Am I Still a Writer?

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I’d say I’ve fallen asleep at the keyboard, but that would imply I’ve been attempting to write. Some writers are flourishing during this time at home. Other writers continue in a lifestyle unaltered, focused on their work as they have always been. I, however, have failed to make any progress on my new novel.

There are a dozen excuses I could add here, and, like many others, I’m just as disturbed by what’s happening on our planet, but my decline in writing began weeks before the pandemic.

I can’t pinpoint why exactly I’ve abandoned my novel. I’ve taken breaks before out of necessity, but what began as a fracture has become a great tectonic divide. Whatever trouble led me astray has joined with the uncertainty of this new world to push me farther away.

My former self may be on a distant shore beyond my line of sight, but my current self continues to search for creative waters. I miss my book. I miss my writing pals. We’ve had one online meeting, and it was great to see them all smiling and healthy, but I felt like a fraud. The work I had submitted was old, and I’m afraid I’ll have nothing new when we meet again.

My characters are calling me. This blog is a means to clear my thoughts, and perhaps my ears, if I wish to hear the calls of my creations. “Are you still a writer?” they ask. “Are you still there?” I’m here, but I’ve got to get my head right first.

Sometimes our passions are overshadowed by anxiety and fear. Many times these feelings are internally generated, having no need of an external push, but right now the world is hurting. We are hurting as a species, and it’s bound to mess with our hearts and minds. Being distracted, or scared, or unsure of what’s to come can diminish the importance of our passion projects, but it’s now more than ever that we should look to the future.

The things you loved doing may be inacessible to you now, or so greatly altered that you feel robbed. Maybe the things you love are exactly the same, but you are now different. I think that’s the case with my book. Maybe I am changing, or adapting. Maybe I’m growing. Perhaps I’m only coping. Perhaps, as others have said, I am grieving for humanity lost. For those of us fortunate to survive, we will come out of this as someone new, and it will hurt for awhile.

Whoever you were before, the core of you that loved to run, or sculpt, or dance, or write, that person will return. That person is in you still. Don’t despair. This too shall pass. I am still a writer. The words will come again.

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