What I Learned 2020

“What I learned in 2020” could be a joke. Sadly, last year’s problems will continue for a while. But I am a writer. And a business woman. A review of my year is still necessary.


a tree with circles instead of leaves and words like goals, ideas, strategy, marketing, etc in the circles--what I learned is to do a little of each

I use a couple of systems blended together to record and track my intentions each year. (If you need help creating your yearly plan try Orna Ross’s Go Creative.) I divide my intentions into four primary areas: Make (anything creative), Manage (anything business related), Market (advertising and anything related to advertising), and Home (everything else.) Last year started with an extensive list of intentions. By the end of the year, I thought I’d failed most of them.

I always think I’ve failed to accomplish the things I wanted to do at the end of the year. Therefore, I regularly review my intentions and what I do and don’t accomplish.


The Make portion of my intentions consumed 66% of my time. This came very close to fulfilling my intentions.

The plan was to finish the first draft, the revision draft, and publish If I Should Die, book two of the Fellowship Dystopia. I also included a stretch goal of outlining a novella and the next book in the Fellowship Dystopia. 

Did. Not. Fulfill those intentions. But I finished the first draft, created a revision draft outline, and had 25,000 words on the revision draft by the end of December. 

Also on the Make list was blogging three times a week. I got 94% of the posts done and online. 

What I learned in 2020 is that being preoccupied by pandemics and protests and national issues, revision takes more time.


image of a yellow street sign with the word project on it. The O in project is a maze with an arrow showing the entry and an arrow showing the exit. What I've learned is that most projects are a maze of intentions and getting things done

This area includes reading, production, statistics, website stuff, learning, and general office chores. It took approximately 23% of my time.

I purchased new artwork.

 Learning about ads and blurb writing and refining some writing skills were high on my intentions list. I completed 63% of the online classes I had intended to finish.

I read 66% of fiction books and 50% of the nonfiction I had intended to read. Ouch!

I did not finish setting up my new mail service and did not get newsletters changed over to the service. 

For my website, I had intended to revise the front page and add a couple of new pages. Those things did not get done. I kept up with updating plugins and the content management system.

What I learned in 2020 was that I had to recover some time. I reduced the time I spent on Social Media. And I didn’t watch the news. And I could focus better.


wordie with digital marketing in the center and sales activities surrounding it

My marketing intentions were small, as I only have two books to advertise. Trying out the various platforms and learning how to use digital ads took about 11% of my working time.

An ads class taught me how to advertise my books on Amazon.

I spent a lot of time studying blurbs and blurb writing.

A contest helped boost my newsletter membership.

Thanks to a friend, I appeared on the Mysterious Goings On podcast hosted by Alex Greenwood. My episode was fun thanks to the wonderful host.

What I learned in 2020 is that marketing is a whole ‘nuther skill.


I spent a lot of my energy, both physical and emotional, on the home front during 2020. (Are you surprised?)

My husband spent January in the hospital and a rehab center. February brought hours of doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and caregiving.

March brought the world a pandemic and self-quarantine. Just call me FaceTime Grandma.

July through September, my son renovated my large yard. He removed two overgrown (5-6 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide), old and scraggly bushes. Filled low areas of the yard with wheelbarrows full of soil. He verticut and re-seeded the lawn. I watered and watered and watered it.

Also in July, my 15-year-old Yorkie, Astro, became very ill. We eased his suffering and euthanized him on August 8th.

Car problems plagued us. The squirrels ate my Toyota Wheelchair van’s wiring. And my Suzuki needed a new ball-arm joint.

A friend died of cancer in December.

I learned to roll with the punches. And I learned that good happened amongst the bad. My husband’s health is stable for the first time in six years. 

What I Learned in 2020

I am human. I care about other people and the country. So I learned to acknowledge that caring takes energy. Even remote in quarantine, caring.

I learned to be kind to myself. Finding an hour or two of personal time each day became one of my priorities. That meant I would not meet some of my intentions. What I learned in 2020 was to be okay with taking care of myself during this unprecedented time. Did you learn to take care of yourself during 2020? 

One of the First Women on the National Ski Patrol

Empowered women come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and interests. Patty (Tasker) Morris is such a woman. We know little about Patty. But we know she was, if not the first, one of the first women on the National Ski Patrol.

image of a single track from skis coming down the mountain-a symbol for One of the First Women on the National Ski Patrol

First Skis

Patty Tasker got her first pair of skis from her father when she was five. In the early 1900s, people who loved to ski joined Ski Clubs. Resorts were rare and ski lifts were nonexistent. You climbed the mountain you wanted to ski. But Patty didn’t mind. She loved to ski. She said, “I didn’t like to ever take them off.”

