Looking Back On 2020.

January 31, 2021

Who would’ve thought in the beginning of January 2020 we would go through everything we went through the entire year? Were you ready for something like this? Can anyone claim that they were mentally ready for something like this? Don’t know about you, but I, for sure, wasn’t. It’s safe to say that we’ve all been struggling with life for quite some time now. A new year has always felt like new beginnings to me, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment. I’m still hopeful though. It’s better, sure, it’s better–and hopefully we’ll only see more positivity from this point on. But it doesn’t really feel like the struggle is quite over yet. There are still so many unknowns. And you know what I hate the most? Yeah, the unknown. It scares me more than anything to be honest.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I went through heartache, loss, panic, shock, despair, loneliness and many other not so nice things during this last year. Which affected everything in my life; not just my writing. Not that I’m trying to give you excuses, but I live alone–just me and Mitra and I don’t have the best family dynamics. So this pandemic was not easy on me as I barely saw any familiar faces for months. I didn’t hug anyone for a year. ? Just saying that out loud sounds so insane to me. A little personal too. BUT, all of that said, I’m somewhat healthy. I’m thankful for that more than anything since we all know I haven’t had the best luck when it comes to health stuff in the last few years. I did have close friends get the virus, but they were lucky enough to recover while some family friends I knew didn’t make it. It makes you look at everything from a different perspective, doesn’t it?

I always try to live life to the fullest, but I’m also very guilty of pushing my life back. We have time, right? We’ll get to it later. If I could go back I’d do so many things differently. If nothing else I’d try to act more brave just to make sure I didn’t let things slip past my fingers. But, we can’t take time back. One of the biggest things this pandemic has thought me is if you want to change something, anything (about yourself or something completely different) you have to do something about it today. Not tomorrow, not the next Monday. Today. And it has to be you.

To be fair, the lockdowns, and the quarantines that we went through wasn’t what affected me the most. I’m a homebody anyway. I love staying in and working and writing and watching movies and spending time with Mitra (my dog for those who don’t know her), but what I realized about myself this year is that I don’t like to be boxed in. It’s not so fun when it isn’t my choice to stay inside. Still it didn’t affect me as much as it affected my close friends or family who are mostly social butterflies. If I managed to forget about the pandemic for a few hours in the day, I was okay. It’s not exactly living, I know, but at least I wasn’t panicking.

And another thing I already knew, but realized even more: there is a difference in being alone and lonely. I love being alone. To be able to write I need to be alone. I can’t hang out with friends everyday or go out everyday. But being lonely? That’s a completely different thing.

One thing I did do this year that I’m really proud of myself is that I moved. I moved from the apartment I’ve lived basically all my life. 7 to 34. That sounds insane to me. I’ve lived with my family (dad, brother) till I was 20, then it was just me. It was high time. Because I wanted to move countries, I wanted to save money and stay in the same place until it was time to move. But with the pandemic happening and me not publishing anything new I knew I had to push back the moving countries thing again. Then Mitra got sick (if you’re following me on instagram you must’ve seen it), it was pretty serious and I just didn’t want her to spend her last months or years or days in an apartment so I moved. Just like that. In the middle of a pandemic. When it comes to others I’m always ready to move the world, unfortunately I never do that when it comes to myself. Another thing that needs to be changed. This is turning into quite a journal entry isn’t it? ? If you’ve made it here, thank you for sticking with me–we all know I like longer words.

So when all of this was going on, was I extremely productive like some others? Nope. Unfortunately I couldn’t say so. I don’t know what happened, but I just couldn’t focus. Heck, on some days I couldn’t even focus on a good book and forget about what was happening in the world or in my own home just for a little while. My brain was just too full and too hectic to manage even that. So I couldn’t write.

You have no idea how much it hurts to even say that out loud, because I love writing. It gives me so much pleasure to sit down and tap on my keyboard, sip on my coffee and spend time with my characters. Just the action makes me happy to no end. But I can’t write if I’m not somewhat happy. I have enough problems as it is, but add a pandemic to that equation and I was basically useless. And with all that, I was also filled with guilt of not writing, which also cripples you. It’s a vicious cycle. And the more I didn’t write, the more harder it was (is) to get back to it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the story I’m working on–that wasn’t the problem at all, but I just couldn’t focus long enough to keep writing everyday. No matter how happy I knew it would make me.

