Twenty-twenty will probably become a byword for complete and nonsensical chaos for years to come, and rightfully so. But the very real and scrappy efforts made to create and grow in the last twelve months aren’t something that should be tossed into the flaming dumpster and forgotten along with your year’s-worth of bread recipes and investment in day of the week sweatpants.
Today, I’m looking back on the best and brightest moments of my year to celebrate those hard-won victories and commemorate the not-so-terrible parts of 2020 for posterity. If you’re into behind-the-scenes commentary, recap episodes, or an individual rambling on and on about their own accomplishments, you’re going to love this.
Highlight #10: New and Improved
One thing I was super excited to check off my 2020 To Do list was making some major updates to my websites here and at BumbleBess.com. Some soft rebranding here, more mobile-friendly tweaks there, and lots of organization behind the scenes made a huge difference.
Making those updates was also a great excuse to learn how to use WordPress’s new features, which sparked some fresh new ideas for my blogging. I call that a win-win!
Highlight #9: Glow Up
I’m probably not the only person who went through some hair-related drama this year. In my case, the sudden lack of salon patronage was the perfect excuse to do what I deep-down, really-and-truly wanted. Goodbye, overgrown angular bob! Hello, shaved head and colorful locks! Let’s face it; life’s too short for shampoo.
Highlight #8: Artsy-Fartsy
One of the things I mentioned in last year’s highlight reel was a growing interest in illustration. Well! I not only found the courage to post more of my digital artwork through events like #Drinktober2020, but I released a set of illustrated cards in my shop. Now that I’ve broken through my art-sharing shyness, who knows what the future holds!
Highlight #7: Drinking it In
After some soul searching, I decided it was time to stop being stubborn about monetizing my blogging and opened up an account on Ko-fi. This site allows me to receive one-time donations which go toward my small business expenses, helps pay for my design software, and allows me to put more time into creative projects like writing fiction, trying my hand at more illustration, working on personal designs for BumbleBess.com, and pumping out more amazing content for this blog.
I would love to reach a place where all of that is covered through my Ko-fi earnings. It may not be possible for a good long time, but every donation is a step in the right direction. This year felt like the right time to take some first steps.
Highlight #6: Special Events
When your happy space online is hit with doom-scrollers, media-cleansers, and political-campaigners, it becomes clear that having a happy space means creating a happy space for yourself. Lucky for me, I’m great at that!
I threw myself a bookish Halloween party, made Wednesdays the unofficial “Bring Your Social Media to Work Day”, curated more Twitter lists for enjoyable and relevant scrolling, and added extra color to my feed with fun new content designed purely to make me happy.
Highlight #5: I Tried
I tried a bunch of things in 2020. Not all of them were a great fit. Not all of them brought me the success I envisioned (or even came close to the outcome I planned), and some of them were more headache than adventure. But I wanted to try.
Some things I tried, regardless of outcome:
- having an online tea party via Zoom
- doing a 30 day yoga challenge
- sending Christmas cards to people from social media
- starting a book club with friends
- role-playing as a unicorn for D&D
- learning Spanish on Duolingo
- reviewing more ARCs
- keeping a 9am to 5pm work schedule
- joining a writer’s group
- reaching out for more guest blogging opportunities
- hosting online events and hashtag games
I didn’t learn as much as I hoped, keep up like I was sure I could, or master the scads of skills without even trying like I secretly fantasized. But I’m ending 2020 knowing that I tried, and genuinely feeling like that was enough.
Highlight #4: Guest Casting
I was thrilled to be invited on the Phoenix Fiction Writers’ podcast all the way back last January to talk about branding for authors. It was cool to have a conversation with some of my favorite people from the internet about a subject I’m truly passionate (and maybe too opinion-y) about. And I know everyone says it, but hearing my voice recorded is SUPER WEIRD.
Highlight #3: More Letters Than the Alphabet
I feel hugely accomplished when I look back at the Myers-Briggs inspired collection I designed for BumbleBess.com. This project was something of an undertaking with my… ambitious… decision to create 64 individual letters. The result is totally worth the effort, if I do say so myself.
Highlight #2: Reviews by Elza
I didn’t read as much in 2020 for a lot of the same reasons you’ve heard from your other bookish friends, and maybe a few special twists all my own. I’m not a fan of forcing something that simply isn’t working, so I stuck to reading books I was excited about, let myself be the super-slow reader I naturally am, and didn’t let Goodreads get me down about my reading progress.
I enjoyed the books I did get to immensely because I indulged in authors I already adore and chose stories that I knew I’d love. I revisited classics like The Wizard of Oz. Finished reading a series (whaaaaat?!). And was invited to read ARCs from some amazing 2020 debut authors.
Some of my favorites:
- The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy
- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
- Holes by Louis Sachar (reread)
- Skies of Dripping Gold by Hannah Heath (had to check out the audiobook edition)
- Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
- Mulrox and the Malcognitos by Kerelyn Smith
- Piper Reed, Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt
- My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner
- The All the Wrong Questions series by Lemony Snicket
I’ve already got big plans for my reading and book blogging next year, and feel especially motivated to make good on them. Expect to see brand new book lists, recommendations, and reviews from me in the near future.
Highlight #1: Personal Best
This blog has continued to grow, evolve, and become the creative hub I always envisioned. We ended 2020 with over 250 followers, which is quite an accomplishment in my eyes.
I got to do some really fun things this year, including the For the Love of Fonts blog series and my very first Q&A event! I’ve started sharing end-of-the-month recap posts, began the Word of the Week series, and learned lots of new words. Adding new ideas to this place, sharing my thoughts, and creating something helpful through increasingly difficult months has been the most rewarding part of my year.
My Top Blog Posts of 2020, (According to WordPress):
I hope you’ll feel inspired to hit pause and look at your own highlight reel. I think the best way to combat the negative is to keep our eyes fixed on the positives. Maybe it doesn’t fix all our problems, but it can certainly keep us hopeful, grateful, and willing to try.
What were some of your 2020 highlights? Feel free to share in the comments!