What a year. Let’s begin with a rundown of what I intended to write, versus what I actually wrote.
In December 2019, my writing plan was:
Land of the Free (novel)
The Ghost King (novel)
Pulling in Leviathan (novel)
Throughout 2020, here is what I actually wrote:
Intersection Thirteen (novel)
The Five Kingdoms of Daniel Worthy (series of five novellas)
Beati Qui Inveniunt Feles (novella)
Shiny (flash fiction)
Chronicles of Ytria novellas
One’s Own Medicine
A Just War
The Roots and the Spiderweb
The Small Things
All My Dreams
Voyage Redux novellas
Blind Lead (incomplete)
One important thing I have discovered during 2020 is that my physical fitness activities contribute significantly to my ability to concentrate deeply, something I need to do in order to write anything at all, from fiction to blog posts. The majority of the above writing occurred from late April through mid-July. That period of time was a sweet spot for me.
I began the year uncertain if I even wanted to publish The Other. At the time, my lower back injury was still fresh (only about three months young) and a lot of my late-2019 energy had been spent figuring out how to overcome that. I was also growing discouraged once more by the whole business of editing and publishing, at least until Alex convinced me in February to continue on with it. That was when I scheduled the book’s release date and finally got everything prepared.
March and April became the months of transitioning my work from “at office” to “at home,” which ate up a considerable amount of energy, but by the end of April, all the forces had aligned for a writing binge. I had acquired kettlebells, and so I began my attempt to stave off strength loss through high-volume training. That turned out not to work, but I didn’t know that at the time, and it was physical activity I could dedicate myself to. With all my favorite extracurricular activities shut down, that left an enormous amount of time to write. I published The Other and knocked out drafts of everything listed above, save for All My Dreams, which I wrote in September, and Adaptive Response, which I wrote earlier this month.
August and September brought numerous shocks. They contained my first experience of learning someone close to me had been exposed to the virus, suffocating wildfire smoke causing my husband me to have to seal ourselves up in an un-air-conditioned and unventilatable apartment for over a week, and a doctor prescribing me an unnecessary medicine that turned out to cause cold symptoms and immunosuppression. Thanks, doc! You might have called out those risks, given the current ‘pandemic’ thing that’s been disrupting your entire profession, oh and, um, killing people.
I had just reached the other side of those challenges and gotten into a good grove on my blog again when the governor of Washington State announced that everyone needed to do their part to slow the spread of coronavirus infections, and by “everyone,” he meant the owners and patrons of gyms and bars. Literally everyone else got to keep doing whatever they wanted. I couldn’t solve that one with kettlebell exercises, because experience from lockdown part one had already taught me that that didn’t work. So, I had to double down and make myself a home gym. By the time I reached the other side of that escapade, we had reached December, when I realized I had become very behind on editing Intersection Thirteen for publication and spent the remaining month of 2020 doing just that and finishing off Chronicles of Ytria with Adaptive Respnonse.
In terms of my writing, 2020 was a productive year. Despite the numerous shocks and challenges, I very much appreciate that broad stretch of months where I was able to be more productive than at any point ever before.