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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Let’s not get 2020’d ever again!!!
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Monday, January 4,2021

Let’s not get 2020’d ever again!!!

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
If 2020 was good for anything, it reminded us that we need to live like we mean it – RIGHT NOW.

Over a million people worldwide lost their lives to this pandemic. Lives and livelihoods were destroyed and we are still adjusting to our new reality. But, at the same time, some very creative endeavors evolved out of our collective shutdown: Countless small businesses managed to find new ways to reach their markets. A new wardrobe requirement opened doors for countless artists, craftspeople and designers to help us have fun while keeping ourselves and others safe with our masks. Innovative ways to work and learn from home were unveiled which will present everyone with more choice when we return to normal. But we all deal with crises differently.

Some are able to focus, dig in and get creative (Taylor Swift wrote a whole new album!) Others hibernate and allow their weaker tendencies to take the lead (see the increase in home delivery of cases of wine). It’s probably a Type-A/Type-B personality scenario, in tandem with how close to home the virus hit. I found that I fell into the latter category, due more to boredom than anything else, and it surprised me. At some point around October I removed a marble from one jar, placed it in the one next to it (a practice I use as a visual aid to see time slipping away) and was shocked that three-quarters of a year had passed. I had nothing to show for it. My mom’s voice rang in my head: “Boredom is an insult to the soul.” Better late than never, I decided to take 2020 into my own hands.

I participated in NaNoWriMo in November, which is National Novel Writing Month. It is an online community established to help writers commit to putting a specific number of words on the page every day during the month of November. The goal, of course, is to form a writing habit that can extend beyond the boot camp experience to a daily practice. The average goal set by people was to achieve 50,000 words by November 30 (a typical novel is 80,000 words). Yowzer! I exited the program with a whopping 10,000 words on the page. Ten thousand somewhat rambling, yet to be edited words, trying to tell a story that has been rummaging around in my head for at least the past 15 years. It was so much more challenging than I thought it would be.

Oh, sure, I’ve attended writing workshops, joined writing groups, taken classes. I write essays all the time. But composing an entire novel? Let’s just say that I nearly gave up on my dream a few times a week.

Authors will tell you to write every day. Write every day because more than half of what you write is garbage. Sadly, that is the truth. But that does not mean it is not worth putting in the time. So I’m not Paul McCartney writing “Yesterday” in one hour. That is a gift I, on the other hand, have an itch. Not a calling, per se, but a relentless nagging to tell a story that I know, deep inside, I must tell. So who am I to question that? And who am I to ignore it? And… most importantly, how will it ever get done if I keep pretending that it will somehow write itself?

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions this year, I recommend choosing one. THE ONE. Make 2021 kick 2020’s you know what…. You know where! Go after your dreams – it’s never too early and it’s never too late! Let’s put 2020 behind us, and look toward new beginnings with hope.


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