What the Pandemic Did to My Writing

Yes. I see how I’m putting the blame on the virus and not my reaction to it. But let’s pretend I’m not the only one who has done that…

If you’d told me in early 2020 that I’d have 18+ months with extra time on my hands, I would’ve rejoiced and plotted out several series to write. In fact, I’d already done that. But with all the uncertainty of when and how–or even if–normal life would start up again, I found it harder and harder to know what to prioritize or which ideas to develop. Just as the days, weeks, and months blurred together in a confused mental Covid Calendar, so did my plans and plots for stories to come. And just as those months seeped into years, so did my capacity to second-guess and procrastinate. The future seemed like a labyrinth of dead ends, and I was reluctant to start a story I couldn’t finish.

Funny stories felt needed, but harder to write. If I couldn’t laugh, how could I help others?

Fantasy felt needed, but harder to write. If the real world felt unreal, how could I build a world I understood?

Faith-promoting essays felt needed, but harder to write. Though my faith actually grew during this time, I doubted my ability to articulate it in a way that could help people through the extra burdens of the pandemic.

And so, all the projects I promised once upon a time–including my pet project of expanding my debut novel into a full epic fantasy series–fell by the wayside, and I mostly focused on polishing my backlist and creating series omnibus collections.

Not surprisingly, sales plummeted with my lack of marketing gumption, and that created a vicious cycle of its own. If readers weren’t reading, why should I write? But if I didn’t give them something new to read, wasn’t that on me? Or was everyone just lost in a stupor, watching angry cable news or silly TikTok vids?

So, here I am looking a new calendar year approaching and asking myself, “Am I going to let this one slip by, too?”

No.

And, if I’m kind to myself, I’ll note I didn’t waste all that time. I just refocused. I lost almost 60lbs and regained so much energy and mobility. I read the scriptures cover-to-cover multiple times and then dove back in to take a slow, in-depth study that has greatly expanded my spiritual foundation. I found myself in a variety of teaching opportunities, both online and in person, and improved in that craft as well. My husband and I remodeled our home and grew in love for each other as we embraced the Empty Nest phase of our lives together.

It’s been a productive, crazy, wonderful, awful, scary, faith-promoting, foggy-brained, perspective-changing season. Writing may not have happened, but I’ll have much more experience from which to draw when I sit down to write now.

2022, I’m ready to get rolling again. I hope you’re all ready to read!