Looking Back, Looking Ahead


The best – or at least, most amusing – Christmas gift of 2020 is pictured here; my sister found these ornaments on Etsy.

‘Tis the time of year to reflect on the triumphs and challenges of the past 12 months.

Two books I edited were published this year, one fiction and one nonfiction, in addition to writing and/or editing multiple magazine articles and a news website.

I count myself fortunate that very few clients had to fall away in 2020, and the ones whose businesses closed will, I hope, go on to succeed in other pursuits.

This week in the Los Angeles Times, writer Deborah Netburn summarized the changes 2020 has brought to our collective vocabulary – which, in turn, will affect the written word as well.

We think of the words “surge” and “zoom” and “pod” in completely different contexts now – and if I hear anything described as “unprecedented” again, I might scream. Alone in my office, I guess it won’t matter…

Already in news editing, we’ve gone from “the novel coronavirus” to “SARS-CoV-2” to “COVID-19” to simply “Covid,” and the various news outlets can’t seem to agree on which letters to capitalize. It’s hard to keep up.

These days can also be exhausting in general. Back in May, I saw an interview with actor/activist Sean Penn, spot-on as he described the decisions required even for basic errands: Can I touch that? Am I far enough away from this person? Should I sanitize this? No wonder people would rather stay home.

But it’s also such a fascinating time – deadly virus, toxic politics, racial reckoning. I’m journaling about it for future generations, and rethinking what’s important as I grow my business.

I’m getting more requests to edit works of fiction – something I never thought I’d be interested in, but seem to have a knack for, so I plan to hone those skills in the New Year.

In the nonfiction world, I’m looking into the emerging specialty of fact-checking to add to my repertoire, as someone who loves doing research.

In short, it will be up to me to make 2021 brighter for my one-person company. I'm ready for the challenge.