Writing

2020 Vs My “Best” Writing Year Ever

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I thought it might be amusing to contrast 2020 with my best writing year ever, 2014.

In 2020, we had a variety of ups and downs as a society and I had a lot of them personally. While I was technically at home for a lot of the year, there were a variety of life changes in that time, and those were very much reflected in my writing output.

For the first quarter of the year, I was in a high stress, high pressure job that consumed 60-ish hours of my life per week, plus a half hour commute in each direction on five of those days. Along came COVID, and aside from all of the stuff I got done around the house, I devoted more time to writing (most of it to editing previously drafted work, really) which peaked in June and July when some actual drafting pushed me over into averaging 2,000 words per day or more for five or six weeks. Then came the news that my job (along with some others’) was going to be superfluous under a newly re-organized structure and I had to figure out what came next. Eventually, that became the idea of pursuing certain dreams, and putting myself into an academic frame of mind as well as working towards a TESL certification, both of which are ongoing, and both of which absorbed most of the time I’d been dedicating to writing, among a lot of other things. Writing production dropped off again.

2014 was a different sort of year. Early in the second quarter, I went from a job I was very comfortable in with a rotating schedule to one that was essentially 9-5 and in the same building. Stability, regular schedule, a 50-55 minute commute in each direction that was basically a straight line on the highway and let me dictate if I wanted to. In fairness, the commute didn’t change, so I was already utilizing that when I wanted to, but the business hours made other things possible, too. The kids were all in the 11-15 range when they needed me around but occupied themselves or spent time with friends rather than necessarily wanting to hang out with dad. Basic translation: in spite of being at a full-time job, I was able to dedicate a lot of time to writing.

Using word counts as metrics, and lumping plotting, drafting, and editing together for fiction (since I already do that for non-fiction anyway):

Year20142020
Fiction471390195497
Non-Fiction225733122389
Total697123317886

Non-fiction includes everything that isn’t fiction – blog posts, journal entries, essays, and so on, and lifetime makes up around a third of what I’ve tracked. By raw word count, 2014 looks like a much more successful year.

But by project completion:

Year20142020
Stories Drafted614
Stories Edited16
Novels Drafted30
Novels Edited07
Blog Posts80157
Journal Entry6610

With the exceptions of novel drafting and journal entries, 2020 is a clear win. I had set out at the beginning of the year a plan to spend a lot more time editing and drafting, and I may have overdosed a bit of journaling in 2019 with nearly 200 entries in the “book”, but 2020 shaped up pretty well.

Honestly, I’m equally happy with both years, just for different reasons.

2021 will shape up closer to 2020 than 2014, I think, though probably with a lower overall word count. I’m focusing on editing for a while yet and have the return to post-secondary education to contend with, but I expect to be happy with how the year shapes up with everything taken into account.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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