The year 2020 started out not too shabby as far as writing goes. Sure, I was experiencing some turbulence post-launch getting used to my hobby being public. (Is anyone else intimidated by Goodreads?) But I admit I tend to be hard on myself. The Inquirer was already in its second print; I had twelve more events in the works at bookstores, schools, and libraries; and a new book idea had finally percolated long enough that I was putting words to page again. Then, well, 2020 happened.
By my former standard, I wouldn’t have said I was one of those creative people who was productive in isolation under the stress of the pandemic and all it’s rippling effects. Reflecting on the year as one often does in that space between Boxing Day and New Years, I summarized some writing takeaways to share in lieu of a substantial chunk of creative writing. None of these takeaways were revelations but this year emphasized their value.
- I can’t force a creative writing project, but that doesn’t mean I should stop writing. My creative writing ideas need to percolate, like the previously mentioned new book idea. However, even fiction is complicated by a pandemic, especially a novel set in the modern-day medical field. I did start on another new book idea, but it too was set aside after personal hardships that I need to process before sharing here or exploring in novel form. After far too long, I reverted to a third project, a book I am writing for my son. Progress has been slow but it’s fun again.
- Technical writing is still writing and I enjoy it (usually). As I talk about in My Other Writing, I am also a technical writer. I didn’t do a lot of creative writing in 2020 but I did a lot of technical writing. While formatting instructions and researching informational pieces may sound boring to some (okay, most), I’m good at it, it pays the bills, and it’s been a way to help others and stay connected during isolation. Being set up to work from home already, we at Scriptorium were able to help clients cultivate remote work for their employees and to provide essential services remotely.
- Even writing never meant to be read is valuable. I’m not a diary-keeper or blogger (I don’t count my sporadic writer’s notes or contributions to others’ blogs), but I do write non-fiction for no one else to read. Like with 99% of my writing, I start in pencil before transferring it to the screen where it undergoes a rigorous editing process. However, these eulogies of sorts aren’t shared or even saved. For me, they are a part of grieving and were a large part of 2020.
Reflection revealed I was more productive with my writing than I had thought, even if it wasn’t how I had planned or hoped. Though I write this in 2021, I am very aware that 2020 was less than a week ago. So this year my new year’s writing resolution isn’t measurable in pages, publication credits, or document numbers. I’m not going to try to make up for lost time. My resolution is to keep the above writing takeaways in mind, to let the love and gift of the written word be a familiar, controllable factor in the new year when so much else is still uncertain.