The year 2020 was a painful and frustrating reminder to many of us that even the best laid plans can be wrecked by unforeseen circumstances. Although I’ve had dark moments when I’ve wondered if it’s worth making plans for 2021 when the immediate future is still uncertain as the coronavirus vaccine is being rolled out, I’ve been tentatively filling in my calendar for the next twelve months and planning my work schedule.

The Smuggler's Wife

The Smuggler's Wife

When it comes to writing novels, a rather convenient version of self-isolation, there’s no way that I’ll let the pesky virus alter my plans. I’m a plotter who uses coloured pens, rolls of wallpaper lining paper and post-it notes to create timelines, character outlines and lists of scenes, rather than a pantster who improvises as they go along. As I wrote The Smuggler’s Wife during lockdown, I knew exactly where Grace’s story was going. Except for a few surprise diversions, it ended up very much as I’d intended.

I’ve started some similar exciting projects for 2021 in the same way – my desk is already buried under fresh pieces of paper and it takes me a few minutes to find a pen. I have ideas for more sagas and a new series of contemporary feel-good fiction, but I’m still musing on the big question of whether or not to include any mention of the pandemic which has damaged lives and livelihoods.

Acknowledging that our lives will eventually return to something more like normal by keeping my calendar up to date is a comfort to me. It might be too early to make plans for author signings and talks for 2021, but I have pencilled in meetings with friends and family for socially distanced dog walks and coffees. Although I know that they might have to be postponed, depending on further lockdowns, they are highlights to look forward to during the weeks and months ahead.

RELATED: The life of a fisherman’s wife by Evie Grace

As for the day to day organisation, I’m addicted to making lists because they give my life the routine and structure that I need as someone who works from home. I’ve just planted blackcurrants and ordered netting for a new soft fruit bed in the garden, and set a challenge to teach my delinquent Labrador a new trick every day – okay, so that’s a little ambitious and may have to be revised to one a week, but if 2020 has taught me anything,

it’s how to be more patient and accepting when life doesn’t go to plan and to live for the moment.

Finally, I’ve carried over some plans from 2020 into 2021 for when the pandemic recedes: a Christmas get-together, a spa day in Bath, punting on the Cam, an outing to the panto, and best of all, a road trip – with every stop on the way carefully arranged in advance, of course - to visit friends and family, many of whom I haven’t seen for over a year, to give them all a great big post-Covid hug.

RELATED: How I spent my lockdown by Evie Grace 

As a writer, I spend much of my time socially distanced and locked down at my laptop anyway, so when Covid-19 struck in March, life should have carried on as usual, except that it didn’t. I missed my weekly stint volunteering at the village shop and visiting family and friends. Trips out for coffee or to buy produce from the local market were replaced by a compulsion to watch the daily coronavirus briefings and every news update that was available. Plans for travelling to London to lunch with my agent and editor were shelved, although I’d been lucky in that I’d made an essential research trip to Deal in Kent before lockdown, so I had plenty of material for The Golden Maid, my latest novel... to read more click HERE