Monthly Wrap-Up – March 2020

Hello everyone,

Well, I think it is fair to say that March was a month like no other. It has been an extremely worrying and unsettling time which has brought about wholesale changes to the way we live, and that sadly looks set to continue for several more weeks.

As I have adapted to the need to stay at home and socially distance myself, I have simply tried my best to keep busy and not to become overly consumed in everything that is going on. Luckily, I have not lost the motivation for reading, writing, or indeed blogging.

When the social distancing measures began I thought here was an opportunity to read twice as many books as normal, but instead I have read at exactly the same speed. In March I managed to finish a total of five books, and here they are:

Containment ⭐⭐⭐.5
One Year Later ⭐⭐.5
The Good People ⭐⭐⭐
Circe ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dead Popular ⭐⭐⭐

In terms of writing, it has been an interesting month! I submitted a previous non-fiction WIP to a literary agency – I have not heard back yet which could partly be due to the current situation – and also began to revise my current WIP.

I had written something like 25,000 words on it, but this revision involved starting again almost from scratch. I made the decision because I just thought there was a much better way of telling the story, and having started I already feel more confident in the new version than I ever did in the other.

The other main change for me during March is having to work from home. I began doing this on Thursday 19th, and it was a completely new experience. It has not been as bad as I expected; I feel very focused and am trying to stick to a similar routine, which has so far worked well.

The biggest challenge with work at the moment are the constantly changing circumstances. March marked five years of working for the University of Bristol, which was a milestone that I am very proud of, but this year has been difficult due to academic strike action and COVID-19, which has seriously altered how students are assessed.

Before I had to start working from home, I made some excellent progress with piano playing, reaching intermediate level. As I have said before, there is no better feeling than when I master a new tune, and that applies to an even greater extent when they get more difficult.

To finish, here are some of my favourite blog posts from March:

  • Emmie gave an excellent analysis of ‘Love After Love’ by Derek Walcott, a meaningful poem that I studied briefly at GSCE.
  • Sofii wrote a fabulous discussion post about book rating systems and asks if they are really important.
  • NS Ford gathered some very enlightening information about whether or not readers think books should tie up all loose ends.

All the best for April, and happy reading 🙂

29 thoughts on “Monthly Wrap-Up – March 2020

  1. Congratulations on your submission and the progress on your WIP! And for reaching intermediate in piano. Glad you’re doing okay during the quarantine and work from home is working for you. Hope you’ll have a great reading and writing month this April too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on submitting your WIP and making progress on your other WIP, Stephen! I wish you the best of luck with writing and getting published 🙂 I’m also glad to hear that you’re adapting well to the changes that COVID-19 has brought about. I hope that you have a wonderful April ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Caitlin! I have a lot of time in April to focus on my WIP, so I shall try and keep the procrastination to a minimum haha. Hope you are well, and that you have a lovely April. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the five year milestone and submitting your WIP – that’s amazing! Five books in a month is great. I also read five books in March! Despite everything going on in the world, it sounds like March had some good things going for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on the 5 year milestone! Sounds like you read some great books in March and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Circe. March was a strange month and unfortunately with everything going on I only managed to read 2 books, hoping that April is better. Take care and stay safe, Stephen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Darina! Yes, March was a decent reading month and I’m excited for the books I have coming up in April. That’s fine, it is a scary situation at the moment so its understandable that you couldn’t read as much.
      I hope April is as it can be for you – take care! 🙂🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the shoutout 🙂 Glad you are doing OK. Nice to hear your play piano – do you have any favourite composers/genres etc to play?
    Also all the best with your WIP! I may be revising mine somewhat, seems it may never be finished!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! The app I am using to learn piano selects the tunes for me, but I have enjoyed playing Beethoven. Good luck with your WIP – when you are working on it for so long the end never seems to be in sight!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Looks like you had a good and productive month, regardless everything that has been happening. I hope it continues throughout April! 😊 I’ve only read Circe from your wrap up and judging by your rating we had a completely different experience 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Zaneta 😊. March was an up and down (not to mention strange) month, but I can certainly say it was productive!
      All I can say about Circe is wait to see my review! I awarded 4 stars but I did have some issues with it. I guess you didn’t like it? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking forward to it. It definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m curious to see what made you give it 4 stars.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope you hear back and get positive news from the literary agent very soon! I’m so happy that you liked Circe as its one of my favourite books 😊😊 I also thought that I would have more time for reading, but instead I have had to work a lot more than I usually do due to the situation 😅 Hope you are safe and well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pauliina! The literary agent said no to me unfortunately, but I feel like I am getting closer as I put together a good submission.
      Circe was magnificently written and I loved the way it reflected a lot of modern themes. 🙂
      Hope you are well too, and take care! 😊

      Like

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