How 2020 Changed Me

Firstly, I’d like to wish a Happy New Year to my followers and anyone else who might be visiting this site. Hope you all had a pleasant, albeit slightly-different Christmas.

Mine was a bit of a blue one. First world problems and all that, but I was affected by the fact that the Christmas just gone didn’t feel all that Christmassy. But then there was also the problem that I always find it hard to switch off anyway at Christmas (it doesn’t help I have a part-time job in retail), mainly due to the fact that I have that sort of brain. And I think I may be affected by SAD to a degree.

But I always love the promise of a new year, and especially so for 2021. I think many of us will agree that 2020 was a year we’ll quite happily leave behind. And yet I can’t say that 2020 was a very difficult year for me, personally. I am fortunate to still have an income, and to know no-one close to me who has died from COVID-19.

There’s a certain guilt in saying it, but I pretty much thrived in 2020. Sure, I was affected by the news and social media, and worried a lot about the state of the world and what the future might hold. But hey, I’m an INFJ, so I pretty much do those things anyway. All that really happened, was the outside world began to resemble some of the dystopian novel/tv series ideas of my inner world.

I know it’s not over yet, and there could be worse to come. But to quote the wise sage Hagrid, “What’s coming is coming and we’ll meet it when it does.” I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I think many have conditioned themselves to expect the unexpected now.

The rapid shift to the online realm of work, education and entertainment meant I could finally, more completely align my daily life to my visions and goals.

But outside of these concerns, when I disconnected from the news and social media, I found a sense of peace and contentment. I enjoyed spending more time at home, enjoyed the greater proximity of nature and the peaceful nights. The rapid shift to the online realm of work, education and entertainment meant I could finally, more completely align my daily life to my visions and goals. I was now less restricted by living in a relatively rural part of the country. I began to get a freelance income – something I’d long dreamed of but was difficult to obtain pre-2020.

I did numerous training courses online, read more, took up actual hobbies and upped my fitness regimen. I even improved my diet. I started learning another language, and got inspiration from current events for a novel I’m in the process of writing.

So yes, I would say I thrived. And I have entered 2021 with the ability to drop another day at my retail job because I no longer need the money – I’m making enough income from freelance writing to support me.

True, I barely leave the house now, and that would be an issue if it were long-term, but hopefully it won’t be, and fairly soon we’ll be able to go to gyms and live events again.

I have changed. Something has clicked: I feel like I’ve found my niche. And having read similar articles to this, I know I’m not the only one. I think it’s great that many saw the opportunity to improve their lives and they took it.

How did 2020 change you? Did you view it as an opportunity in disguise? Or was it more personally challenging? I always like to read different viewpoints, so please feel free to comment or write a response post.

Social Anxiety and Me

Happy Monday! Furlough has ended and I’m back at the day job. Bleurgh. But at least I have this Monday off to work on writing-related activities.

I recently contributed a post to Onyx Student Support’s blog on the subject of social anxiety and how it has affected my life. Click on the link to read my story.

Other than that, I guess I’m struggling by, trying to find work, trying not to worry too much about what our lives are going to look like in the near future as some sort of New World Order establishes itself.

You can relate, right?

I’m getting through it with coffee, exercise (namely, learning how to dance with the help of YouTube), listening to music (lo-fi is my thing right now), reading, and, most importantly, the love and support of my family (always remember the more important things).

That’s all for now.

Bis spater!

 

 

Furlough Thoughts

black vintage typewriter

Furlough. It’s a funny word. I thought it was something to do with ploughing fields until it happened to me. I’ve been on furlough from my day job for four weeks now, and I have to say I’m enjoying it, because it means I get to spend more time doing things I love, i.e. my writing.

So pretty much most of my time on furlough has been spent writing, thinking about writing, and planning marketing activities linked to my writing. I’ve been treating each weekday like a workday: each morning I make a list of things I want to accomplish that day. Then in the late afternoon I exercise and study German, then after dinner (or tea as we call it in our house) it’s time to chill: journal and read a book.

I’m content in the rhythm of my days. I know the lockdown and being on furlough has been hard for some people, but for me it’s been business as usual to be honest, except I have more time because I’m not going to work. I didn’t go out a lot anyway.

I’ve been looking into turning my Alice novelette into an ebook, researching my options, but have come up against two major hurdles: one is my dislike of Amazon, which is monopolising the ebook scene (as well as a lot of other things), and the other thing is basic lack of funds. I’m tight for cash at the moment and can’t really afford to publish through an alternative platform, such as Ingram Sparks, and pay for an ISBN code (which costs, like, £90 in the UK). I’ve already spent £100 on self-publishing a limited run of paperback volumes for friends and family. So I can’t really afford to spend more on promoting this novellette at the moment.

It’s a shame, because I’d like for my writing to reach a wider audience, but there’s time.

Another thing I’m focusing on while in furlough is trying to push my day-job in a more writerly direction. I’ve been applying for online copywriting jobs, and trying to get work as a freelancer. Early days, but I’m hopeful. I think my experience so far during furlough has confirmed freelancing would suit me. The only thing I’m missing is a nice cuddly cat or a dachshund to sit in my lap while I type, but I’ve got goldfish and they’re almost as good, right? They’re certainly cute, if not that cuddly.

So yes, I would say furlough has been good for me because it has given me more time to push for my dreams. How about you? Have you been furloughed and how have you found it?