Reflections on the shitstorm: 2020 in review
This year has taught me never to moan ever again about anything being difficult. That’s mostly due to spending 75% of the year trying to homeschool and work at the same time.
I say homeschool, I mean asking the kids to count how many chips there are on their plate before dinner and teaching them how to work the Sky remote, then periodically howling every five minutes when I’m interrupted by small people for a drink/snack/”tell him to stop taking my power ranger!”.
Stay-at-home parents deserve to be paid. More than me. More than everyone. Caring is the hardest work. I am a husk of my former self. Two weeks marinading in Christmas cheese and wine is the only cure.
When the lovely little beasts finally went back to school for a reasonable stretch (which was November for us due to various bubbles bursting and hospital stays), my working pattern went from 3 days a week to 5 days a week and I didn’t even notice for the first month. It still felt like I was on holiday. We moved house in November — a pretty stressful move in the end —and it was NBD. Compared to the constant soul-suck of looking after my own glorious, cherubic offspring for 24 hours a day, it felt like doing a slightly difficult crossword.
I will never take childcare for granted again.
Also, ask me about Minecraft. I can tell you anything.
How did work go?
My only real work resolution for 2020 was to offer online workshops and one-to-one packages for small business owners. Despite many other things going tits up, I couldn’t have picked a better time for that.
I ran three online workshops in total – Write to the Heart and two versions of Writing for Human Connection, one in collaboration with Sam Mason from Digital Tapas. They were revelationary. Putting them together and delivering them was deeply satisfying work, and the atmosphere each time was great. Figuring out what I wanted to talk about got me closer to understanding a key strand to what I do — helping business-owners find authentic, empathetic ways of expressing themselves online.
My one-to-one programme Mighty Messaging ran twice, giving marketing and copy support for business owners looking to launch or reposition services. I loved delivering this more than anything, and no coincidence again that I got to work with 100% great folks (showing that this style of marketing works — if you talk about it in the right way, you draw in your people!).
I launched my newsletter The Penny Drop in the summer. Despite all my anxieties about nobody wanting another bloody newsletter, it had a lovely response and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. But it was the first thing to drop when life got hectic. One to work on in 2021.
My actual copywriting work has been up and down like a yo-yo, but that’s allowed me to look at other areas. I’ve spent some time working on my money mindset with Ray Dodd and completed Kirsty Hulse‘s fantastic Scared to Shining speaker programme, which gave me so much more than just the guts to go up onstage/in front of camera and talk.
Overall, I’ve grown my income as much as I’d hoped to at the start of the year, worked with some brilliant humans and gained a clearer idea of what I’m all about. Was it all a bit of a scramble? Yes. Have I pushed too hard at times when I should have gone for a lie down? Probably. Have I gained grey hairs in places I don’t even want to mention in the process? I’ll say. Should I have given less of a shit about some of it? Almost certainly, but here we are. 2020 is all about those brutal life lessons. Getting here in one piece is commendable. Anything beyond that deserves cake.
What’s up in 2021 then?
I’m terrified of making any sort of plans at the moment (is this just me?) and feeling rather directionless, but at some point I’m going to have to start peering forwards into the unknowable murk of 2021. The Penny Drop will be back. I’m going to pick up my #write52 project where I left off in March so I can finish a full year of writing about number one singles, for no discernible reason other than I REALLY want to finish (I was only 12 weeks off the end when COVID hit).
I’m challenging myself to do more speaking and presenting, because, despite it being terrifying, I love it. And because it seems to hit the same sweet spot as standing on a stage and making a musical racket, back when we were allowed to do that sort of thing.
And I’m going to blog more. Write more. For whoever will have me. Chatting in my own voice just did not happen enough this year, and life was duller and more unfulfilling for it.
That was my 2020. Fucking hell you lot, we did it. No idea how, but here we are.
I hope your 2021 exceeds your expectations in the same way that 2020 totally buggered them.
Image – Kelly Sikkema