Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Carolyn Wilhelm

In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives.
Carolyn Wilhelm is up next.

Happiness is 2020 in the Rearview Mirror

Dear Readers,

Everyone must be looking forward to seeing 2020 in the rearview mirror. Hopefully, 2021 will be a much better new year. 2020 has felt like we were living in a different country.

2020 began with my local writing group finalizing an adoption anthology manuscript for me to format and upload to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. While working on it, I was still blissfully unaware of the coming pandemic. In Minneapolis and waiting for a grandchild to be born in Seattle during the spring of 2020, we stayed home in case of any needed travel.

Seattle became a “hot spot” for the virus, as we all remember. In February, our neighbor was going to travel there for her great-aunt’s birthday when the airline sent her a voucher and announced the flight was canceled. Oh, so now what? We never did schedule our April flight and have yet to see our grandson in person.

Minnesota’s first elementary school to close after people tested positive just happened to be the one where I was volunteering weekly. Volunteers were the first to be told to say home. The information hit close to home, as did news about Seattle.

With nothing but time on our hands, you would think my husband and I (both writers) would work on manuscripts. Instead, we stayed glued to the TV as we followed the news. Worry, not creativity, filled our brains. I’m sure readers can relate!

Finally, life is coming back into focus, and we can see ahead a few months. Dear readers, I hope you are also beginning to see the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, although it is not over. We are not out of the woods as yet, of course.

What is a writer to do?
1.       Write
When stress is high, smaller writing pieces are useful as they required less energy. Dust off older works that were begun and dropped. Find files to save or finally trash. Expect less of yourself. Be kind to yourself.
2.       List
List ideas for when life is brighter and ideas begin to flow, even if you can’t work on them at this time.
3.       Read
Checking on Goodreads, I was surprised I have read over 100 books in 2020. Notice plots, characters, and words when reading. It is sure to be a positive impact on writing at some point.
4.       Listen
Listen to stories as you talk to people on Zoom or the phone. Some writing ideas stem from conversations.
5.       Think
There has undoubtedly been more time to think, plan, and wonder if you have been part of a lockdown or quarantine in recent months.
6.       Review
Do you remember books from high school or even from reading to your children? What stands out? Reviewing such older books on Goodreads is an idea for short writes and documenting favorite reads.  
7.       Absorb
Walk in nature, listen to music, tend plants, and take more time to appreciate what is going well despite living through this extraordinary time. Our brains do need some down-time.  

I hope everyone has a much better new year!
Thank you for reading, Carolyn

Carolyn Wilhelm
is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY.


Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn W, so sorry you haven't been able to see your new grandson yet. Maybe this summer you can - if things quite down.
Ha, I did the opposite during 2020: I didn't watch the news and fortunately had enough work to just keep writing.
Love your writing tips for 2021!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Thank you for this New Year reminder, Carolyn. And the good wishes for 2021. My first job this year is to go through the piles of stuff on my desk and pitch what I know I will never get around to doing, file most of the rest. And review your list again on the first!
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

deborah lyn said...

Thanks Carolyn, we do have high hopes for 2021! Thanks for great writer's tips!

lastpg said...

Thank you, Carolyn. Your list is a great help. You got a lot accomplished in 2020 despite the challenges! I look forward to reading your posts and work in 2021!

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