It wasn’t just the pandemic though, the entire world was and is spiraling down and I think I was in shock for the most part of the year. It’s really hard not to lose faith in humanity with everything that’s been happening in the world. I’m in awe of the authors who kept publishing and writing and working non-stop despite everything going on. I don’t think I was strong enough to do that. But I feel like I’m getting back to that mindset. I’m thirty thousand words into my manuscript and that makes me happy. It’s still basically the beginning of the story considering how long my books are, but it’s more than what I had last year. And that’s something in my eyes.

The fear of being forgotten is another thing that keeps me away from writing, as stupid as that sounds, but even if it means I need to start from the very bottom it’s still worth it because I missed it so much. Publishing and having you read my words and send me lovely messages that makes me beyond happy…

You have no idea how much of an impact you make in my life.

I’m hoping everything will get better for everyone in the near future and we’ll hopefully have time to tend to our wounds and create a better life for ourselves and those around us.

I’m sending so much love to you all and hopefully you’ll start to get more updates on Charlie, Love and Clichés from me. I can’t wait for you to dive in to their story. It’s going to be amazing, I promise.

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  1. Jess said:

    I always love reading your words. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your honesty. Keep pushing forward!

    1. Ella Maise Post author said:

      Thank you so much ?

  2. Audrey Landes said:

    I just read this and I can totally identify with your feelings. I too am basically a homebody. HOWEVER even I began to feel stir crazy. For a year now I have walked my dog at least twice a day around the block, grocery shopped at 6:30 AM every 10 to 14 days. And I hit Costco about once every 2 months. That is it!! Christmas had my husband (who is 80) and I standing on our front porch while we tried to shout to our grandsons who stood about 15 feet away by their car. They had driven 200 miles for that 40 minute shouting match, but at least we got to see them. I am so looking forward to your new book, whenever that comes about. Stay safe and hoping happy thoughts come your way this year.

    1. Ella Maise Post author said:

      Exactly! In most situations like routine. But this kind of routine where even a grocery store stop is almost scheduled is testing me really. Our reality sucks right now, but the thing that gets to me the most is sometimes all of a sudden I realize that I’m getting used to this new normal, and I think that scares me a little too.
      I hope you’ll give my new book a chance. I know you said you’re looking forward to it, but I still hope you’ll enjoy it. <3

  3. Penjani said:

    Don’t worry you definitely have not been forgotten! Take each day as it comes and keep celebrating the wins (big and small). You’ve got this!

    1. Ella Maise Post author said:

      Thank you so much for saying that! I do try to do that. Celebrating wins. Small or insignificant.

  4. Robin Shawn said:

    I love your writing and I know I and countless others will still be here when you are ready. I appreciate you sharing how you are doing so eloquently. You vocalized a lot of what I haven’t been able to put into words.

    1. Ella Maise Post author said:

      That means a lot Robin. Thank you so much.And I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in how I’m feeling at the moment. Hope you’re staying safe and taking care of yourself. <3

  5. Jamie B. said:

    I can’t tell you how much joy your books bring me. I’m a doctor and this pandemic has been one of the most difficult and heartbreaking things I’ve gone through and things still aren’t perfect. I’ve reread Marriage for One about 5 times in the past year because it brings me a sense of comfort and happiness. This goes for all your books but that one specifically. Just remember you have fans who love your work and can’t wait for what you put out next!

    1. Ella Maise Post author said:

      Jamie… Your comment has made my not just week but month. You’re amazing. And the fact that one of my books brought you comfort during such a terrible time (I’m certain even worse for you) means literally the world to me. Thank you so much for letting me know because it’s this kinda thing that makes me think maybe I’m not worse. Thank you so much for reading my book. Thank you so much for your lovely words.

  6. Anita munoz said:

    I am new to your books but I have got the book “MARRAIGE FOR ONE” and it is awesome I am not quite done with it yet but I like to read at a slower pace to really get into my books. I love reading and I really love this book I know I will be a fan of future books thank you. Prayers to you and Mitra and to better days a head .

    1. Ella Maise Post author said:

      Thank you so much Anita! This is such a sweet message. I’m just like you sometimes I like to savor my books so I can spend more time with the characters I’m falling in love with. I’m so glad you’re enjoying Jack and Rose’s story. I hope you’ll love my other books just as much ❤️

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