I know 2020 has been a hellish year for many. I’m one of the very fortunate people who not only got through 2020 without contracting the virus (to my knowledge), but also without letting the quarantine stuff affect me too much. COVID definitely leveled my caricature business for the year, and for over 2 months I was furloughed from my freelance job, but luckily my husband and I had been saving a lot the year before (we planned to take a trip to Arizona which we of course had to cancel) and we ended up being okay.
Since both my caricature and illustration businesses were quiet, I was finally allowed the time to focus on my book projects. That satisfied me SO much. So here is my list of successes related to my writing this year:
SUCCES #1: I finally created my little “Creativity Cave” in the basement — the only finished room in the basement which I had been meaning to make my own. I painted the walls and started a mural, and bought a colorful rug for the floor. Little did I know this would be an important year to have that room, as my husband has been working from home the whole rest of the year. I gave him the office upstairs that I normally use, and that “cave” has been my sanctuary!
SUCCESS #2: I used my furlough time to finally finish illustrating my “Frida The Create-A-Way Fairy” picture book – something I wrote a few years ago and was thrilled to finally bring it to life. I also self published it as a hardcover book through IngramSpark.com.
SUCCESS #3: I took this free time to also FINALLY put out another hardcover picture book, “The Odd Ones.” This is a book which has been collecting dust on my shelf for over 25 years! I wrote and illustrated it in college as my BFA project. The problem was that I illustrated it by hand on illustration board. This made it impossible for me to scan it properly. Years ago I did have a friend photograph the illustrations for me, and that is what ended up in the book!
SUCCESS #4: I finally completed writing the first sequel to my MG/YA book series, Somewhere In-Between! The sequel was called Fighting the Darkness, and it became one of the most personally important books I’ve written to date.
SUCCESS #5: I invested funds in paying Anastasia Ward to illustrate BOTH covers for my Somewhere In-Between series. My own illustration style was not going to do it for me. I really wanted a specific style for these covers. I was THRILLED with the result!
SUCCESS #6: I also invested in having two different people edit my Fighting the Darkness book. I was thrilled with my editor, Christy Carlson. She went above and beyond and really helped me create my best piece of writing!
SUCCESS #7: Even in the midst of the pandemic, I found the opportunity to set up a book stand TWICE in a local festival this summer, called “Walking On Wednesdays” in downtown Amherst, Ohio. My mom and stepdad were even able to join me for the second one since they happened to be in town. That was a JOY!
SUCCESS #9: I conducted my first ever series of VIRTUAL BOOK VISITS at Orchard S.T.E.M. School, Cleveland, OH, per request of the school’s Assistant Principal. I read my flip book, “The Very, Very, Very Bad/Good Day” and it was very well received!
SUCCESS #10: I spread lots of encouragement to other writers during the summer’s Camp NaNoWriMo and November’s NaNoWriMo for the “postcard swap.” I didn’t get any new writing done, but I’m pleased with sending out fifty notes of encouragement to other writers, and I got back almost as many as I sent out! I’m keeping them on my desk in the ole “Creativity Cave” as daily encouragement!
There were more successes related to my illustration and caricatures (I worked with two new illustration clients this year, and started doing my very first virtual caricature gigs), but this post is meant to focus on my writing accomplishments. It sure feels good to create this list!