2021 not the year I expected

2021, Not the Year I Expected

It’s a safe bet that 2021 was not the year I expected. What did I expect? Well, I cringe looking back at my high hopes for the year.

Who thought we’d still be talking about coronavirus after so much excitement for the coming vaccine this time last year? Even people who are bafflingly anti-science seemed to believe the (worldwide) pandemic would miraculously disappear after the US election. If only ….

With the highly contagious Omicron variant here, normalcy sounds like a distant wish. Kids are still wearing masks to school. Many jobs continue from home. We’re all still stuck in a not-back-to-normal. It’s impacting us as a society in ways we won’t fully comprehend for years to come. Domestic abuse and mental health challenges—especially but not limited to the youngest members of our population—have escalated.

Oh, should I be writing something cheerful for the end of 2021?

Yeah, so about that, writing has been a battle for hard-won concentration lately. I have ideas, but I can’t commit them to paper in any systematic way. Finishing a draft is hard at the best of times. When your inner writer can’t concentrate for now more than a year and a half … I count four incomplete drafts, a book mid-revision, and a scatterbrained attempt at maintaining a blog.

Are all of these excuses? Maybe. I’m looking at the long-lapsed deadline for this blog post. But I have noted plans for the next two months’ blog posts, and I see a little hope. After moving all of my to-do items to a new tool, I’m slowly getting the hang of the new system. Now I get to look at some herculean (subdivided) tasks and wonder how (and when) I’m ever going to tackle them.

So if 2021 is not the year I expected, it’s fair to ask what I did expect.

How should I reset my expectations to make 2022 a successful year?

Well, part of that reset comes from feeling in control. A rolling calendar for my regular work as well as for my writing makes seeing what’s next easier. I have a plan for my writing, for the release of the next two novels, and for the series as a whole. I’ve also only pushed out time limits to the things I can foreseeably control. If I need to pivot, I don’t want to drag myself down by having to bump a bunch of dates.

You know how those pesky New Year’s resolutions often fall by the wayside? I skipped a day of my new exercise plan, or I trashed my diet this week. That’s ok—we’re human. But if you hold on to that goal and get right back on the wagon instead of giving up, imagine what you could accomplish! If you treat every day as a new opportunity to succeed in your goals, those resolutions become habits that lead to achievement.

So I accept 2021 as not the year I expected. But 2022? That’s the year I’ve already got planned.

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