In spite of 2020

It goes without saying: 2020 has impacted us all. For many writers, that impact has manifested in a whole range of ways, changing productivity, creativity, opportunity and drive. Over the past few months on Twitter, I’ve read posts by writers who’ve written more than ever since 2020 struck. Some writers have managed to write whole books in their time being furloughed, and agents and writing competitions have been swamped with more wonderful submissions than ever before. But, despite all this, I have found the dominant trend within my writing circles reflects a very different 2020.

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January 2020: New year, new decade, big writing resolutions! The plan was laid out – whether it was writing a first draft, editing, training or submitting – we were all set to make our goals happen.

February 2020: Into the swing of things! Good progress by one and all towards achieving those writing goals … so long as we didn’t let the news distract us …

March 2020: Shock. Fear. Absolutely no way to focus on anything beyond obsessively checking infection rates, death tolls and ever-changing guidelines on how to stay safe. No writing whatsoever because all non-Covid thoughts were on hold.

April 2020: Lockdown. As the weeks crawled by, we try to write in the moments that we’d carved out for writing. The words were stilted, the sentences jarred, but it was better to force those ideas onto the page than not to bother … wasn’t it?

May 2020: Lockdown. Every. Word. Counted. Even. If. It. Took. An. Hour. To. Write. Two. Sentences.

June 2020: What were the rules? Was it safe to go out? And, now that we were questioning things: what was this drivel that we’d written over the last few months?

I should add that this month also contained a particular non-writing low for me when I was stopped at the entrance to a shopping mall and asked my age because over-60s were not allowed in!!! (I am 43)

July 2020: Adapting to ‘the new normal’ and, also, HOORAY: the drivel wasn’t drivel! In fact, our books had potential. So many ideas suddenly sparking! Where to begin?

August 2020: The new normal was changing week by week, but we could handle it because, not only was our writing flowing, but the whole writing world felt more alive. Twitter feeds of book deals, up-coming releases, authors signing with agents, competitions, mentoring, writers reaching out to writers, new opportunities …

September 2020: In spite of 2020, we’re going to make our goals happen.

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Does this resonate with you, or are you one of the miraculous writers who managed to channel 2020 stress into productive writing throughout? If so, HOW? I’d love to know!

In the meantime, best wishes for a happy, healthy September with all the writing success that you could hope for. And remember, if you need support to develop, refine and elevate your WIP, I’m here to help.

Happy writing!

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