There is no getting around it: writers write about writing from time to time. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, writing and related tasks like reading, exercise, gardening and cooking have become my sole occupation. As I consider what is possible in 2022, writing and all that surrounds it will be a main part of my daily routine.
Work continues on the multi-year project that is my autobiography. The 13 three-ring binders in the photo are the containers for the first rough draft. The main 2022 project is filling them with a narrative. A key challenge is reviewing the source material in the form of files, journals, public writing, and internet searches. There is a lot of source material and a lot of reading ahead. Last year I wrote at least 1,000 words per day until April, then slowed down. Next year I hope to continue my progress almost every day until the first draft is completed. That may be in 2023 depending upon how 2022 goes.
For now I continue to write blog posts which are published here, on Blog for Iowa, and on a couple of other sites. The subjects have been varied yet they are comprised of two main topics: stories dovetailed into my autobiographical work and current affairs with an Iowa focus. I will have written about 350 posts in 2021, although I expect to slow down next year to focus on autobiographical writing.
At least once a month I plan to write a letter to the editor of the local newspapers. I may branch out with submissions to other papers in Iowa’s new First Congressional District, yet the best impact is closer to home. My primary topics are nuclear disarmament, the climate crisis, and current affairs. When I write to our local newspaper, the Solon Economist, the topics expand to more local issues like the fire station or recognizing local activities. All of my letters are cross-posted on this blog.
I am an email writer and occasional letter writer. I adopted email when I worked for the oil company beginning in 1989. From the beginning I saw it as a valuable medium. It really took off when we bought our first home computer in 1996. While I don’t have copies of most of my work emails, there is a trove of emails relevant to my autobiography dating to 1999. I will continue to write emails as a creative outlet, in addition to taking care of quotidian affairs.
I continue to maintain the journal started after college graduation. With the exception of the bound journal stolen from me in Calais, France, I have them all. I use it to record personal things that aren’t suitable for public consumption. Increasingly I monitor my health there.
Lastly, social media is a form of writing although we tend to view it as throw-away texts of little significance after posting. I expect to continue to post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. According to Twitch TV, in 2021 I posted 8,075 chat messages on the platform. My main goals for social media posting are to be kind, honest and thoughtful. I will also endeavor to re-read every post before hitting send.
I am lucky to have stable, adequate pension income after more than 50 years in the workforce. When the pandemic slowed everything down and raised a real risk of contracting COVID-19, stepping back from paid work was possible. For the coming year, I don’t foresee an initiative to take paid work as the coronavirus is still with us. That will enable me to focus on writing.
The forecast is fair writing weather ahead, depending upon what weather in real life does.