Thursday 31st December 2020
I don’t think there’s anyone who will deny that 2020 was a funny old year. Life stopped for a good part of it as nurses became heroes, and people who refused to wear masks became people we wanted to punch in the face. We all became more isolated, and FOMO seemed so 2019.
It’s weird because going back over my post this time last year and the aims I had for 2020, I actually had quite a productive year. It didn’t feel like it though. Productivity was sporadic with periods where I tore through pieces of work that needed doing, and times when I just couldn’t get started.
I went into 2020 feeling beaten. I noted that in my post I said how isolated I felt in 2019, yet here we are at the end of 2020 where we’ve all social distanced and I probably feel more connected to people I’ve not seen for a year.
One of the big things I wanted to accomplish in 2020 was to be better at long term planning. I was pretty good at the micro planning; of working my way through a list of tasks for a day. But when it came to scaling up those tasks into milestones and goals, I failed. Hence I had told myself that 2020 was going to be the year I got better at long term planning.
I’m not going to deny that I found it hard. I found myself a good template that broke goals into milestones and then tracked them over quarters, months and weeks. Like any new system it took me a while to get it going, and even when I did I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.
But I worked my way up. I got into the habit of doing a weekly review, and as the year progressed that became also doing a monthly review and now I go into 2021 with my new year’s goals more clearly defined. It’s still something I need to work on, but I’m starting to feel like I have a system, not just to look forward, but also to take the time to review and appreciate my accomplishments.
Of course, not all goals got done, but a lot of those I didn’t were a result of the pandemic. And I don’t want to make out that I was super-productive every week across the year. I went through periods of super-productivity followed by times when nothing got done. But at least I always knew I was off track.
Going into 2021 I want to be better at planning and tracking. Over the last month I’ve put some work into that, building and improving databases in Notion. There’s still work to do, things to learn and experiences to be had, but I’d like to go into 2022 feeling as if I’m in a much stronger position than I was in 2021.
At the end of 2019, I was pretty beat up when it came to writing. My major accomplishment was that I’d picked up the novel and rewritten it, yet again. That was hard. I’d fallen out of love with writing, and I was just starting to find it again.
I rewrote that novel. And then I rewrote that novel again (even though I’d vowed never to do that) and did it in 4 weeks at that.
There’s plenty of story about my publishing career to tell that I kept out of the blog from July through to the end of this year. That story hasn’t ended yet and 2021 will tell me whether it was worth all that work or not. In the meantime I’ve started work on something new and whilst I’ve struggled with it due to a number of reasons, the plan is that 2021 will see a bunch of new writing from me. 2021 could alter those plans slightly, but… well… we’ll see.
I”d said at the end of 2019 that I wanted to restart the blogs. They were a lot of work and as publishing dragged me down a bit over those years, it was hard to find things that felt worthy to say.
I wanted to restart something in 2020, but I wasn’t sure what. I came up with a plan to diversify my content across writing, productivity and HEMA but it took for the first lockdown for me to kick things into gear.
I think kicking things off when I had the least going on was the test for the return of The Climb. I figured if I ran out of things to say, I could just end it with the end of lockdown a few weeks later. But just like lockdown measures, it never seemed to have a natural end.
I’ve kept going but like many things in 2020 it’s been sporadic. On the few occasions I’ve got out the house to go further than the shops, I’ve used the opportunity to take a bunch of photos to use for the thumbnail. I took a break for the launch of Shadowlands and over Xmas and then found catching up a huge amount of backlog.
There are times when The Climbs has seemed more of a priority than actual writing. I guess the daily nature of it and how a backlog can quickly compound, has meant it always seems the focus of the day.
I might have to change the format of it, or sometimes have shorter posts, or leave writing it until after fiction work, but I do need to go into 2021 with the fiction writing taking much more of a priority.
HEMA got cancelled in 2020. Weirdly I’d really suffered with burn out in 2019. I enjoyed tournaments but I kept away from the social aspect of it. Also I’d got to a stage with my own training where I was getting diminishing returns from attending. It wasn’t that there wasn’t stuff to learn, it was the amount I could learn from a training session was less than it had been before.
