How it feels to write in 2020

Why I’ve struggled with content in a paused year

I’m slowly confronting why I haven’t been writing as much and if you’re also a writer you might feel the same.

I’m sure for almost everyone around the world, 2020 has been a shit show. The pandemic has been a nightmare to handle, but honestly if it was only a pandemic it wouldn’t be that bad.

For those who write frequently and are trying to come up with content ideas, you can’t help but go on the internet and read other content and news for inspiration. Unfortunately for Americans like me, news is dominated by the coronavirus, election cycle, and social unrest.

Amidst all of these things, I’m still trying to come up with new ideas and plow through the toxicity that is society in 2020. In July I published my most read article which now has 3,600 views (big deal for a small fish like me). I’ll be honest, it gave me satisfaction but it was very temporary.

Temporary satisfaction never lasts. I’m someone who’s very dependent on routine like most people who have a lot on their plate. Pre-pandemic I would wake up at 5:00 am every morning to go to the gym, work two jobs at two relatively early stage tech startups, and still make time to publish content on a timely basis. I was running on 5–6 hours of sleep a day but I never felt more alive.

Once the lockdowns started, I was expecting anything between three weeks to two months. It’s shocking and we’ve never done that before but I’m sure we can grind it out for a few weeks. After a few weeks, the expectation was to re-open the economy and get our lives back on track.

Fast forward a few days and we have anti-shutdown protests. I’m literally seeing people talk about 5G and saying things are a hoax. The white house is sending the most confusing messaging possible and apparently the president and democratic governors are in a public spat. My boss at work and his family get infected and he’s out for a few weeks. They test for antibodies after they recover and it comes back positive. I lose one of my jobs and a big source of income because of the forecasted economic downturns.

At this point, we’re in early May. For the last three months literally the entire news is about the virus. What the fuck am I supposed to write about? I’m not a virus expert and I’m equally as scared and confused as everyone else. Financial markets are going crazy so I decide to write about that for a little bit but let’s be honest, it gets extremely repetitive and boring once you dig into things and realize there’s always been cycles and bubbles throughout our short history but hey, views are views.

Then in June, the race wars escalate between whites and blacks in America. To be honest, as an Asian American it felt like all racial tension was directed at my group of people in the prior months because of the virus even though nobody I know who is Asian American has had it. We were both scared of the virus and worried about being racially targeted with hate crimes at the same time. I never really wanted to use writing as a platform to talk about identity and race politics but I understand and agree with why there needed to be a focus on it in this country where people are dying because of it.

Keep in mind, this is in the backdrop of everything still being closed down and a lot of people refusing to socially distance or wear a mask so the virus is still spreading and nothing is re-opening. The US now has an escalation of its first wave and traveling is non existent. Election season starts ramping up with a few months to go. Headlines are as outrageous as ever and there’s so many videos of the president and other top politicians on both the left and the right saying dumb shit. Our leaders are crazy and out of touch with reality.

Then the wildfires hit California. I close my windows for weeks and can’t get fresh air because there’s so much smoke. I wake up one morning in early September with and literally everything is orange. Do a google image search of ‘San Francisco orange sky’ if you want to know what I’m talking about.

Given the previous topics that I’ve written about and accumulated my following such as personal development, startup growth, data, etc., what am I supposed to write about now when these things don’t seem to matter anymore this year?

Finance and money is a topic that I’ve somewhat pivoted to due to my professional experience, personal interests, and relevance. It feels weird to talk about how well my portfolio is doing and how well I’m doing financially when all I see when I go outside are closed businesses and shut down storefronts. Everything I used to spend my money on like the gym, cafes, bars, and restaurants are now closed or restricted and I don’t feel safe going there so it feels like money is meaningless.

Among the things happening to everyone else, I’ve also been in a long distance relationship for the entire year and have been working hard and successfully managing it. It’s extra rough when borders are closed and it will literally be a whole year that we’ve been apart when I see my girlfriend again. To make the time pass I basically picked up a video game addiction that I’m not proud of but it makes time pass by faster and has been serving it’s job nicely as an escape from what has become my reality. I’ve also removed myself from social media which has been a game changer.

I’m really hoping that things get better soon and that the craziness dies down at the end of the year. Until then, I’m still not going to write catchy headline opinion pieces about current events.

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