I had a different idea for this blog earlier in the week, but I woke up this morning exhausted. I am however, going to consider the events of the last day remnants of 2020 rather than attributing them to 2021. Despite the craziness, I still have hope for 2021, and I’m planning accordingly.
I have some concrete writing goals for 2021. As a professional writer, I have to. That means, as a rule, I have to find a way to work through the hard days. Hard days happen, whether we are facing personal challenges or reacting to events that impact an entire community. Granted, a global pandemic is quite a bit more than a hard day as we’ve had to adapt nearly every aspect of our lives in response. Similarly, civil or global unrest fosters a sense of disquiet that can last far beyond a bad day.
So, how do we approach our professional lives in the face of such unprecedented challenges?
Recalibrate and re-engage.
When we get sick, we need to take care of ourselves first. When we feel better, we can rework our schedule, re-engage, and move forward. The pandemic required us to recalibrate on a much larger scale, but we did it. We learned to use Zoom, we tightened our budgets, we had socially distanced cocktail parties and barbeques, and we continued to create. Maybe at first, we were shell-shocked. I know my productivity was impacted, but eventually we adapted. We recalibrated our approach and we reengaged. We’ve proved time and again that we are creative, resilient, and strong, and that we will weather the storm.
Have your box of tools ready.
I think we all need a toolbox we can pull from when we need to, whether it’s to get us through a minor personal crisis or a world-wide epidemic. There are days when the tool we need is a yoga class, and days when it’s wine, chocolate, and pajamas. Our community of friends, the good habits we have to support our health, comfort food, a walk in the woods, a good book, a good therapist – these are all potential tools in our box, ready for us to call on when we have need. Some days, the best thing we can do for ourselves is call it and go to bed. Some days, we need to power through. If we get in the habit of listening to our inner voice, and honoring it, we may find we get to the other side of our bad day more quickly.
Storytelling is important.
As storytellers, we have a vital role in society and culture. Words have power. Stories offer differing perspectives and allow us to experience things outside our own lives or comfort zones. While I firmly believe that our first and only obligation as fiction writers is to tell a good story, we do have an opportunity to tackle issues, to offer insight, and to explore the human condition. The act of creating can be healing, for the writer and for the reader. We create with words. We connect through words. Never doubt that our job is important.
So, let’s all set our goals for the New Year. Let’s do it to show we are resilient and strong. Let’s remember the lessons we’ve learned from 2020, and walk forward with courage and hope.