And it’s not that I fell out of love with it, it was just I felt like I needed to do something new. I wasn’t as fit as I had been and that frustrated me in tournaments. I had less to learn at training. So the plan had been to launch my own school in 2020 and I was very excited about what I felt was a new stage in my HEMA career.
But the pandemic happened and stopped that before it happened. It also stopped all tournaments. It stopped all training.
I’ve seen HEMA friends retire as a result. I’ve seen them sell their gear and use the pandemic as a way to move to new stages of their lives. I’ve seen others unable to train. And whilst I’ve been one of the latter and seen myself get more unfit as a result, I see this as an opportunity; a chance to progress when others don’t.
I’m slightly annoyed with myself that I haven’t capitalised on that in 2020 (there were reasons), but hopefully that annoyance will drive me in 2021. I need to get match fit again in 2021 with the aim of being even better than my best in the years beyond that.
My health suffered at the end of 2019 and there were people (not friends) I couldn’t avoid that were not supportive of that. Stress makes it worse, and they contributed to that to put me in a massive physical downward spiral. The pandemic did not help either and made it even worse. I had doctors confirm what I said, and whilst I started feeling a bit better towards the end of the year, the middle of a pandemic was not an easy place to start to get better.
The stress has been largely removed, and I’m in a better position to start attacking my health but there’s a lot of work to be done. HEMA gives me the motivation but that, like everything else over the last year, has been sporadic.
I hope to give my health a bit more focus in 2021, and with it start to see improvements. The trick is being consistent but that’s not something I’ve been in 2020
World of Warcraft was my safe place in 2020. Knowing so many people with mental health issues, I always try to be proactive when it comes to mine.
I started playing Warcraft with the aim of trying to get the 5 million gold bronto. Again – word of 2020 – I was sporadic and never made it. However, as the pandemic hit, Warcraft gave me a space I could get away from the real world for a time, and it saw me through a lot. It gave me a break from the horrors of the world and allowed me to return to projects refreshed. Those times I was productive in 2020 were, in part, due to the escape Warcraft gave me.
As the year progressed and the new Shadowlands expansion loomed, I worked on getting alts ready. And this time, I managed it. I’m still leveling characters through to the new max of 60 but that was always going to take time and I’m happy with my progress.
I’ve also found a raiding guild and started raiding again. That group activity has scratched an itch the absence of HEMA gave me, and whilst I don’t see it ever replacing it, I’m really enjoying doing things in the company of other people, even if it is only virtually.
Pokemon Go has taken up a lot of 2020 but the love of it has really died off. Covid meant we had to play at home, and credit to Niantic they put things in place to enable that. But just as the second wave loomed, so they cut back those benefits. It annoyed me that much that it really burst the bubble on the game for me.
I still play, but it’s much more casual. Maybe when lockdowns end and we can all gather up, it’ll be more fun again, but for now I’m happy to just do the major events and dip in and out of the smaller ones.
The other game I played a lot of in 2020 was Fortnite. I’ve enjoyed some seasons more than others, but I do like that every few months there’s a restart and a chance to come back to the game refreshed, or have a more casual season if the theme doesn’t match your fancy. I enjoy the collecting aspect of it. We played a bit of Save the World as well which is fun and even more enjoyable with a few friends.
I also came back to Xbox in 2020. The Games Pass worked out as good value (especially with a deal I found) and knowing as far back as last summer that the pandemic would probably make for a dim winter, the idea of having access to a bunch of games to lose myself in to pass the time, seemed like a sensible idea. Ironically, I’ve played Warcraft more but I don’t regret the purchase and I know at some point in 2021 I’ll take a bit of a break from Warcraft knowing I have something else there to play.
My one big trip in 2020 was going up the road to Waylands Smithy. I had a number of trips planned: a trip to Liverpool for Pokemon Go. Sweden again for Swordfish. Travel to various locations for Wessex League tournaments. None happened.
