‘A writer is one who writes’: Covid has made life harder – but I’m still hopeful

Amid the instability of the pandemic, I’ve found peace helping younger writers and teaching them there are many ways to become a writer

Before Covid-19, as a freelance writer, I spent so many days a year on the road for work that I did not have routines and was hardly anywhere long enough to consider a place home. But I felt lucky to be making my living from the written word, which I had wanted to do since I was a child growing up in rural Arkansas. Covid has threatened to make this work more challenging for me as freelance budgets are cut, but recommitting to it every day, and to helping younger writers with diverse life and work experiences, has helped me remain hopeful.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote a quote from my Berea College classmate, the writer CE Morgan, in my notebook: “You do your work for years when it garners no attention, and you continue to do it once it does. No difference.” The pandemic upended many of the structures on which we staked our lives and identities – work, money, in person relationships with friends and family. In the first month of the pandemic, there were days when I worried about my livelihood disappearing, and I did cry imagining the end of my career as a freelance writer. But my will to write is tied to life itself, and remembering that gave me a measure of peace.

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