Light at the end of the Tunnel

A week or so ago we realized that it’s been a whole year since our boys’ school closed for full in-person learning and my husband had his last day in the office. It was a sobering anniversary but now, especially as both my husband and I have received our first vaccine shots (yay!) and our boys are about to return to full in-person school (double yay!), it feels that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. You may recall my blog post talking about last year’s goals as deflated balloons, and it’s taken me up till now to even consider setting some new goals for 2021 (and I’m still super hesitant – don’t want to jinx 2021!).

I was doing some spring cleaning yesterday of what has become my makeshift office and art studio in the basement and soon discovered that I had painted a lot of paintings (like, a lot…) and though my writing output wasn’t terrific, it was heartening to think I had managed to revise one MS and submit it to my agent, and I made a start (of sorts) on a new MS. So things are definitely looking up:)…I think…

Now we’ve passed the grim one year milestone and I look ahead to the rest of the year, I’m torn between being hopeful and terrified at the same time. Do I dare to set ambitious writing goals? Do I assume that somehow the creativity switch can be reset and I’ll suddenly become super productive? I’m not sure I know yet how I’m going to feel about re-inflating all those balloons or what to do with the inordinate number of art projects I seem to have accumulated (and the lack of writing ones to accompany them!). Spring is definitely in the air, and I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it also feels a little like a deer in headlights moment.

How about your TKZers, how are you approaching your writing goals for this year?

20 thoughts on “Light at the end of the Tunnel

  1. I wish you luck, Clare. For me it’s full steam ahead. My characters blessed me with an unusual (for me) 7000 word day a couple of days ago. I hope to finish my 6th (clean) novel of the year (and the 9th in the current SF series) before the end of the quarter.

  2. Honestly, the pandemic isn’t affecting me as much as the previous political clime. Hubster and I are vaccinated. I’m much calmer (not that I’m unaware things are still a mess out there, but I feel more confident they’ll be fixed).
    I live in a relatively isolated area, rarely go out, which is no different from pre-COVID. In fact, I rather like having the excuse not to have to deal with people in person. I may continue this online ordering and curbside pickup for groceries for a long time.
    My writing goals are about the same – 2 novels this year. The difference I’ve noticed is I’m more willing to let bad stuff happen to my characters. The last two books leaned much more in the “cozy” direction.

    • Terry – that’s so interesting about moving away from the cozy direction…I haven’t necessarily noticed a change in what I’m willing (or not willing) to write about but I’m sure such a momentous event like the pandemic will filter through. I’m definitely calmer these days too:) Good luck for the year – 2 novels a year is a great accomplishment any time!

  3. 2020 was my most productive writing year ever, Clare. A few things aligned. First, I made a commitment to treat my book writing as a full-time business, not a sideline. For the previous 2 years, I was writing commercial web content. Second, I was mentored by someone who really knows the indie writing business. That took me to a whole new level. Third, I improved my output and increased my backlist – I added 6 more books to the inventory in 2020. Fourth, I believe the pandemic caused many people to discover e-reading and e-reader devices. Fifth, I “went wide” and published on Nook and Kobo besides Amazon – Kobo is amazing for international reach. Sixth, my based-on-true-crime-series found a niche that few compete in, and I can clearly see the read-through effect. Seventh, my skill and confidence improved, and that motivated me to keep on producing. In 2020, I had over 25,000 e-book downloads in 56 different countries so I’m claiming the title of international bestselling author. Now, if I can only rinse and repeat. BTW, Clare, thanks for sharing your 2020 and letting me share mine.

    • Garry – I’m so impressed! Sometimes things just align and I’m glad the outside turmoil of 2020 didn’t stop that from happening. I think you have everything lined up for a wonderful, productive, 2021!

  4. Hi, Clare

    The pandemic hit me like a ton of bricks. I was just transitioning into full time writing, and suddenly we were in lockdown, struggling to find groceries and other items for delivery and navigating a very different lifestyle. A year later my wife and I have been vaccinated (9 more days until we reach “full immune response from the 2nd dose) and things are looking different. (Though, like Terry above, I think online grocery ordering and home delivery or curbside pickup is here to stay for me.)

    I did release the final book in my urban fantasy series last year, The bigger change has been my transition into writing mysteries, which I began last fall, after a few months of returning to mysteries as a reader and viewer. Now, I’m revising my first library cozy, and looking toward the next book in the series. It’s been a huge learning curve, but feels so worthwhile.

    Like you, I’m now cautious around setting goals for this year. I have a beta reader group waiting for the library cozy, and the next one waiting in the wings. I’d like to produce three novels this year, the first three in this series, but I’m going to focus on each book as I write it and make a deadline for the current step in the process. So, I’d like to have a revised draft of this novel to beta readers by May 1st.

    Good luck with your own writing goals.

    • Dale, thanks for sharing your goals and experience last year. Sounds like despite the pandemic you managed to focus and also develop your writing skills (which is impressive in and of itself!). And wow, three novels this year is a great goal! Best of luck:))

  5. Hi Clare!

    Nothing much changed for us. We’re stay-at-homers by nature, and we haven’t yet found a good reason to get the big “V”. I guess if someone tells us we can’t do this or that unless we’re vaccinated, and if we can’t find a way around it, we’ll consider it.

    My writing goals last year and into this year haven’t changed either. I have two novels (my first-yay!) nearing completion; I can’t wait to hold them.

    However, 2021 has been a bit different, in that I’ve declared it the year of learning for myself, fitting conferences, craft books, and a new marketing mentor into my schedule.

    I’m enjoying the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of it. πŸ™‚

  6. Good morning Clare!

    Like others here, I found 2020 to be productive. Without the usual traveling and in-person meetings and classes, I had much more time to write. My first novel was released in audio and my second novel was published and I began work on the third. I’ve lived a pretty long life, and I know the hard years (and we all have them) have strengthened and refined me. That perspective helps.

    I certainly don’t want to disparage the difficulties and disaster last year brought to many people, but 2020 confirmed for me just how fortunate we are in this country. We have a technological infrastructure that allowed us to continue many jobs remotely. Our children could attend school without being in the classroom. Our distribution system held together and we didn’t suffer major disruptions. I could go on, but you get the picture. I see in all of it a message of hope.

  7. Good luck with the new book and the WIP, Clare. I haven’t really had any change in my routine since I’ve worked from home for over two decades and am somewhat reclusive to start with. Onward!

  8. That first vaccine shot does bring hope, Clare. My husband and I feel the same way. Possibilities seem endless again and soon, we can reunite with family. Can’t wait!

    As for writing, I managed to keep plugging along, but man, some days I bled for each and every word. My latest thriller went on preorder today (yay!), and my new true crime proposal is moving right along. No complaints. πŸ™‚ Good luck with the new book!

    • Sue
      Yay for the latest thriller!!! I am excited about the vaccine, though unfortunately only my sister has had the first shot in Australia. No word on when my mother-in-law or other family will get shot – super hard as she can’t travel to see us until then!

    • TKZ emails are getting through to me. I have had problems in the past when, for some unknown reason an email got redirected to my junk folder. I had to pull it out and revise my email rules. Same thing has occurred a couple times, seemingly random events.

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