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Erin Cleary

  • Erin Cleary


It’s the last day of 2020. Does this require some sort of momentous blog post? Does the year 2020 even deserve to go out with any important consideration, or would it be better for it to fizzle away like the bubbles in a spilled can of soda? Mostly, the year has fizzled by, and I end each day wondering what, if anything, made that particular day important. These have been times to ponder life’s meaning and to potentially fall deep into the philosophical abyss. But that sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

So, I’ll focus on my writing year. I don’t have anything that feels particularly noteworthy to mention about the last month in terms of writing. I’ve had a few of new ideas. I’ve watched a few videos about the craft of writing. I’ve read a lot. But in order reflect productively on the year as a whole, I’ve joined a writing group online called the “12 Days of Christmas for Writers” (six days in, so far). It is a series of videos by author Julie Hedlund that are intended to inspire participants to think about the past year’s surprises, successes, disappointments, learnings, and actions to take in 2021. This has really helped me see how far I have come this year.

My general feeling going in was that I haven’t done enough. I haven’t gotten published. I haven’t gotten an agent. I haven’t finished a number of stories I started. I am still floundering as I try to focus on what I need to do to make things happen. But now I can look at the lists I’ve made in the last six days and feel good about what I have done: set up a website, started a monthly blog, joined a second critique group, participated in a number of Facebook pages for writers, written more first drafts of stories since May than I have in the previous 10 years combined, and read close to 300 KidLit books in my learning process about the market. These are all really good accomplishments and I can feel proud of them.

If I reflect on those bubbles fizzling away on the sidewalk, I can think about how I lost the opportunity to feel those bubbles effervesce on my tongue, but I can also choose to stop and watch them reflect light and color and listen to their distinctive sound as they magically pop into silence. Even a fizzle can have beauty in it.

Good-bye, 2020. You will be gone but not forgotten—for the bad and the good. And there really was some good after all.

Be well, my friends! I hope your 2021 will be filled with beauty, joy, and light!

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