New Year. New Hope.

J. L. Harland • January 3rd, 2021

A Day At A Time

If there is anything we have learnt in the last year it is that life changes and sometimes we cannot plan for what will happen.

This time last year we were looking forward to certain events that had been pre-booked. We set goals to achieve by the end of the year. Then – a global pandemic and the world went upside down. We are still, to a certain degree, in a world which seems dangerous, almost alien, and we have had to adjust our lives and expectations.

At the beginning, when we went into lockdown in March, we were incapable of anything.

Writing? Forget it.

Editing? Why bother?

The Way Forward

We both went into panic mode and our Facetime chats were all about survival and families. Creativity was lost in a sea of inertia and terror.

As the weeks passed the fear began to be more controlled and we sought refuge in being creative in the way we know best – through writing. Tentatively we started writing together again.

‘Let’s do some flash,’ we said.

We’d written a couple of short stories and thought that was manageable. So, we talked through ideas and came up with a couple of stories based on lockdown. That led to publications – see the news section – which gave us the energy to tackle something else.

What Next?

We started a short story which led to another and then another which we sent to our writing group. Before we knew it, we had a novelette.

Then we returned to the ideas we had been working on pre-pandemic. We had finished a novella, pre-pandemic, and had been trying to write the sequel to our first novel (out on submission).

At the beginning of August, we started writing. Before Christmas we had 120k words of a very rough and ready first draft. The buzz was tremendous, and it seemed to write itself in the end. But – we were exhausted. We decided to step back from the writing to recharge our batteries.

The New Year Plans

This brings us to our resolutions for 2021. We so enjoy writing together and we have so many ideas that our heads are bursting but we realise that we need to pace ourselves. The creative urge and joy we get from writing together cannot be measured but – we need to be realistic about our physical and mental welfare as well.

Wellbeing Is The Key

The pandemic is ongoing and keeping safe and sane is priority for both of us. We intend to start editing What’s Left Behind soon but when we are ready, and at a slower, more measured pace. We love this story, and we want to make sure that it is as good as we can make it before sending it out into the world.

We are readers, as well as writers, and have found great pleasure and comfort in reading during the strange times in which we find ourselves.

So, to all our fellow writers. Have new hope for a new year and keep writing.