The year of COVID-19 has been bemoaned at great length, platitudes and cliches abound. I want to take a different tack. Not that I want to pretend it was all good, we’ve all had our fair share of misery, myself not excluded. However, enough has been written about that by others. 2020 has been a great year for contemplation. Without the need to run around doing this and that in weekends, without the stress of the daily commute, without the noise, I could hear myself think again.
In that silence, I've been reassessing what I'm spending my time on and why. And whether I want to keep doing those things going forward. Are they bringing me joy and energy? Do I still feel the passion I had when I started with those activities? I realised I miss writing. Sure, I write all day. Work requires communication, I'm typing all day. If it's not program code, it's short messages in chats with co-workers or the occasional email. I prepare presentations and author technical documentation. What I somehow stopped doing though is the kind of writing I enjoy most: writing fiction.
So by the end of 2020, I made a decision. I am going to write fiction again.
Ever since I made the decision, I've been writing for at least an hour every day. It's so much fun to let the mind wander, invent characters, settings, stories and see how they develop. I want to seriously develop my talents and skills. There's a wealth of books about writing to learn from. I've joined an online writers community to learn from other writers.
To make time for all this I'm going to have to sacrifice some of the activities I used to fill my spare time with. I already wasn’t wasting any time on social media, and watched little television, so I had to look harder to find ways to make time. Again, this was made easy due to the lockdown, there really wasn't much else to do anyway. Realising how little I actually miss doing all those things, I decided I can keep not doing many of those things once the lockdown lifts.
I have also repurposed this website, which was previously my slightly outdated resume, but from now on will be dedicated to my writing. I will publish shorter stories here, and share what I'm doing or planning.
So here’s the plan for this year:
In 2021 I'll write 6 stories. These will be "long short stories", or novelettes. Not a common format, but I figure it'll give me some room to explore various sub-genres of science-fiction and play around with various techniques to tell a story. By the end of 2021, I will publish a bundle of at least four of these novelettes as e-books for the major platforms, and probably with an on-demand print edition as well. This will be an exercise to get familiar with the process; working with an editor, commission a cover design, interact with the various platforms and everything else. But it is as much about getting my writing out there and finding an audience.
Meanwhile, I'm also writing some bits of flash fiction and a short story or two, to flex the writing muscle. As the year progresses, I will probably publish some of those on my website or elsewhere. When I do, I'll be sure to post about it here.
Looking ahead even further, next year I have my debut novel planned. A while ago I wrote a bit of flash fiction, and my imagination keeps pulling me back to that world. There is much more to that story than I wrote down in that short story, and I feel it deserves an entire novel to explore the world and its characters. But that's for next year!
Thanks for having a look at my new, revamped website and hopefully you'll be back. You can subscribe to the atom feed at the bottom of these pages or sign up for the monthly newsletter.
Stay safe and have a quiet, contemplative year!