Normally December is a time when people look back fondly on the things they did during the
past 12 months, but this year has been anything but normal. Some may wish to look back on how the year went, while others want to forget 2020 ever happened and start fresh with 2021.
As difficult as this year was, I find organizing and comparing data fun (yes, I'm weird). In 2018, I set up a spreadsheet to keep track of every piece of writing that I submitted. I don't often do multiple submissions for a piece (sending it out to different markets at the same time), but it was helpful to have so that I knew what was being shopped and what was ready to be looked at/polished/sent again. I even colour-coded the dang thing.
It was so helpful that I set it up again for 2019. Which was great, because not only did it track my actions, but it also helped remind me about this one market that never got back to me, so I should probably avoid subbing to them again (I sent a follow up email 6 months after the closing date and 3 months after that sent them a withdrawl notice for my story, just in case, but never heard a single word from them).
So, when 2020 came around, I did it again. I set up my spreadsheet and prepared to knock the previous year out of the water! And then COVID happened.
When I look at the spreadsheet, I see that there's a large gap where I didn't submit anything. At that time, I found it difficult to get words on paper, so I didn't write anything. And, honestly, it took me a while to get my mojo back.
When I started subbing again, it was a few short stories and a LOT of drabbles. It was much easier to wrap my head around 100 words or 250 words, instead of a full-sized novel. And it helped – I was eventually able to get into larger projects.
While this year didn't result in me sending more submissions or trying to get into more markets or even writing more words, I know that I did my best. I won't beat myself up for that dry-spell, nor will I chastise myself for not doing better. I did what I could in that time, and that's good enough for me.