2020 in hindsight

2020 was the year I was going to get my shit together. I had big plans pertaining to writing again, after spending several years on and off trying without much success. I love writing, but I have often struggled to put that first word onto paper. Once that’s written down, the rest comes almost naturally, especially when I (think I) have a good idea in my head. Even if I get to this stage, I still struggle sometimes.
I started off alright this year, trying to write something almost every day. I got myself a cheap calendar from China that I would write down the word count for the day on. Because I did not want to be too strict on myself, I included notes and some other things here and there, to keep myself motivated. Maybe I didn’t have time to do much actual writing on a certain day, but I could make up for it by toying with some ideas that got scrapped 90% of the time, but turned into something great later. This is how I came up with both Elena and Faye. Faye is a character from my upcoming series of short stories, I hope you’re all looking forward to it, because I sure am.

Anyway, to make a long introduction short, the coronavirus started getting serious in my country around February. I remember the week where the schools started shutting down. I decided early in that week that I would skip school for a week, to see where the wind would blow. And lo and behold, four days later they announced that universities would be switching to online classes for the time being. It’s 2021 now, as of posting this, and this is still the case. I’ve honestly struggled with this a lot, as I tend to lose motivation quickly when I’m not around other people. I consider myself an introvert for sure, and I appreciate my quiet and my space, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that I do like to be around people from time to time. I mean, I’m a teacher, so I have to at least on some level like to help other people right?
What the coronavirus also did, is mess with my mental health quite a bit. It was already in a questionable place to begin with. I felt a lot better than the several years leading up to 2020, but it wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be yet. When the isolations started to set in a bit more I really started to notice my health slipping. I still have my teaching job and my job at the mail (for now, my internship ends soon), but I haven’t seen some of my friends for a long time now, and I’m starting to really miss that kind of stuff. I also haven’t seen my grandma since she moved into an old folks home. 

I started this website as a means to help myself get more motivated. Maybe receiving feedback on what I create will help me put in more time to write more, to keep the people who are enjoying the stories happy. So I started writing short stories, and I learned a lot from this. For starters, if I force myself to write something, I don’t think it ever reaches the quality that I think some of my better work is at. I know it’s tough to give yourself feedback, but if I look at my recent four stories I can clearly see which ones I knew what I was doing, and which ones I was working hard to be done on time. I think both Firedancer Elena, as well as the second part of Kaylirr’s Yin and Yang turned out quite well. Down the rabbit hole, as well as the first part of Kaylirr’s Yin and Yang definitely felt a lot more forced and uninteresting to me. I got good feedback on Kaylirr’s story though, and I’m excited to show you where I plan to take his character. My upcoming story, Dream Chaser Faye, also comes from a place of inspiration, and not from a place of forcing myself to be done in time. I do hope this turns out as well as Elena, I think the start I’ve written for it is quite interesting already.

Now that I’ve looked back at 2020, I think not all went poorly. I set a pretty low goal for myself at the start of the year; I wanted to write at least 100.000 words. This included blog posts, working on my stories and some notes and other things here and there. I wasn’t too strict on what I counted, writing is writing after all. While I am writing this text, which is on December 28th, 2020, I am currently sitting at 98,782 words with 3 days left in the year. That means I ended up cutting it pretty close. I do believe that I will make it, it’s only about 400 words a day left for three days, that should be doable. I still need to finish this blogpost as well as work on Dream Chaser Faye some more. From a writing perspective I would like to consider 2020 a mild success. There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement, but I think I did very well considering what kind of a year it was.

It is now time to look forward. 2021 will hopefully see the end of the Coronavirus, through the vaccine that is slowly being rolled out throughout Europe. It will also see the end of my current internship, in February. Maybe later, depending on how the start of the year goes. Right now everything is changing rapidly, so for all I know I will end up staying longer to help out and/or finish up some assignments.
From a writing point of view, I have high hopes for 2021, and big plans. Assuming at this point that I’ve reached 100,000 words at the end of 2021, I want to triple that this year. I want to write at least 300,000 words between January 1st and December 31st. A tough ask for sure, some quick math tells me that’s around 800 to 900 words per day. In some of my more productive months I’ve averaged around 500 to 600 words per day, for comparison. Will I make it? Maybe. Is this paragraph boring to read? Probably. What this boils down to, is that I will be challenging the heck out of myself this upcoming year, and I want everyone who reads this to do the same. Set high goals by your standard. Keep in mind that last bit, there’s no need to set goals that are above what you can do. Keep yourself motivated and remember that trying is never a waste of time, no matter if you reach the goals you set or not. It’s not about the progress you couldn’t make, but it’s about the progress you did make. What helps me is to find a fun way to keep track of your progress. For this upcoming year I bought the amazing calendar from the youtube channel Kurzgesagt. It looks super cool, and their content is amazing. I will be filling in each day with the amount of words I wrote that day, with the hopes of every single day having a higher number than the same day did in 2020. Maybe this year around I feel confident enough to even participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). But 50.000 words in a month still seems daunting. Regardless:

Happy 2021 everyone, and may you find whatever you are looking for this year.

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