I considered not writing a 2020 roundup style post, even though it’s something I’ve done every year since I started this blog. It somehow felt wrong to look back at writing goals and reflect on what went well (and what didn’t go so well) when for so many this year has been such a struggle.
Even writing a paragraph, or finding time and/ or headspace for any kind of creativity this year should feel like an achievement. And if you’ve taken the whole year off from writing, that shouldn’t be considered a failure to meet a goal.
I wrote a post towards the beginning of the pandemic called ‘Is it OK to not be writing?’. I’ll answer my own question: yes, it’s OK. Please ignore all the social media posts about how lockdown has carved out the perfect time to write a novel or complete another creative project you’ve had on the backburner for years. For some, that may be true, but for many, lockdown has been the complete opposite. Social media is really good at making us feel really bad… It’s completely fine if lockdown hasn’t felt like a creative opportunity for you.
I’m not going to look back at what goals I set myself at the end of 2019. They feel somewhat irrelevant now. 2020 was so unexpected, that any opportunities that were thrown my way were things I could never have predicted or planned for. Who knew lockdown lit would become a genre? Or that ‘lockdown’ itself would enter our lexicon? I could never have predicted my most successful short story would have been one about loneliness and hope set during the pandemic. Or that I’d find comfort in writing short stories about the everyday, set in such an unusual time.
I met with my team at UCLAN just before Christmas (virtually, of course. How many people had heard of Zoom pre-2020?). It was amazing to hear positive feedback on my novel, Lost in Galderwood. It gave me a slight glimmer that maybe my book is viable. Maybe it’s not a complete disaster and something I should chuck in the bin.
It’s also great to have an idea of what the next few months are going to look like: Zoom meetings with feedback, rewrites, and editing. It’s the first time in my “writing career” I’ve got a semi-clear route ahead of me (well until Spring, at least), and it’s a lovely thing to have.
Yet I’m not going to over-plan 2021. And I’m not going to goal set. 2020 has taught me that our best laid plans can all go wrong, and we’re much better off taking each day as it comes. Beyond working with UCLAN on editing Lost in Galderwood, I have no idea what 2021 will hold for my writing. It could be another year of short stories, or another novel, or a sequel to Lost in Galderwood. Or maybe the editing will take up all my time, and I won’t write anything new at all. It’s kind of exciting to just go with the flow…
With only 2 days left of 2020, all that remains to say is Happy New Year! Let us hope that 2021 is a different year, and a better year than 2020.