When I think about 2020 my gut reaction is the entire year was a write-off. There’s a feeling I was unproductive and merely existed for 365 days. But as I started planning goals for the new year, I realized I accomplished more than I thought.
I had 3 new short stories published on Kendall Reviews, a poem was accepted in the charity anthology It Came From The Darkness, for the first time I sat on the editing side of an anthology for Black Dogs, Black Tales, and I completed my NaNoWriMo project in November. I also received great feedback from publishers on my first completed novel, and although they ultimately rejected my submission, they gave me encouragement and advice on where to submit to next. (It’s currently out with another publisher, patiently waiting for a response.) Then there were the 48 books I read, most of which I wrote full reviews for, plus I started a new weekly column on Kendall Reviews called Scary’s Voices where I review horror podcasts. (Links below if you want to know more about any of these projects.) Not bad for a year best described as a dumpster fire.
So why do I have an unshakable feeling that I wasted the whole year?
The more I thought about it the clearer the answer became – none of those accomplishments were goals and I wasn’t consciously tracking my progress on anything, it was just stuff I did.
For a bunch of reasons and excuses, I didn’t plan out my 2020, and the result was me floating around in a sea of possibilities. Drifting around not knowing what I should be working on is like being in my personal hell. Yes, I completed things I should be proud of, but for the most part I was completely aimless.
So, after having almost an entire year of no schedule it’s no wonder I felt like I did nothing in 2020! There were only 2 things I set as actual goals last year: read 50 books and complete the first draft of a new novel in November. And, shocker, those were the two things I could recall completing (well, I was 2 books short for my reading goal, but that’s close enough for me).
Because I really don’t want to have that horrible, unanchored feeling again, this week I went into scheduling hyperdrive, setting out all my goals for 2021. Some of the things I want to accomplish are writing 10 new poems, 6 short stories, NaNoWriMo, completely editing a previous NaNoWriMo project, and finishing the first drafts of 4 half-completed novels.
It’s an aggressive plan, and I honestly don’t expect to check off every single task I’ve set out for myself, but I feel comforted in knowing what I want to do and being able to see the steps I need to accomplish them. I’m striving for progress, not perfection, and with my road map set out for the year, I’m already feeling 2021 will be a good one!
As for this blog, I’m planning to bring you 4 posts a month – a writing update, a book review, a movie review, and a monthly reading summary. Sharing what I’ve been up to motivates me to get more done, and hopefully it’s also entertaining. So, I hope you’ll join me again next week!
2020 Project Links
My short stories on Kendall Reviews:
Valentine’s Day horror “Shackles”
Isolation Tales series “The Crate”
Halloween horror “Gourd-Man”
It Came From The Darkness, charity anthology https://redcapepublishing.com/anthologies/
Black Dogs, Black Tales, charity anthology Amazon.com
Horror podcast recommendations on Scary’s Voices
And feel free to connect with me on GoodReads