“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.
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.
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.
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?