb knowledge, and learn from others who are more knowledgeable than I. The most important, though, especially now that I’m swimming in this new territory, is that fear is a constant burn and allies, friends, and co-creators are its balm. Right now my mottot is to keep moving forward, stay humble, be brave, and KEEP LEARNING.


Creative f’Empire Dominance (#BOSSHOODACTIVATED)

This section keeps track of the growth of my creative f”Empire, Rebel Ragdoll, LLC, along with all its subsidiaries (Rebel Ragdoll Press, Rebel Ragdoll Productions, ChickRogue Studios, The Bohemian Badass, and Miscellany!). Here, you’ll get to see how I’m growing my creative legacy!

1. EVOLVED The Bohemian Badass, subsidiary #2 of Rebel Ragdoll, LLC

The Bohemian Badass got a MAJOR facelift, y’all! And while this is only the second out of three of TBBA’s metamorphoses, I’m proud of the improvement!

So, as you can see, we evolved pretty quickly from this:

Bohemian Badass School Website Shot

 

To THIS:

bohemianbadassbanner2

 

And if you don’t know what the Bohemian Badass is, here’s another intro!

The Bohemian Badass

We are an indie creative community aimed at educating, training, and empowering female creatives to pursue their creative dreams, finish their projects, found creative f’Empires, and become the creative badasses they’re meant to be.

In short, we train you in the skills you need to MAKE your art and LIVE off your art!

At the moment, we focus on novel writing, screenwriting, filmmaking, and game design.

We’ve gotten off to a slow start this past year (Oct 2015-Oct 2015), because we’ve been honing our brand, working on our website, and building awesome course material. Still, we’re looking forward to more steady growth for 2017!

2. Growth of the Rebel Ragdoll Project slate to 105 creative projects!

projectsIn yet another victory in my ongoing writer’s journey, I’ve added 41 new intellectual properties and franchise ideas to the Rebel Ragdoll project slate!

The brings my slate up to a total of 105 CREATIVE PROJECTS, with 62 ORIGINAL IP IDEAS!

YAAAAY!!!!

I’ve also cleaned up the slate to divide the projects by type. Currently, here’s the breakdown:

  • 43 Novel Series Projects
  • 8 Serialized Novel Series Projects
  • 3 Short Story Collections
  • 7 Feature Film Scripts (2 originals, 3 adaptations, and 3 in-house adaptations)
  • 9 Teleplay Pilot Scripts (4 originals, 5 in-house adaptations)
  • 2 Stageplays (both of which are in-house adaptations)
  • 21 Feature Film Projects (that I personally want to write and direct!)
  • 1 Web Series Project (an action comedy)
  • 7 Video Game Projects (2 originals, 2 in-house adapations, 2 top-conversion mods, and 1 interactive novel game)
  • 4 Summits / Live Events (these are events, both live and online, that are live that will be put on for the creative community)

Obviously, the brain never stops. But my production DOES need to go waaay faster, so I’ll be working on that for 2017!

3. Silently developed two other subsidiaries of Rebel Ragdoll. 

RebelRagdollD04bR01bP02ZL-Jefferson1bI honestly didn’t do this JUST because I need to have multiple plates spinning, lol. These got developed by happenstance, believe it or not!

I did minimal development on these subsidiaries, because either the idea was stuck in my head, or my graduate Theatre Management course required it. The two subsidiaries I worked on included The Dollhouse (foundation) and The Doll Theatre (theatre arts).

You guys already know (if you’ve read above) that I’m planning to open a foundation as a part of Rebel Ragdoll to help women live out creative lives. That will open sometime between June 2017 and June 2018. But I was also considering (in the far FAR future) opening The Doll Theatre, which is a female-focused theatre company that champions the same mission as Rebel Ragdoll. I designed The Doll Theatre in my Theatre Management class.

I haven’t decided yet if The Doll Theatre will become an official part of my Rebel Ragdoll f’empire. Even if it does, I won’t even consider it until faaaaar off in the future. In the meantime, Doll Theatre will continue to sit in the “Potential Subsidiary” folder of the Rebel Ragdoll business plan, alongside Writer’s Strike (the writer’s bistro), Miscelleny (the fashion arm of Rebel Ragdoll), and Subterranime (comics & animation).


Personal Achievements

This section details the more personal (and not always pretty) side of my creative life, including what’s up with my family, motherhood, health, hobbies, challenges, and resilience. Keeping track of these things helps me to see where I’m doing well and where I need to improve.

1. Life reclaimed and reprogrammed: I moved (AGAIN) to Tucson, AZ, re-established my independence, and rebooted. 

tucson sunset

Life had taken me for a rough ride. Rather, I’d accidentally run it off the road, and it was getting its sweet black revenge, lol.

Y’all know what happened when the baby bomb hit in Jan 2014. So, obviously, it took some time to get back on track.

I am happy to say that, as of the end of 2016, I am officially back on track!

I left a toxic relationship, got into an amazing MFA program, found a great apartment, found a wonderful daycare for the baby, moved to a pretty cool city, re-established my financial, social, emotional, and spiritual sovereignty, and have met some awesome people and artists, and have also cultivated a LOT of creative opportunities along the way.

