Don’t Write Alone | Writing Life

The Joy of Writing Got Me Through the Pandemic

I decided I was going to write something just for me, something I loved, to keep me company during the hard, lonely months of 2020.

The Wedding Date

When a book I’m writing feels right, I feel this same burst of excitement—to jump back into the story, to see what happens next, to figure out who these characters really are and what surprises they have in store. It gives me a thrill every time.

While We Were Dating

For a long time, I didn’t even call what I was writing a book—it was just a thing in a notebook that no one but me knew about. It reminded me of those very early days of writing my first novel, when I was writing just for the excitement and joy of it.

Notebooks containing the first draft of While We Were Dating / Photograph courtesy of the author

And this book brought me so much joy—most of the joy I experienced in those long, difficult months, as a matter of fact. A lot of really hard things happened during that time, and when they did, I would retreat into the world of this book—a world where hard things also happen, but where I got to control them. This isn’t to say writing it was easy; I cried over it, many times, just as I cry over all of my books. But it also made me laugh, smile from ear to ear, and just be quietly happy: a feeling I had so little of last year.

There were multiple days during the pandemic when the promise of getting to write some more was the only thing that got me up in the morning. And there was one glorious evening when I wrote a scene that I loved, that made my soul sing, and that I knew, immediately, was the core of the book. I texted some writer friends right afterward, and they celebrated with me, because they also know how great that kind of moment feels.

In the midst of so much fear, disappointment, and loss, it’s the joy I experience when writing that got me through this latest book—and through the last year. So, writers, if you hear people talking about how unbearable writing is and think there might be something wrong with you because you earnestly enjoy it, come over here and sit with me.