Announcing the 2020 December Writing Challenge: “Accentuate the Positive”

(“In Case You Missed It Monday” is my chance to showcase something that I wrote and published in another venue, but is still relevant. This week’s post originally appeared on as part of the 2020 December Writing Challenge.)

The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”—Anna Quindlen

The act of writing is always a personal one. Even with supposedly dry, technical content, authors can’t help bringing a piece of themselves to the work.

This is why at SolarWinds, we eagerly anticipate the December Writing Challenge each year. Since 2016, the THWACK® community has participated in an exercise allowing us to peek into the minds, hearts, and lives of the folks we know as colleagues, coworkers, and friends. The daily word or phrase may start with a point of history, technology, or culture, but it almost always teaches us more about each other—a perfect reflection of the SolarWinds® community, philosophy, and ideals.

About the Writing Challenge

Throughout December, one writer—chosen from among the SolarWinds staff and THWACK MVPs—will be the lead writer each day. You (the THWACK community) are invited to contribute your own thoughts each day on the lead post and the topic itself.

Comments—which can be anything from a thoughtful response to the lead article; to your own bit of writing; to an image evocative of the prompt for the day; to a video—will garner you friendship, camaraderie, and 200 THWACK points per day. (A gentle reminder to our community: points will be awarded after the challenge is complete. If you pester me about them before then, I’ll have to give you The Stern Geek Stare, and nobody wants that.)

You’ll find each day’s post under the “December Writing Challenge 2020” tag . Take a moment now to “follow” it so you don’t miss a single post. As in past years, I’ll write a summary of the week and post it in the Geek Speak forum​.

About “Accentuate the Positive”

This year, the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have been an inescapable fact and facet of our daily existence. To ignore it in the last month of the year would be akin to ignoring the elephant who’s not just in the room but sitting in your favorite chair clipping its toenails.

But SolarWinds—and by extension the writing challenge—has always been about finding solutions, personal growth, and even joy in the face of a challenge. Our theme this year is “Accentuate the Positive,” giving us a chance to focus on the good things we’ve learned, acquired, or become as we continue to move toward the “next normal.”

To help you get your creative juices flowing, here’s the word list in advance.

Everyone here on THWACK is looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Dec 1Connecting in a Disconnected WorldLeon Adato
Dec 2Show Us Your Office Space
(Whether improvised, shared, or particularly beautiful, WFH offices have been our work home (not) away from home in 2021.)
Paul Guido (MVP)
Dec 3Pet Peeves: Home Office Edition
((my officemate never puts the dishes in the dishwasher) <Did you really just microwave salmon?>)
Jez Marsh (MVP)
Dec 4I Was Today Years Old When I LearnedJeremy Mayfield (MVP)
Dec 5Tonight in Pandemic Viewing…Jenne Barbour
Dec 6Easy Home IT UpgradesSascha Giese
Dec 7Separation AnxietyOlivia Palmer
Dec 8My New Hobby: Lessons Learned
(aka Intro to Woodworking: Still have all my digits and my eye is getting better.)
Kevin Sparenberg
Dec 9I Didn’t Think I’d Ever Need __________Adam Timberly (MVP)
Dec 10What Day Is It?
(Seriously, without looking at your phone…)
Mark Roberts (MVP)
Dec 11Connecting With My Community 
Dec 12Keeping an Active MindTom Iannelli (MVP)
Dec 13Quarantine Cuisine
(What new recipes did you make or attempt?)
Destiny Bertucci
Dec 14Am I on Mute? Being Heard While RemoteKathleen Walker
Dec 15Sweatpants are now business attire
(Pants, or Nah?)
Jake Muszynski (MVP)
Dec 16The Growing Pandemic Family
(From betas in a fishbowl to babies in a bassinet.)
Liz Beavers
Dec 17Pets on ZoomPeter Di Stefano
Dec 18Finding FriendshipFaria Akram
Dec 19Overcoming AnxietyMaisie Sackett
Dec 20Today, I tried…
(New hobbies to get you away from your computer)
Danielle Livy
Dec 21Not All Introverts ❤ WFHRebecca Smith
Dec 22Confessions of a Shopaholic
(Amazon Prime is at my house at least once daily.)
Kim Cecchini
Dec 23Taking PTO and Going…Nowhere
(Zen and the Art of the Staycation )
Lisa Sherwin-Wulf
Dec 24All Dressed Up With Nowhere to GoPatrick Hubbard
Dec 25How to Safely Entertain Guests During a PandemicThomas LaRock
Dec 26Adventures in Home Tech Support
(TFW you’re in the in-home help desk)
Holger Mundt (MVP)
Dec 27Ending My DoomscrollChrystal Taylor
Dec 28“When This Is Over, …”
(Post-Lockdown Me)
Alli Rael
Dec 29What I hated loved about 2020.Tiffany Nels
Dec 30Monitoring Mixology – Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bourbon
(You know it’s quarantine drinking when the liquor store calls to find out what YOU have in stock.)
(Share your favorite quarantin-y cocktail recipes!)
Thomas LaRock
Dec 31What’s the Plural of Apocalypse?Grace Gilker
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