At 18, Patty moved from Brattleboro to Burlington, Vermont, in the late 1930s to work for the government. In 1937, a friend of Patty’s kept telling her about a man named Winston “Win” Morris. 

Meeting “Win”

They met in March of that year. In April they had their first date—on the mountain and on skis.

Winston “Win” Morris was among the first ski patrollers of the Mount Mansfield Ski Club in Stowe, Vermont. That club established one of the first US ski patrols around 1935. Eventually that grew into the National Ski Patrol. When asked about how his ski date with Patty went, he claimed she wore him out.

One of the First

image of two ski patrollers taking an injured person downhill on a sled-One of the First Women on the National Ski Patrol

Patty and Morris married. They both served as NSP Patrollers. Patrollers at Stowe were mostly men, but there were some women. The women served as full NSP Patrollers. So Patty may not have been the very first woman on the NSP, but she probably was the youngest.

Patty’s husband eventually served in WW II. A jeep collision severely injured his legs. He never downhill skied again.

Patty skied for 77 years. She quit skiing when she was 82. 

The National Ski Patrol

The National Ski Patrol is the largest non-urban rescue organization in the world. A seven-minute interview done March 12, 2013 details how the NSP came into existence. 

Patrollers respond to accidents, provide first aid, and transport the injured. For many years, the NSP collected data on ski accidents and developed safety protocols. Read more about the NSP on their website.


Patty (Tasker) Morris isn’t a public figure. Little information is available about her life. She gave her last known interview in 2012 at 93. That recording appears to be unavailable today.

We know she was one of the first women on the National Ski Patrol. Most likely she was the youngest female patroller. An avid skier, an octogenarian skier, Patty was a strong woman who empowered herself. Tip of the hat to Patty (Tasker) Morris.

Bring in the New Year with Great First Lines

It’s the first Friday of the brand new year. Let’s bring in the New Year with great reads. For this First Lines Friday, I’m sharing recently released books. New books for a new year. Would you buy or read any of these?

image of the book cover, Branches has a tree with branches aflame-one of the samples of great first lines

I’m standing at the water’s edge when the phone call comes, sand to my ankles, sinking deeper with each advance of the waves breaking on the beach.

Branches by Adam Peter Johnson

image of book cover for anomaly one with an astronaut standing on a dark planet-one of the samples of great first lines

Fronson felt alive. The adrenaline had yet to subside.

Anomaly One: Book One of the Singer of Days by Rick Krusky

image of book cover for The Quickening of Water--one of the samples of great first lines

The figure of the man came from the impossible.

The Quickening of Water: Book One of the Singer of Days by J. Andrew Evans

cover image of Inside Outside has wings on a cover half gray and half black-one of the samples of great first lines

Olivia drops down to one knee and waits in the shadows at the end of the street.

Inside Outside by Sharlie M. Riverton

cover image of Origins with giant green robot carrying a woman in his hand--one of the samples of great first lines

Jessica13 dreamed of adventure outside the bunker.

Origins: Bulletfoot Origins Book One by Marshal Rust

image of the cover of The Peripheral which is a yellow cover with an eyeball on it one of the samples of great first lines

They didn’t think Flynne’s brother had PTSD, but that sometimes the haptics glitched him.

The Peripheral Book one of The Jackpot Trilogy by William Gibson

image of cover of Jinxed has a cartoon style girl with a cat like creature on her shoulders-one of the samples of great first lines

She burst through the trees, cradling the creature in her arms.

Jinxed by Amy McCulloch

image of the cover of Leopard's rage with a woman's profile on it--one of the samples of great first lines

Sevastyan Amurov paced back and forth with long, angry strides, trying to rid his body of the dark, ugly, animalistic, moody edge his leopard brought along with his own bad temper.

Leopard’s Rage by Christine Feehan

A dystopian thriller

image of an epicot-type of structure with a park in front --one of the samples of great first lines

The coffin smelled of sulfur. 

Complex: Book one of Silent Beautiful Universe by A.D. Enderly

Bring in the New Year with Great First Lines

Wishes and traditions and resolutions aside—the new year offers possibilities. So my wish for you is to dream big and work hard toward making your dreams come true. Let’s make 2021 a better year no matter what trials and tribulations try to get away. And finally, I hope you bring in the new year with great first lines, reading a great book.