2020 was a hard year in terms of writing; I felt like I was under-writing pretty much every month. Didn’t write as much fiction as I would’ve liked. Didn’t write as much nonfiction as I needed to. Blog posts were down. On the upside, I wrote a lot more poetry this year than any other year in recent memory, and my writing for admin purposes was also down!
You can definitely tell which months were the hard months, though:
(Total wordcount: 316379 words.)
April was the “oh my god, Durham wants to move all teaching online permanently as of Oct. 2020, and while moving things online is necessary for Covid purposes, doing it as a long-term strategy is such a bad idea” month, where pretty much ALL I did was union activism and struggling to survive under lockdown.
August was the month where G was back in F2F school for part of it, and then was at climbing camp the other month; plus I took a week of vacation (!) and also worked outside for 5-6 hours every day. September she was back in school again, too, and I mostly was able to work outdoors. August and September were the months where I “rewrote” (as in, literally retyped) Pride and Prejudice, making as minimal changes possible in order to set the story on a peregrinatory space university. November was the month where I took that rewrite and started turning it into a proper story. I got my 50k for NaNoWriMo in, and then it’s been lying fallow ever since.
I accomplished four big non-fiction things in 2020: In March, thanks to a very generous PC chair who gave me one extension because of the strikes and then another extension because of trying to work at home in lockdown with a stressed out partner and a stressed out self and a child at home, I completed a paper, “William of Sherwood on Necessity and Contingency”, which was accepted and then presented at Advances in Modal Logic in August.
In February I finished off a paper on 19th-century Irish SF writer Jane Barlow, for a special issue of a journal; I got an R&R for it in March and was like “oh, sure, I’ll get it done by the end of April!” In July, I finally had a chance to sit down and work on it. I substantially revised it and think it came out a lot better…but it ended up getting new reviewers the second time around, who wanted another R&R, and the editorial policy of the journal was that two R&Rs = a rejection. So that was sad.
Finally, just before the end of the academic year, I finally, finally finished up a paper I’d been working on for almost two years, and had presented on twice over the summer, and sent it off, on “What Problem Did Ladd (Think She) Solve(D)?” It’s still under review.
Most of the rest of my nonfiction words went to updating my logic textbook.
I feel like I just didn’t write any fiction this year (don’t let the numbers fool you). I wrote one short story early on in lockdown which I think really worked; but so far none of the places I’ve sent it have agreed! Otherwise, I didn’t do anything substantial; everything else was small poems and flash fic and stuff.
However, I did much better on the submissions side of things. I had 73 complete submissions (6 are still pending), with 13 resulting in acceptances, for total earnings of $36.56 😉 — my highest number of submissions, my highest number of acceptances, and my highest percentage of acceptances (18%! Compared to 9% (2019), 11% (2018), and 11% (2017).
In February, one night G asked me, “Mummy, could we maybe someday sit down and write a story together?” OF COURSE, dear child! Together we drafted An Awfully Big Adventure, and got my mom to do some illustrations, and we published it in August!
In April, my drabble Candace Swallowed the Sea” was given an Honorable Mention in the Quarantine Quanta drabble contest. April also saw the publication of “In Lieu of Gifts”, a poem I wrote about having a birthday in lockdown. I think it was also in April that three of my drabbles came out in Black Hare Press’s Oceans anthology, which I wrote about here.
A story that I wrote maybe two years ago, for G, “Metamorphosis” finally found a home in Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction podcast, and came out over summer. Another story I wrote for G, “Madame Sophie and the Ghost” was accepted early in 2020 and came out at the end of this year, in Stories for the Thoughtful Young. I still need to write my “about the story” posts for both of these!
During the strikes in February and March, I put together an idea of editing an anthology of poems, stories, songs, artwork, etc., coming out of the people involved in and affected by the strikes. The result of that came out in September, Striking Bodies, Striking Minds. It includes a previously unpublished poem of mine, “Out in the Snow”.
A friend started up a quarterly poetry journal over summer, with the first issue due out on the winter solstice. The theme was “sparks”, and I revised a poem and sent it off to him, and you can now read “Light Like Silk” in the inaugural issue of Ink Drinkers Poetry.
Wrapping up the year, Dreich accepted four of my poems, “(my) Love is (not) Patient” (written for G…), “At Her Mother’s Grave”, “My Love For You Floods Me”, and “Lupanar”, Dreich (a haiku about a brothel) for their “What you can do with love” themed chapbook scheduled to come out in February 2021. I’m super pleased to be sharing page space with a friend, whose first published poem this will be!
Finally, coming in on a day when we were heartsick with worry because one of our cats was missing (he came back home early this morning!!), one of my favorite stories, which I wrote about 2 1/2 years ago and which has been rejected sixteen times (including twice at the very final cut!) was accepted for inclusion in vol. 2 of Grace & Victory’s A Quiet Afternoon series. I am so damn pleased about that.
Gosh. When I write it all up, it doesn’t seem like it was that little…
I’ve continued to do short story reviewing over at SFFReviews.com, some (but not very much) blogging here, and some (even less) for the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources blog.
I’m sure I wrote some other things. But not enough to matter.