On the second day of Scrivmas, it’s time for a year-in-review. To look back at my 2020 writing goals and my progress over the past year so I can set new goals going forward.
A Year Like No Other
When 2020 began, the year’s monikers were all about clear vision and focusing on what you wanted to accomplish during the year ahead. Then, COVID happened, and life-as-we-knew-it went off the rails. Fortunately, hindsight is still 20/20 and, looking back, one side effect of quarantine was more time at home. For many of us, that meant more time to write. That certainly was the case for me.
Quarantine meant a taste of the writer’s life that I had not had the chance to experience. No morning commute. Working in my pajamas. Laptop and recliner instead of office desk and chair. The only thing missing was my dog curled up at my feet. 2020 also brought the loss of Blitz Zen, my fur baby. It was a lonely Christmas without him.
But as for the writer’s life? Oh yes. More of that please. COVID was no fun, but I found that the solitude did not drive me crazy. It was good for my creativity. I learned new ways to communicate with others over Discord and virtual meeting apps. If being a writer means yoga pants and back porch office hours, I’m in.
The Journey of a million words
One of the best things about Scrivener is its ability to keep track of your total word count in each project. I wrote nearly a quarter million words in 2020! Speaking of 2020 writing goals and my progress, that’s a new record for me. Between my work for an online magazine, submissions to several writing contests, my blog, my 2020 NaNoWriMo project, and materials for writing workshops I conducted, I was busy! And I still think I could have done more.
One of the things I am most proud of accomplishing was the 150K word storytelling effort for an online character I created. It was the first time I plotted, coordinated, and meticulously carried out a collaborative storytelling effort involving eight writers over a four month serialized story arc. I gained some wonderful tools utilizing role-play and co-writing, grew exponentially as a plotter and storyteller, and made some creative friendships that I know I will have forever. It was work that rarely felt like work and showed me that, yes… this is what I am meant to be doing with my life.
Not Every Step Was In The Right Direction
When it comes to my 2020 writing goals and my progress, not all of it was in the right direction. One of the downsides to putting so much time and effort into the online magazine was that my own personal writing goals took a back seat. I devoted more time and energy to building someone else’s dream than creating my own. As a result, my own projects received little attention in 2020 because so much of my focus was on the collaborative writing project.
While the mistake was definitely worth making, it is not one I care to repeat, so I am proceeding more carefully for 2021. While ideas may be infinite, time is certainly not. You only have so many hours to put toward your dream each day, each month, each year. It is very important that you remain aware of each investment you make and what the return on your investment should look like.
Two Roads Diverged in a wood
If 2019 was a year of convergences, 2020 was a year of partings.
My podcast, Method and Muse, decided to take a potentially permanent hiatus. Several members wanted more time to focus on writing instead of doing the podcast. Although it wasn’t affecting my writing efforts, it was still a difficult decision to make. I’m grateful for the time we spent doing it. I learned that the only thing I like nearly as much as writing is talking about writing and helping others be successful at the craft of writing.
Also in the partings column, I left an online collaborative writing project that received the lion’s share of my writing energies and efforts for a year. Since I left mid-September, my creativity has been off the charts. My fan base has grown, my word count is up, and more doors have opened for me because I’ve invested my best efforts back into myself. It was another difficult choice, but in the clarity of midwinter, definitely the right one to make.
It’s still early, but so far, those divergences have made quite the difference.
With endings come beginnings. In stepping back from one collaborative project, I was able to make room for a new one. Fresh ideas, new people, less restrictive creative environment… all good things.
The past year I invested with the collaborative writing project had one very huge area of payout for me. I dusted off my marketing and graphic design skillset and put those abilities to good use making promotional graphics for myself any others.
In addition to that, I utilized those skills to rebuild my entire website. I am beyond pleased with the results! Writers are not coders, and I am far from a website professional. But I am proud of how I have grown in this area of adjacent skills to support my writing career. I created all the content on my website: posts, graphics, headers, post pages, design elements. It makes me feel good to know that I’m ending 2020 with an author website that I am proud to present to fans, agents, and publishers.
Perhaps 2020 did not go as planned, but I can certainly say that I made the most of it and turned even the negative into something positive by year’s end. That’s as good a place to begin the new year as any.
Did you miss the First Day of Scrivmas? Catch up here.
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