Hope you had a restful holiday, Constant Reader!
After a long and plague-ridden year, I felt myself settling down for that proverbial long winter’s nap as the Christmas weekend began. However, I’d made the mistake of making a final check of play submission options for the year, and found a one-act competition with a deadline to receive submissions of December 31st. It’s one of the handful of competitions remaining that are still asking for hard-copy submissions, meaning that any submission I wanted to make would have to be mailed out today at the absolute latest. It’s the sort of seemingly impossible request that a sane person would have ignored out of hand – but I’m a writer, and not only am I far from sane but for once I had a suitable idea for the competition in question.
And so, with my Christmas celebrated, I holed up over the weekend and wrote up a twenty page draft. I’ll make a revision pass through it today, head to the post office, and send it out.
And with that, my 2020 output is now finalized. Two full length plays (one of which I’d begun the year prior) and two one acts (one 20 pages, one 30 pages). And that’s it. Those drafts are the tangible things I have to show for my time in exile. My work for the year now past.
Is that enough?
Going strictly by the numbers, it’s a good year for me – I average about one full-length draft a year, so the extra titles are all a happy accident. By contrast, there are plenty of writers I know who can bang out four drafts (of various sizes) in a month, and compared to them the yearly output I’m so proud of is barely worth mentioning.
But these comparisons are all based in our output and our work habits in the Before Times, as if our circumstances had remained unchanged from 2019. Which is rather obviously not the case.
Should I be grateful that I got any writing done during an ongoing apocalypse? Probably. Should I be angry that I didn’t get as much writing done as perhaps I could have, given the sheer amount of time we all had on our hands watching the world burn around us? Probably not, but it’s hard to shake the thought. Especially since the need to write – to document the madness around us, to bear witness – has never been greater. And yet many writers I know have found themselves practically shutting down, unable to focus as they go through the mass trauma event of 2020 along with us all. And I can’t say they’re wrong.
All I can say is that, as of end of day this Thursday, it’s done. 2020, productive or no, is finished. I won’t take a celebratory lap and exult that “I’ve survived,” since a) I know too many people who haven’t, and b) a lot can still happen in ninety six hours.
But I am, ever so tentatively, looking forward to 2021.
See you there, Constant Reader.