Did you see the New Year in? I don’t bother these days, to be honest. I treasure my sleep more but I must admit I’m not sorry to see the back of 2020. Along with the majority of the world’s population I would’ve thought!
Having said that, and despite cancelled author events etc., 2020 was a good year for me professionally. It is funny how things can work out.
What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
I’m cherishing the thought of being able to see family again, to sing again in church, to get to writing events such as Swanwick once more. Also looking forward to getting out and about on the train again. (I shouldn’t have bothered renewing my railcard last year!).
And the news of the vaccine against Covid (and the fact there is more than one) gives cause for hope.
It is hard to stay hopeful when the news seems to be permanently full of doom and gloom but little things can make a difference. I was on one of my walks with Lady just before Christmas when I spotted someone had put up a notice board in their garden with a cracker joke on it.
Now I’ve come across this before and believe they change the jokes regularly. (The one I saw was “What goes oh oh oh? Santa Claus walking backwards!”). And I was cheered by seeing the painted stones with wonderful messages of thanks and appreciation to key workers etc during the lockdowns as I’ve mentioned before.
What is lovely here is people making the time and effort to try to cheer others. Well done, everyone! And thank you. It is that kind of thing which makes a difference. Hope is important. Loss of hope is a dreadful thing.
Now there is much to be said about not pinning your hopes on one day in the calendar turning over into a new one and a new year. The 1st January is just another day but this year, I think it is more understandable (at least it is to me) why people may well have their hopes up higher than normal. Is that such a bad thing? I don’t think so. It is far better to look ahead to the coming new year with hope than apprehension, even if it is for the sake of your own health (especially mental health).
I am a glass half full person and I must admit I have found the news bulletins in 2020 trying. Yes, I know they’ve got to report it but what I found so sad was the only place I found out numbers of people making a full recovery from Covid was in my minister’s weekly newsletter. Why isn’t that reported on the main news? Shouldn’t there be a balance? I am also highly suspicious of any attempts by anybody to “wind people up”. I always want to know what they’re getting out of it.
Now this year is going to be all about the B-word I suspect as well as C for Covid but at least we don’t appear to be getting A for Armageddon! I would like the focus this year to be on encouraging hope. Hope helps people cope. That matters. Yes, it’s no substitute for proper care and support but your own attitude can make a huge difference to how you handle things. Positivity always has to be better than negativity, right? Having hope can fuel a positive outlook.
Positivity and Negativity
With positivity, you might achieve things (and to my mind are more likely to do so). With negativity, you will not. You’ve already convinced yourself of “not” by having the negative outlook. There is such a thing as self-fulfilling prophecy! I want that to work for me in a positive, life affirming and improving way, not a negative one!
I am also cheered up immensely as I see Spring approaching. Don’t get me wrong. There are aspects to winter I love funnily enough. I love seeing the bare trees, stripped of their leaves. Against a sunset, these make for some stunning silhouettes and I must try to get more pictures of them.
But there is something about seeing the evenings become that little bit lighter for that little bit longer which is immensely cheering. I start spotting this towards the end of January/early February, which relatively speaking is not that far away. I enjoy looking out for the first snowdrop of the year too.
So there is Spring to look forward to and hopefully Summer will be a nice one again. I am hopeful by then that the vaccine will have been rolled out enough that some semblance of normal life begins to come back.
Building On Positive Things
And there is always the challenge of trying to build on positive things that did happen during 2020 to help to focus the mind on positive things. The year was the year of “audio” for me given my appearance on Wendy H Jones’s The Writing and Marketing Show, a couple of appearances on Chat and Spin Radio, and a lovely way to wind up my writing year was having one of my stories read out on North Manchester FM as part of the Hannah’s Bookshelf programme.
I am delighted to include the link to the broadcast here. My story, Up to Scratch, comes in at about the 1 hour 28 minutes mark but there is a lovely selection of festive flash fiction here. The show was great fun to take part in and I hope to do more of this. Flash fiction works beautifully when read out loud for an audience. The story is over long before anyone could possibly lose interest!!
Please note though you can only fast forward to the relevant spot if you are not listening to the whole show. So if you overshoot, you have to go to the end and then fast forward from the beginning again. Having said that, do have a listen to the whole show. I always like a good mix of stories when I listen to Open Prose Mic Nights myself and this is the radio equivalent of that in many ways.
It was interesting hearing one of my flash tales broadcast. I hope to develop this kind of thing more, as well as continuing to create story videos for my Youtube channel (and yes it is all part of the branding any author needs).
Writing is a great escape from the daily world too, whether you write fantasy or not! The focus on creating the next story or article makes you think about other things and stretches your imagination. Reading is also a great way to escape from when the news is beyond depressing. Nor do I think it wrong to want to escape that.
Yes, I need to know what is going on. I don’t need to be ground down by it. I came across a little snippet of news that told me I wasn’t alone in my thinking here. Sales of P.G. Wodehouse books have gone up during the pandemic. And that is a very good thing indeed! Why? Because those books will have put many smiles on many faces. The world needs more of that.
Here’s hoping then to as positive a year as possible and that, whatever goes on around us, we get through to the end of the next 12 months, having achieved more than we might have thought, having enjoyed as much of the time as possible, and having not torn our hair out at the latest news bulletins!
Whether you celebrate New Year or not, I do think those hopes are worth celebrating!
Happy New Year!
(Oh and as a footnote to this. I schedule my posts in advance and I always set them to appear at midnight on a Friday. This one of course was scheduled for midnight on Friday, 1st January 2021. Could hardly be more appropriate could it?!).
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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