Year Five

December 10, 2020 marks the five-year anniversary of this writing project, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to recount a year in a writer’s life. There’s probably a joke to make about celebrating the “wood” anniversary for a book, but I don’t have much in the creative tank tonight.

For many of us, 2020 friggin’ sucked. We’re living through trauma, and so many things made us sad, stressed, or depressed. I write because I want to bring joy to other people, and it was damn hard to summon that joy to the page this year. My emotions ran the gamut, from grief to anger to fear to outrage.

  • We lost some key figures from my childhood (David Prowse, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Trebek, Sean Connery) and my adulthood (RBG, Chadwick Boseman, Ian Holm)
  • Pandemic….well, everything, including anti-maskers who I just don’t understand
  • I started working from home (for what will end up being more than a year)
  • Watched my city, Minneapolis, descend into chaos after the murder of George Floyd
  • We had my wife’s teaching role and my younger son’s special education turned upside down by the pandemic
  • We watched two people younger than us succumb to cancer
  • My wife was in a car accident that sent her to the ER and totaled our older son’s car
  • And for crying out loud, so many Presidential shenanigans

Some of these inspired writing (Whatcha writing during isolation?, Privilege in a time of chaos and injustice, Squeezing in writing time), which is good because I really struggled to work on my novels in the first half of the year. I can’t recall whether I’ve had this much trouble writing before.

But any day I can write one word is a good day, and there were plenty of days that exceeded that. I did make some good progress. During the research for this post, I discovered that I accomplished more than I suspected. Here’s a few highlights:

  • Get Project Two moving, which is Samor’s first story. Including some passages that already existed, it’s up over 60,000 words.
  • Did a ton more…dot-connecting, seed-planting – I don’t know what to call it – work across books to create consistency and connectedness-ness. Ness.
  • Killed the series of posts that tested a journaling format. I’ve never been able to keep a journal going.
  • Queried literary agents (I’m 0-5-2*)
  • Stopped querying agents. I think we all need life to get a bit closer to normal again.
  • Started testing a progress tracker to publicly display which projects I’m working on.
  • Tried reviving a humorous series of posts about typos. Meh.
  • Planted a bug in a friend’s ear for a writing project, should he ever want to pick up the pen again.
  • I explored a new piece of creative fiction: Oh, You Just Sat Down and Wrote?

* I had one agent inform me she no longer repped fantasy and the other resigned in a mass exodus of agents and writers from an agency. So, these were not NOs, and I’m counting them as ties. I believe ties go to the writer, right?

As much as 2020 felt like it was regularly punching me in the gut, it’s nice to reflect on some good things. Even better, I like saying, “I’m working on my second novel.”

I hope you’re able to find some joy in your writing, too. I’m ready to start 2021 now.

–Mike


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© Michael Wallevand, December 2020

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