I wasn't going to do a review piece this year because... *gestures around*. However upon reviewing my year I realised there were some really good things that happened and I wanted to focus on them. A little bit of good amongst the bad. I've mentioned before how bad coffee is actually better than good coffee, so I see 2020 as the bad cup of coffee that makes us appreciate all the good ones we've had before.

Professional

The year started off with a practicum placement at ARDC/Curtin University, as part of my continuing studies. While I'm not a fan of free labour I actually appreciated the placement and was able to flex some skills that have not been used in some time. I helped review the 23 Research Data Things which let me become familiar with GitHub, and research data. Additionally, I was given a project that let me learn some Python, use Jupyter Notebooks, work with APIs, and dive deep into problem solving. That project was honestly the most professional fun I've had in years. I also treated myself to some new tattoos afterwards.

The day I returned to my regular work was the day all the public libraries were shut down. So I soon found myself working from home and pivoting to creating and editing online storytime videos. This worked out well because newCardigan also moved to online video for a lot of our output during this time. While I'm nowhere near anything considered 'good', I can find my way around iMovie now. I also wrote The newCardigan 10 Minute Film School article to encourage others. Quarantinis with Justini and our ongoing cardiShorts are some of the most fun content I've helped create for newCardigan.

Personal

Weirdly enough 2020 saw some welcomed improvements to my personal life/well being. The main thing being that I switched swing dancing schools in January and well, the wonderful and amazing people at Swing Zing took me under their wing. While I only got to dance with them in person for 2 or so months they quickly adapted to onilne 'Iso-hop' classes so I still got to dance and see some friendly faces during our lockdown.

Since being in Perth we've been SO LUCKY, and our social dancing was able to start back up again in June-July. Around this time I was encouraged to go to the local Friday night dance spot (something I was a little terrified of) and honestly, I haven't looked back. In fact, the Friday's where I can't dance are the worst. Then, for some unknown reason, the team at Swing Zing asked me to start teaching and wow, has that been a crash course in impostor syndrome or what. Oh and somehow I managed to become treasurer of the Perth Swing Dance Society (which is 100% Charlotte's fault). So yeah, this is my new obsession and I apologise to all the people I've abandoned to go dancing instead. #sorrynotsorry

"I need a dance teacher. You're it, until you're dead or I find someone better."

A challenge I set myself at the beginning of the year was to finally finish putting up my novella House of Discordia. I knew it wasn't going to be perfect but I wanted to put it out there. I also made a very strong start on the sequel, Hel is a Four Letter Word, which I should finish next year and can start writing something new. I also wanted to push myself to promote it a bit more too which had mixed results, thank you to the one or two people who might be reading them though.

Guesting on podcasts seems to be a thing I did a bit of in 2020. Swing Zing has a fun little podcast called Untangling the Mess-a-Round which I co-hosted once and appear on a few others. The wonderful Justine invited me on her podcast, Literary Elixirs, to discus The Rook which I had many opinions about. I quite enjoyed it and it was a bit of a new creative outlet to try.

Looking Forward

This year saw me working more on my personal/creative life while my professional life took a back-seat. While that is great I'm looking forward to more professional challenges in the new year to help round myself out. While I come from a place of enormous privilege, I've had some good things come from this year, despite everything. I'm not going to tempt fate by asking 2021 to 'bring it on', but I have some clear goals to work on in the coming months and look forward to the challenge.