Life Update, Writer's Life

Hindsight 2020: 4 Bright Spots in a Transformative Year

This is the second part of a three-part blog series covering my reflections on this year 2020. To read the second part: Hindsight 2020: 3 Things to Leave Behind.


This year has been rough, to say the least. Between novel diseases, elections, and calls for revolution across the globe, the foundation of our everyday lives has been rocked. I have family and friends affected by these drastic changes. I felt both honored to be in a position to help, yet saddened on their behalf. My own life changed for the good and the uncertain.

I had intended for this year to be one of regular updates on The Lapis Lounge, with stories, recorded readings, and even experimenting with vlogs. Yet, it ended up being much of the same as previous years.

4 Bright Spots

Maintained Employment

By a miracle, I maintained staying employed at one employer for 2 years. I mentioned in a previous post how challenging traditional employment has been for me, so it’s nice to know that it is possible.

Thus, when lockdowns became prevalent where I live, I was able to work a split schedule between on site work and at-home work. As you may imagine, I oscillated between productivity and being a slug on the couch. But somehow I managed to do things that I’ve struggled with in the past.

Published, Finally

First short story published in an anthology. Support my fellow authors and myself by purchasing a copy of “A Guide to Useless Sidekicks” at this link:

Last year, I took the plunge and started submitting my short stories to anthologies. I didn’t expect much because I was familiar with the subjectivity and competitive nature of the process.

Then one of my short stories, Bright-Eyed, got accepted into A Guide of Useless Sidekicks Anthology. I was both shocked and so incredibly happy that even pandemic orders couldn’t bring down my hype.

So yes, now I’m a published author!

A Win For November

My progress over the course of this project looks like a rollercoaster.
A screenshot of the writing badges earned and final word count for the month at 50,146 words. Sourced from

When I was first introduced to National Novel Writing Month back in high school, I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until 2017 did I try it out.

I didn’t win that year.

Or the year after that, or the year after that.

Novels are intimidating. The way stories are told through novels is great for reading. But as a writer, it ran against my typical writing style. But it was nice to attempt it.

It was this year, amidst the calamity, that it clicked for me.

Write a novel as if it’s just a bunch of interrelated short stories.

Was it counter to every craft book about novel writing I’d read? Yes. Counter to the traditional way to go about Nanowrimo? Also, yes.

Yet, if there’s anything this year has taught me is that nothing is set in stone.

So that’s what I did.

And I won Nanowrimo for the first time.

Rediscovering Hobbies

A newly finished loop scarf that I crocheted in August. Posted onto my Instagram account (@magzimillion).

Toilet paper and disinfectant were flying off the shelves. Travel was restricted. People were panicking.

Then one of my best friends found out she was pregnant.

I stared at the world as I knew it collapsing and fixated on the one thing I could do to help us both cope.

I pulled out my knitting needles and yarn from the depths of the storage closet. I had fallen off the practice since I had The Outside to help with stress.

Now I was knitting a warm blanket for a baby I probably won’t meet in person for a while yet.

I finished it between existential dread and avoiding the existential dread. When my bestie got it, she was so grateful and it made me realize that we both needed something close to the familiar to breathe through this time.

So, I dabbled in crochet and played a few notes on my violin.

The crochet yield a more satisfying result.

What are your bright spots from 2020?

A lot of life-altering events happened this year but that doesn’t negate the good that occurred.

I challenge you, dear reader, to sit and take an honest look back on your year. Write down all the things that happened and draw circles around your bright spots.

Feel free to share in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Hindsight 2020: 4 Bright Spots in a Transformative Year”

  1. Congrats on your story, I’d hate to be the prince! I hope they announce the next anthology’s theme soon. I miss the writing group, I’m having a hard time being creative lately. It’s nice to see you posting.


    1. Thanks Tim! Yeah I miss writing group very much. I didn’t submit to their “Beneath the Misty Surface” theme call because around the deadline, I just couldn’t find my muse. So I get that creative struggle. But it’s completely okay to be struggling creatively. Kinda part of living through a time that everything you’re used to has been upended.

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