2020 has been a rough one. Hell, there’s seven days left for it to really wreck us, so keep your guard up.
The routine that got thoroughly disrupted was my writing routine. Starting in 2019, I got up every morning at 5:30 (weekends included), showered, dressed, got in the car, and wrote until about 7:30, when I went to work. I wrote 93,778 words in 2019.
That’s a full-length novel by itself. In the context of The Wire Road, it’s a real big chunk, but not all of it.
Being able to look back on my statistics and see that I wrote so much—while still holding down a full-time job—was really heartening. It showed me I could do this. (Ninety-three thousand.)
2020 was a different beast. January was five thousand, February three and a half thousand. Then lockdown. No childcare, no working at the office, no going anywhere. I didn’t have my routine, because none of us had routine. We all scrambled to function.
There were four months I never even opened Scrivener.
(Those months were March, April, July, and October. March and April because of lockdown. July because of vacation. October because of day job requirements.)
So my total words produced cratered from 93k to 15k, but it didn’t hit zero. I count that as a win. My average words per day dropped by about a third, but that’s neither surprising nor discouraging. Because again, neither of them is zero.
I kept working on The Wire Road, and I’ll keep working on it, until it’s done. This is what I want to do. It’s in my blood. Seeing these statistics and being able to quantify the effect the year’s chaos had, seeing that it didn’t stop me after all, that’s a comfort in a time devoid of comfort.
For a lot of us, we will look back on 2020 and say We survived.
There are too many who didn’t.
I hope when you look back on your year, you find hidden victories, too.
The President-elect said something several years ago, on July 4, speaking to gold star families who lost loved ones in military service. He said, “One day, the memories of your loved ones will bring a smile to your face before it brings a tear to your eye.”
We just have to survive until we can smile again.