In 2020 there’s definitely been more challenges, but out of adversity comes insight. This year has shown us how important it is to slow down and spend more time doing what we love with whom we love.
There’s been enough doom, and gloom reported. My goal with this article is to get you to look past all the negativity and reflect on the positive changes in your life. Make your own list of ways your life has been enriched in 2020. Here are five ways my life has been improved this year.
Insight #1 – Life Experience
As writers, 2020 has provided us with a plethora of information and experiences to use in our writing. Who would’ve guessed that a virus would shut the entire world down and the devastating effects it would have? You can’t make this stuff up.
More importantly, we have seen firsthand how people cope with crisis differently. This gives an element of realism to the characters you write and the struggles they face as you have so many real-world examples to draw on.
Look at the reasons behind their actions – a loss of their home, job or a loved one; being forced into lockdown; the inability to travel freely; not being able to see loved ones; and social distancing and limited physical contact.
The best writing comes from life experience. Even fantasy needs to have something tangible your readers can relate to. An example of this comes from the first video in the free Pixar in a box series, Introducing Storytelling. In it, Pete talks about the idea behind Monsters Inc, a movie about a monster scaring children for a living; but is it?
People liked the idea, but couldn’t relate to it until they added emotion and a human element, something from real life. What Monsters Inc is really about is a guy who’s goals and focus changes because of someone who has come into his life. We can all relate to that either personally, or watching it unfold through a friend or family member.
How can you use your experiences from this year?
Insight #2 – Meaning
This year has given most people plenty of time to think. By forcibly removing all the “busy stuff” you used to fill your day, you can get clear about what’s working in your life and what’s not. What makes you happy? What do you fall back on when things aren’t going according to plan? How do you adapt to change?
Did you appreciate some things more than others? I know I did. My job was causing me tremendous stress, to the point it was affecting my health. It was a relief they didn’t renew my contract. It gave me the opportunity to go to university full-time to study a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing.
My job highlighted that I want is to help people. Adhering to performance indicators (KPI’s) and time limits isn’t what matters to me. I just want to educate the people I talk to and show them what to do to give them the confidence and knowledge to do it themselves. That takes time, but also means they don’t to keep calling back.
I decided writing is important to me, and the career I’m choosing to focus on and learning to master. This is a huge revelation for me, as I’ve never seen myself doing anything long term before, except writing. It’s my fall back when I’m stressed or adapting to change. I journal about it to make sense of what’s going on. There are also now too many other authors making six figures or more from writing full time that I can no longer ignore it as a viable option.
What matters the most to you?
Insight #3 – Allies
Focusing on what’s important to me to has also made me consider the people in my life. I struggled with depression for a few months with all the changes and restrictions. I reached out to a selected few to let them know and to ask them to check in on me so I would be reminded there are people who care about me.
I’m pleased to say that almost all those I reached out to responded brilliantly and helped me get through a tough time. I am very grateful for those people. I let go of those who didn’t.
I took a hard look at my relationships from the perspective of my core values. If you don’t know what yours are, I show you how to find them in The Success Mindset post. I decided that if I’m going to become a best-selling author and master storyteller; I need to surround myself with people who share some of the same values as me. You can tell what a person values based on their behaviour and how they spend their time.
Who were the people you could rely on this year, your support network?
Insight #4 – Tools and Resources
With change, comes new tools and resources. This year we’ve had access to things we may not otherwise have had. They moved seminars and workshops online, allowing you to attend from the comfort of your own home.
Businesses reworked the way they traded, introducing things like online shopping, home delivery, and click and collect where they didn’t previously exist. Zoom calls became the norm so people could get that human element from virtual interaction.
Book sales (which includes physical books, eBooks, and audiobooks) and streaming platforms increased as people looked to entertain themselves, resulting in better and faster apps and internet connections. There were even movie streaming parties and impromptu concerts held worldwide.
What apps or products did you discover this year that helped?
For me, it was Apple TV, which allowed me to stream things through my television. My local library allowed us to borrow more books for a longer period, which was great! The Australian government also heavily subsided some training programs to help people upskill and become more employable. My sister was a beneficiary of that.
Insight #5 – The Human Spirit
I feel like there were many people who realised just how courageous and resilient they are this year. Were you one of them?
Neighbours who were strangers until the pandemic helped each other out. Front-line workers became the unsung hero’s keeping the economy going by doing their job. We found alternative ways to interact with our family and friends and ensure they’re okay.
Yes, there was much chaos and pessimism, but the human spirit always shone through. It was actually the subject of one of my first uni assignments. Some people definitely took advantage of the situation, but most banded together to lift spirits and help in whatever way they could.
What did you realise about yourself?
I’d love to hear your responses to the questions posed. Feel free to post them in the comments below.
Cheers to your writing success!