Six weeks ago, I had a plan. A content calendar for an entirely new direction I wanted to take with my writing. I was stoked. It was the first time I had felt inspired in months, and I woke up excited to start executing. I worked on outline after outline, trying to get my messaging right. I spent days relentlessly trying to find the right words to introduce it to my audience. Forcing back the imposter syndrome so I could power through this boost in momentum.
Then, about a month ago, everything changed. A new C-word infiltrated the news cycle, and I could think of nothing else. I had to make quick decisions about what I was going to do, where I was going to live and come to terms with the fact that I have no control over what happens next.
I’ve been in Asia for over two years, so when the news broke out of China, I knew it would be long before I had to make these kinds of choices, but naivety set it, and I waited to see what would happen.
While my life didn’t change that drastically — I still have clients, and was already working from home — my attitude took a 180. The excitement and passion I was feeling was pushed aside and replaced with feelings of anger, sadness, resentment, guilt, and fear. Now, these feelings are all co-existing every day, each one fighting to take the lead, while I do everything I can to numb the emotions by diving headfirst into projects that now seem meaningless.
Everything I planned to write about a month ago now reads as shallow and out of touch. News is happening so fast, and I can’t even keep up. Nothing I have to say feels timely, or relevant. It feels selfish to talk about anything other than all of the pain people are feeling. It feels hopeless to try and create light, fluffy content to make people feel better. It feels opportunistic to offer my services to businesses that might be struggling to stay afloat.
There was a time where I wrote dozens of articles about working remotely, and even consulted with a few businesses on how to help their teams go remote.
Now that working from home is the new normal, one part of me resents my past self for not doubling down on this niche. The opportunistic voice in my head tells me that this could have been a huge opportunity to make an impact. Jumping on the bandwagon now feels tone-deaf and gross.
Then there’s another voice. A voice even more cynical than the first that’s critical of everyone trying to make the most out of this moment in history. This voice is poking holes in the missions of all of the companies who “want to help during these challenging times” with lead magnets and tripwires disguised as free tools designed to help.
Neither of those voices is rational, and they’re just weak coping mechanisms I’ve acquired to make myself feel better for just not really feeling up to creating right now. I have plenty of free time, and instead of using this time to get ahead of the recession, build more income streams, and fast-track my side projects, I’m spending my days worried about “what-ifs.”
Sharing my discomfort when so many others are suffering so much more feels insensitive. Creating “quarantine” content feels like I’m exploiting a bad situation for my own gain. And beyond that, my brain can’t form the right words to make anything make sense right now.
I read other people’s content, and in my mind, it looks as though they haven’t skipped a beat. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others because things are not always as they seem. Maybe their coping mechanisms are just more productive than mine? Perhaps they had already written those posts, pre-pandemic? Maybe they’re able to compartmentalize their emotions so that it doesn’t affect their writing? I guess I’ll never know.
I want to be able to write through it and find the words to express something that uplifts or inspires, but my brain is tired and confused. My voice feels like a weak whisper among a crowded room of people all shouting to be heard.