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A Look Back At 2020 – What I Accomplished, Set Aside, or Changed

It's finally the END of 2020! And I bet pretty much everyone is glad about that, right? Phew. I am happy to see the backside of this year, and I'm ready to move on to 2021. I thought 2019 was bad with breaking my leg and gaining a ton of weight. But it turns out that a global pandemic is worse. Much worse.

Let's look back at this year…

We started off January fairly easy with my birthday, plenty of indoor time with Lulu, some pottery, and the publication of LOST FLYGHT. I started my weight loss journey in January by tracking my calories and macros and cutting out lots of carbs and sugars.

In February, we got a vacation in! We went to Jamaica and spent a glorious 4 days there, sitting in the sun, swimming, eating good food, and drinking anything we wanted. Thank goodness, too, because the pandemic was just reaching the Americas at this point. When we went to Jamaica, no one said a thing. When we were returning, we were asked if we had visited mainland China in the last month.

March was when shit got real. I took my youngest to Girl Scout camp the first weekend, and that was the last time I was around a ton of people without a mask on. We had a great time! But it's “camping” and I'm not really a camping person, so I was happy to be back home when it was all over. By the next weekend, we were all home. March 13th, Friday the 13th. Anyone who says it isn't bad luck is wrong. That was the last time my husband went into the city. Within a week, I was sewing masks and making surgical caps for local nurses. My daughter's birthday got the ax, so we made a cake and celebrated at home. I did manage to publish SILENT FLYGHT though!

April was more of the same. Lots of at-home time. I was still losing weight and walking a lot, either walking Lulu or just by myself. I got back into baking bread, the town thawed, and the cherry blossoms came out. I also finished a big knit!

In May and June, we were just getting by. Everything was in bloom, which was nice! I published STOLEN FLYGHT, the last book of the series, in June. I moved my cozy mystery books over to my pen name, and we started construction on our new bathroom! The kids finished school remote, and we bought a giant pool for our backyard because we decided not to join the town pool.

July and August was high summer and absolutely gorgeous. I think this was the first summer in a long time where we had very little rain and lots of great hot days. The kids played outside with their bubble of friends, and COVID numbers were really low here. The pool got a lot of use, and we had a very small birthday party for my youngest's 10th birthday. We went to the pool as guests a few times and I wrote a prequel novella for Skylar's series. It had been a long time since I wrote and it was good to get back into it again. Construction continued on the bathroom almost every day.

September came and it was back to school, but not IN SCHOOL. I chose to keep my kids home, remote learning, and I'm glad I did. The transition to hybrid has been rocky in my district and I'm glad I didn't have to deal with any of that. I got my pottery back from the studio and it all turned out nice. I hope to get into a class again in 2022. We had our last trip to the pool, and I finished writing the novella. Construction on the bathroom finished! We love the new space, and we're so happy it's all done.

In October, the Peloton bike came and changed my whole world. That's not an exaggeration. It has revolutionized the way I exercise, and it will be a significant part of my life going forward. I had no idea getting the bike would be so life-changing, but here we are. In other news, the kids did a distanced Halloween and had a great time!

November was NaNoWriMo, and I wrote the majority of Hikoboshi 4 during it. I continued with the Peloton, and I really started getting into the classes and the stats. We had Thanksgiving at home, and we tried to take advantage of the good weather outside as much as possible. COVID numbers here rose, and our hospitals got overwhelmed again.

December has been short with all the holidays. It's been filled with lots of Peloton biking, a Christmas at home, and trying to avoid all the sweets here! The kids finished up school and now they're enjoying some time off.

Favorite Part of This Year

All in all, my favorite part of this year was starting the weekly Zooms with my knitting friends. I missed them so much! And now we see each other almost every Friday. It is the best thing to come out of this pandemic.

Least Favorite Part of This Year

The pandemic, obviously, and the lack of alone time, which for me, is really important.

Let’s look back at my goals from the year…

2020: The Year I Lead A Happy Creative Life

This was the year I was going to lead a Happy Creative Life, and in a lot of ways, I still did that. I just focused more on web design and programming than I did on my writing. I rebuilt this website, my publisher website, and SFR Station. Then I also built a site for my pen name, and I built a website for a friend. All in all, it was good downtime from writing. Writing was just so hard to do during the pandemic, and I needed to not stress about it. Still, I did manage to get some writing done, and I'm happy with my effort. I also concentrated more on knitting and reading which are both good for a happy creative life!

Writing and Publishing Goals

I will finish the Flyght Series. Done! I'm so glad I managed to get this done, even in the midst of a pandemic.

I will finish the Hikoboshi Series. Nope. I realized as soon as I started plotting out Book 4 that, really, the Hikoboshi Series is 6 books long. So, it's not finished and probably won't be until 2023, but I wrote Book 4!

I will plan out the final book to the Miso Cozy Mystery Series. I made an executive decision and decided to just be done with this series. I felt like it ended on a good note, and I don't want to write any more books in the series. So, it's done.

Added Goals

I stopped offering paperbacks. This was a hard decision for me, but ultimately, I had been planning on it for years, and 2020 just broke me. I decided to become a digital only author, and though that has not sat well with some people, it's what's best for me and my business. I will revisit this later when more eco-friendly options become available to me.

Business Goals

I only had two goals and they were…

Continue to periodically advertise my books. Did this. I got on a schedule and I kept with it. I also got involved in a bunch of Bookfunnel promotions too. This led me to have a great year of sales!

Continue to build my readership. Little by little this got done. I abandoned Booksprout after a while, but I did other things to build my readership like start a Facebook group with Carysa Locke and continue to recommend my books in reader groups.

Blogging Goals

I will continue to update my blog on a regular basis. I did well with this again! I only took a short time off here and there, but otherwise there was content on my blog every week.

I will continue to update the back posts of the blog. This did not happen again and I am going to abandon the goal. I will fix things as I come across them and that will be about it.

Creativity Goals

I will continue with pottery. This was scuttled because of the pandemic.

I will watch more TV and movies. Done! And I tried to blog about them all here. Next year, I will keep better track of what we watch in a note in Evernote.

I will attend my Masterclasses! I thought I would watch more of these on my own, but I have not. Instead my husband and I watched several of the classes together. Mostly cooking classes.

I will read and listen to more books this year. I’m going to make a plan to read at least 25 ebooks and listen to 20 audiobooks. I missed the mark on this a little. I ended up reading 13 books (I'm reading the 14th now), and I listened to 21 audiobooks.

I will knit more. I feel like I knit more this year because I took on a new technique and I'm actually almost done with the shawl. Usually they take me more than a year to get through. I think I'll be done with this in February!

I will try one new recipe each month. I didn't keep track but I think I did end up trying out many new recipes this year because I went low-carb.

Personal Fitness Goals

I will learn to speedwalk/racewalk. Nope. I was going to try this out and then the pandemic hit, and my park closed, and meh. I decided I didn't want to do it anymore. That's okay. The Peloton bike took its place late in the year!

I will pay attention to my goals on my Apple Watch. Oh man, did I ever double down on this. About halfway through the year, I became obsessed with Perfect Weeks and Perfect Months and Monthly Challenges on my Apple Watch. It's been sooooo good for me.

I will start stretching daily. I'm stretching and exercising daily!

I will work on my posture. This is actually being helped along by my Peloton bike!

I did not go through and revise my goals for the year in June like I usually do, and that's okay. I was just trying to get by.

And That’s It For The Year!

On the 1st, I’ll be back with my goals post for 2021! I hope you all have a safe, healthy, and happy new year!

S. J. Pajonas