A few weeks ago, I told my Twitter followers that I was taking an indefinite break from writing. Many of them told me that writing would wait for me when I’d be ready again. Some of them worried about my announcement. I’ve never hidden my struggle with anxiety and depression, so I told them that I was just not willing to call myself a ‘writer’ anymore. Why? Because the title brought me immense pressure – pressure to sell more books, pressure to get more Kindle Unlimited page reads, pressure to get social media attention on myself and my books. And of course, the book to screen deals on fellow authors’ timelines. Go ahead and judge me for speaking from my heart but that’s what I do. Call it jealousy? Maybe a tad bit, yes. Call me insecure? Most of us are but hide it.
With my tweet, I got rid of a burden. The burden of expectations that I’d tortured myself with for years. We all define success in various ways and I was just not able to live up to my own definition for it — happiness. Fast forward to a couple of weeks later I had zero new words down and felt lighter because I was no longer a Writer. And then the world came tumbling down.
An empath and a highly sensitive introvert, I have always been great at putting myself in other people’s shoes or rather, hearts. This means that the corona virus pandemic hit me hard. Even with reduced time on social media, it left me feeling so many feelings. It may be a curse to feel so much, but this is who I am. The visuals from Italy and concern for my friend there and others I know in my beloved United States, made me emotional. Feeling the loss and pain of loved ones who have lost — nameless humans to me — drove me back to my pen. That’s how last week’s poem on this blog came about. That’s also how I realised how important books and writers are in this time of lockdowns and uncertainty. I have been reading books that have given me the privilege of armchair travel. Of hope.
I have wanted to quit writing multiple times over the years as many writers have wanted to. It isn’t an easy path. But this time was different. I NEED to write. Maybe not a romance. Maybe a few poems. Perhaps a short story. Or possibly a novella. But all I know now is that I must write. A writer will always be a writer — even if she removes the title from her bio.