What. a. year.
I am almost as sick of talking about 2020 as I am living it. But the events of this year are inescapable and completely beyond our control.
What is within our control, however, is how we choose to deal with it.
For many, writing provides the opportunity to help you deal with all of the stresses that life throws your way. And, let me tell you, 2020 has given us all a little extra dose of hell.
When cities, states, and nations first dropped into quarantine (except in the good ol’ South Dakota, where Three Houses Press happens to call home thanks to one of us living here and no income tax, please don’t judge us), there was a general consensus on the internet that **NOW WAS THE TIME.** Every goal you have ever wanted to achieve, every exercise regime you’ve flirted with trying, every new skill set you’ve wanted to develop… this was the time to bite the bullet and get it done.
The problem with that is it is not realistic. Many people still worked, either being forced to go in so they could keep their job (once again, hello South Dakota, how are you?), or they were working remotely, or they were caring for children who no longer were able to go to school. Sometimes they were doing multiple of the above.
Others found themselves in a situation, possibly while still needing to care for their children now stuck at home, where they were not able to work at all, adding a whole additional layer of stress to an already ridiculous situation.
2020 is a year to get things done. We have to get things done. But 2020 doesn’t have to be the year that you strive to get everything checked off of your personal bucket list. Let yourself take the time to just live, breathe, and take a moment every day to do something just for you that actually makes you feel really good. If that thing also happens to work toward a check-mark on your mental to-do-with-my-life list, excellent. If it isn’t, that is fine too.
One of the bigger ones I saw out there as quarantine orders started to hit was, “I am going to finally write my novel!” If you did write a novel during quarantine, massive round of applause. You accomplished something incredible in even more incredible circumstances. But if you didn’t–if you just couldn’t find the time, mental energy, or free time because you were doing everything you needed to do to stay alive, healthy, and emotionally well, equally massive round of applause.
When we put pressure on ourselves to write for the sake of writing, we are not doing ourselves or any of those around us a service. That said, I do invite you to try it in the final few months of 2020. Get a journal–leather bound with heavy paper or even just a mostly-filled notebook lying around waiting to be repurposed–and just start scribbling. Doodle, write a sentence, write a paragraph… Test yourself and just see how you feel when you are done.
You might just find that writing is the catharsis you need to get through this year.
Or you won’t.
Both answers are okay. Everything that you do this year to just be alright is okay.
So, writers or writers-someday, keep up the good work of just staying alive and well this year. Sadly, that is all we can ask for right now.