Each year I have a word that I adopt as a word of the year. Two years ago, in 2019, my word was courage. In 2020, well before the pandemic, protests, and election, I gave myself permission to rest. For 2021, the word for me is connection.
In 2019, I had to constantly look for courage to keep working on my book. With each step I took to publish Kidnapped Asylum—the writing, the self-editing, sending it to the editor, and then finally hitting the publish button, I needed to find courage. Then I decided that I needed to write a nonfiction book and I worked on Intentional Inboxes. It gave me all the feels again of needing to find courage every step of the way. To this day, I still have to find courage to improve my books.
So in 2020, I gave myself permission to rest. I no longer woke before the sun rose and I no longer had a date with my journal and keyboard every morning. It's a good thing I did, because I would not have been able to meet any writing goals in 2020. With the weirdness of the pandemic and being thrust into being with my family 24/7 without any downtime, I didn't need an arbitrary deadline of a manuscript looming over me.
Now it's nearing the end of the first month of 2021 and my word of the year is connection. I spent a lot of time in 2020 recharging (after I was able to secure some precious downtime) and am now craving more connections. The good news is that I get to interact with other adults on a near-daily basis when I am teaching. The bad news is that we still have to mask up and social distance. The other good news is that several local organizations have free online writing groups. Some meet weekly. Some meet once a month. But the best news is that within each of those groups, I feel a connection to other people. People who want to create a connection with me and with whom I want to create a connection. Maybe, just maybe, those connections won't have to be overshadowed by, "Brandi, you're muted," and cameos of my, ahem, wonderful children for too much longer. But until the day comes when I can safely sit at home and join my writing groups remotely because I want to and not because I have to, I will enjoy my virtual connection with the fantastic writing communities I've joined.