2020 in review (Writing and life)

Unfortunately, thanks to the apparently permanent lockdown which went into effect in March, and the accompanying loss of privacy, my normal writing output took a giant nosedive. Without the ability to go to the library six days a week and write uninterrupted for 3–4 hours, I’ve gotten almost no writing done.

Every day I grow more enraged at the people excitedly cheering on the idea of never resuming normal life and instituting even more draconian measures. It must be nice to have such class privilege you never worry about finances or being stuck in a two-room flat with no yard! The “Just fifty more years to flatten the curve until no one ever dies again for any reason!” cult also must have no problems with mental health, depression, or domestic violence. What perfect lives they have if they assume everyone else in the world is just as privileged!

I was finally heading into the homestretch of A Dream Deferred when lockdown started, and progress on that ground to a near-standstill. I also lost my bearings even more on that book and began adding more and more storylines that did nothing but bloat the already-sprawling wordcount even further.

I’ve always been a planster, and have never had a problem mentally plotting unplanned storylines which organically arise while writing a book. Several other Dream Deferred storylines weren’t part of my original outline, like the love stories of Yustina and Nestor, Bogdana and Achilles, and Milena and Vahur, and Lyudmila and Raisa’s mistake marriages and new loves with much better guys. Everything naturally came together and was wrapped up perfectly.

But with all these other storylines, either nothing ever came together (some were dropped partway through), or they were rushed along instead of allowed to naturally develop over a longer timeframe. The ones worth salvaging can easily be moved to the future fifth book, where they’ll be given the full attention they deserve.

To try to hold my cyclical depression at bay as long as possible, I spent most of lockdown checking proofs. It gave me something writing-related to do that I didn’t need such a high level of privacy for, and prevented my depression from being triggered by my terrible wordcounts. If I had my own home, this wouldn’t be an issue!

I published The Twelfth Time in hardcover, and paperback editions of Dark Forest. I also began work on the hardcover editions of Little Ragdoll and And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away. Their hardcover ISBNs hadn’t been used since I bought those blocks of five in 2014, and they were the only books I had ready in time to use a code for free title setup from IngramSpark.


Published for the very first time was the book formerly known as The Very First, which I will always think of by that title. I wrote the story which became its genesis in October 1992; I’m kind of really emotionally attached to it after all this time!

I also somehow managed to finish the final draft of the book formerly known as The Very Next. I thought it only needed some minor tweaking after the radical rewrite of 2015, but I decided to add four new chapters and flesh out a few more. At only 75K, it also suddenly felt too short and simplistic next to the 90K length of TVF.

It now stands at about 106K, not counting front and back matter, and I’m working on “The Story Behind the Story.” If everything goes well, it’ll be ready for publication by the end of February.

I continue to feel more and more politically homeless thanks to the rise of woke lunacy infesting my side of the political aisle. My personal views haven’t changed a bit, but I can’t support individuals who think freaking pronouns, cancelling Uncle Ben, and wrapping the world in trigger warnings and safe spaces have replaced things like a living wage, universal healthcare, and affordable education as key social justice issues.

My own little brother disowned me because I refused to drink his Woke Stasi Kool-Aid. That struggle session didn’t end how he thought it would! He even centered himself and rebuked me again for my “views” (i.e., that biological sex exists and is important) when he texted me a birthday greeting last month!

The sooner this toxic woke ideology goes the way of the dodo, the better!

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