But most importantly, I’ve finally gotten back on my feet as an independent woman, an independent artist, and a mommy creative going her own way. I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more.

Let’s just hope things stay this way (or just continue to improve) come 2017!

2. A healthy and happy toddler + a healthy and happy mommyhood

elephantandcalfComing in at just over 2 years (THREE years, if you count pregnancy), of being a mother to an amazing little girl. It has been the wildest ride, both on the good sides and on the bad, but we made it, and she’s doing SO well.

A year ago, I was a part of, and had, a little family of my own. But shortly after, my partner and I decided to part ways, and the adjustment since has been difficult. But after all storms come sunshine, and I finally feel more stable and secure in my role as mom and career lady. I’m 100 times happier and breathe 1000 times easier because I went the way my heart and mind told me to go.

I follow the same instincts with motherhood, and it’s working out great!

The craziest part about this whole creative mommy thing is that I’ve finally FINALLY realized that I CAN achieve my career goals andblack mom be a good mother at the same time! This might seem obvious to some of you super moms out there, but this realization took some time to come to. In fact, coming to this realization has been a slow and painful process, with a lot of missteps and a lot of backsliding.

Motherhood can do a number on your identity, especially when it comes from left field like it did for me. At first, I believed in my heart that I’d never be able to be a working artist as a mom, but now I realize that there are ways through it. The ways through might be untraditional, unsupported, or just plain ole difficult. But there is a way, and I honestly can’t even imagine me taking my journey as a novelist, filmmaker, game designer, and business owner without my daughter by my side.

As a final point, all of my struggles as a single mom creative really helped me to come to my major epiphany about what my life’s purpose is. The next section deals with this in a bit more detail.

3. True purpose realized.

connectivityideaMy epiphany hit me while I was exploring my “WHY” in Patrice Washington’s I Can Earn More Challenge. Washington asked us to really think about why founding our own businesses or asking for what we’re worth is important. She asked us to consider the larger and deeper implications. As I did, THAT’S when my moment of clarity came! That’s when I realized why I was so driven to my goals and so drawn to creativity, and also, I realized why I suffered these trials and tribulations of single motherhood.

As I did, THAT’S when my moment of clarity came! That’s when I realized why I was so driven to my goals and so drawn to creativity, and also, I realized why I suffered these trials and tribulations of single motherhood:

Alongside my creative f’empire, Rebel Ragdoll, I’m going to establish a foundation for single moms who want to make careers as creatives.

This foundation will be called The Dollhouse.

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When I realized this, it was as though some crazy spiritual connection was made. Like a spiritual static was being cleared from my body. I know it sounds cray cray, but I don’t care, lol! I immediately shared my revelation on Facebook because this was too deep of an experience to not document it and speak into the world. 

I love that my purpose has taken root so much more deeply than before, and that as I build Rebel Ragdoll, I can turn this entire endeavor into something that drives REAL, CONCRETE change. There are a lot of programs and fellowships in my future foundation that I’d love to bring into fruition, but until then, I’m going to first start small by giving 10% of all my income to my foundation, which will then pass to female creatives who are also single moms.

This is my true purpose, above just serving myself. This is my reason for being.

4. Healthier lifestyle activated!

fruitsveggiesI’ve been more deliberate about making healthier choices, getting more exercise, and getting more sleep (though the latter has really taken a dive lately). The stress of grad school had me backsliding a bit, but in the past 2 months, I’ve been getting back on the horse with healthier eating.

I am trying my very best to take care of my body so that it will take care of me, and while it’s been a struggle since after April of this year, I HAVE managed to do the following:

  • Daily exercise routine. I literally walk everywhere here in Tucson, and tend to clock at least 3 miles per day if not more. For 2017, though, I’m aiming to train myself for a 5K from Jan to Jun, and then I’ll be taking martials arts classes during the summer! I haven’t decided between Krav Maga and Wushu yet, but I’m leaning towards the former (for convenience).

  • Eliminating red meat and chicken from my diet. Not completely, but I’m getting there! I’ve switched to fish, mostly, and vegetables or white rice, whole grain pastas, and more. There’s still way more that I can do for my diet, but I’m trying to take a long-lasting lifestyle approach to my diet rather than a fad-crash approach.

  • Drinking more water. I’ve been terrible with this, actually, which will literally kill me here in Arizona if I don’t improve. I’ve only gotten better with drinking more fluids and water since November, and I’m looking to improve that next year.

4. Learned to drive!

I know this sounds crazy, but I’m like SUPER LATE in learning how to drive. I thought 2015-2016 was the time to tackle that, and I DID! I STILL don’t have my license (so sad), but I actually feel pretty comfortable driving, even though I’m still not a major fan of it.

This summer in Tucson, though, is THE summer for me to get my license. Then, hopefully next summer, I’ll actually have a car. I mean, honestly, enough is enough already, right? 🙂


So that’s my year round up folks! I’m super amped to say that I actually ACCOMPLISHED most of this year’s goals and then some! I’m going to finish out those goals, upgrade them, and add to them for 2017, and you can find out what those are in the next post.I’m SO excited about 2017, and I can’t wait to see what the new year holds!

So what about you? What’s YOUR creative round up for 2016? Post your thoughts, comments, and experiences below, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and as always…

Keep it indie,
<3 Colby