Looking Back – Writing, Reading, and Merely Trying To Exist in 2020

Ah 2020… Where do we even begin? It came. It went. It swept past in an instant, yet it also lasted four thousand billion years. And in a way, it’s not even over yet.

I figured I’d take this opportunity to look back and have a think about how 2020 went for me. It’s a thing I’ve started to do recently – not just when we turn the calendar – but looking back at where I’ve come from, what I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished and where I’ve failed can be a very valuable exercise. It reminds me that I’m capable, that work pays off, and that I can only blame myself when it doesn’t.

In case you don’t know me, let me tell you that my wife and I have been living apart for a while. Don’t worry, we still love each other – I just got a cool job. And early in 2020 we were looking forward to spending some time together for a couple of weeks. *BAM!* Cue the pandemic and lockdown. Suddenly my wife didn’t have a job to go back to, I was working from home, and our three weeks together became three glorious months.

Not going to lie – lockdown has been kind to me. I am (can be, at least) very introverted, and am happy to sit inside and enjoy a book, a movie, a video game, a TV series, or play my guitar for hours. Not being able to go out for drinks or socialize that much hasn’t really been an issue for me, because a lot of my socializing happens online anyway. I empathize with people struggling though, and understand the toll it must take on your mental health when it starts affecting your work and your relationships with the people you hold close.

At first, I was very happy with the idea of having tons of time to write. Unfortunately – due to many different circumstances (but mostly the pandemic) a few of my writing-related things kept getting postponed and delayed. I planned to release two books last year. In the end I managed one – the psychological thriller A State of Despair, which I am incredibly proud of! The other one is still on hold.

Instead of working on that, I spent a lot of time writing short stories and micro fiction, drafted two new novellas, and revised and edited some future novels. Two of my short stories were accepted (and I hope to be able to share more about them soon!) and one was picked out as an honorable mention in Tory Hunter’s New Year’s Writing Contest (scroll down a bit and you’ll find it). But I probably submitted several dozen short stories to various magazines, anthologies and websites, and with the exception of a few I’m still waiting to hear back about, all of them were rejected. It’s important to take the good with the bad though – and the glory of those couple of acceptances far surpasses the disappointments.

All in all, I’m very happy with my writing in 2020. I’ve gotten a lot of words down and I’ve kept producing things even when my projects were delayed. I’ve also been featured on a couple of podcasts, been interviewed for a few websites, and seen a lot more readers come to join me here on my site. I’m heading into 2021 with some very exciting thing on the horizon, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Completely unrelated to all of this, is the fact that 2020 was the year I started running. In 2019 I started a weight loss journey, and when lockdown made it difficult to get some regular exercise, I bought a pair of running shoes and just went for it. Since mid-2019 I’ve lost 32 kg / 70 lbs, and I’ve gone from running a 10k in 72 minutes in early 2020 to a 10k in 53 minutes now. I am actual super proud of the fact that I managed to become a person who runs – because believe me! – it can be a bitch sometimes.

But 2020 was supposed to my our year of travel. My wife and I had for years talked about going to Australia to see some friends, and we had finally gotten around to buying the tickets. That was 1 of 6 or 7 trips that went down the drain – on top of one to a wedding and a stag-do, and several to see family. Though I’m happy to sit at home, as mentioned above, it felt like a defeat every time we knew our plans went out the window. And to be honest – the future looks very bleak on that front at the moment as well.

I think I need to stop now – because I realize I have far too much to say about 2020 than I intended when I started this. All things considered, it’s definitely not as bad as it could have been – and I’m proud of what I accomplished despite everything. But I sure as hell – like all the rest of you, presumably – hope for a better 2021.

How was your 2020? Hang on – that’s a stupid question – but did anything nice happen? Or should we rather not talk about it? If you do, you know where to find me!

2021 here we come!

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