I miss travelling and I’ve vowed to myself that in 2022, I’m going storm chasing again. (2021 storm chasing season seems a little too close and I don’t think we’ll be fully out of some level of lockdown measures to be worth the risk).
I also want to go and see some friends. Heck, at this stage, even a trip to drop the car off for an MOT the other side of town felt like a massive adventure.
2020 – The Year of Being Fearsome
Was I fearsome in 2020? I dunno. I suppose whilst others where unable to progress, I soldiered through. I overcame some personal demons to get Black As Knight rewritten. I dealt with obstacles that stood in the way of my progress. It wasn’t always easy and it certainly wasn’t smooth. But I did it. I got things I could done.
Looking forward to 2021, it’s going to be my year of productivity. I want things a lot less sporadic. I want to get a bunch of things done that require some level of consistency over time.
We’ll see. I fully expect lockdown life to continue for at least another 6 months and whilst I expect it to get worse before it gets better, I do believe that if I put in the hard work next year it’ll pay dividends down the line.
- Twitter: @figures
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adrianfaulknerwriter/
- Instagram: AdrianFaulkner
Past Issues: 677 | 676 | 675 | 674 | 673 | 672 | 671 | 670 | 669 | 668 | 667 | 666 | 665 | 664 | 663 | 662 | 661
660 | 659 | 658 | 657 | 656 | 655 | 654 | 653 | 652 | 651 | 650 | 649 | 648 | 647 | 646 | 645 | 644 | 643 | 642 | 641
640 | 639 | 638 | 637 | 636 | 635 | 634 | 633 | 632 | 631 | 630 | 629 | 628 | 627 | 626 | 625 | 624 | 623 | 622 | 621
620 | 619 | 618 | 617 | 616 | 615 | 614 | 613 | 612 | 611 | 610 | 609 | 608 | 607 | 606 | 605 | 604 | 603 | 602 | 601
600 | 599 | 598 | 597 | 596 | 595 | 594 | 593 | 592 | 591 | 590 | 589 | 588 | 587 | 586 | 585 | 584 | 583 | 582 | 581
580 | 579 | 578 | 577 | 576 | 575 | 574 | 573 | 572 | 571 | 570 | 569 | 568 | 567 | 566 | 565 | 564 | 563 | 562 | 561
560 | 559 | 558 | 557 | 556 | 555 | 554 | 553 | 552 | 551 | 550 | 549 | 548 | 547 | 546 | 545 | 544 | 543 | 542 | 541
540 | 539 | 538 | 537 | 536 | 535 | 534 | 533 | 532 | 531 | 530 | 529 | 528 | 527 | 526 | 525 | 524 | 523 | 522 | 521
520 | 519 | 518 | 517 | 516 | 515 | 514 | 513 | 512 | 511 | 510 | 509 | 508 | 507 | 506 | 505 | 504 | 503 | 502 | 501
500 | 499 | 498 | 497 | 496 | 495 | 494 | 493 | 492 | 491 | 490 | 489 | 488 | 487 | 486 | 485 | 484 | 483 | 482 | 481
480 | 479 | 478 | 477 | 476 | 475 | 474 | 473 | 472 | 471 | 470 | 469 | 468 | 467 | 466 | 465 | 464 | 463 | 462 | 461
460 | 459 | 458 | 457 | 456 | 455 | 454 | 453 | 452 | 451 | 450 | 449 | 448 | 447 | 446 | 445 | 444 | 443 | 442 | 441
440 | 439 | 438 | 437 | 436 | 435 | 434 | 433| 432 | 431 | 430 | 429 | 428 | 427 | 426 | 425 | 424 | 423 | 422 | 421
420 | 419 | 418 | 417 | 416 | 415 | 414 | 413 | 412 | 411| 410 | 409 | 408 | 407 | 406 | 405 | 404 | 403 | 402 | 401
Past Years: 2019 – The Year of Soldiering Through | 2018 – The Year of Priorities | 2017 – The Year Of The Offensive