It’s safe to say that the past two years have been a bit rough. Parents were given a glimpse into how much work goes into educating their children, society learned just how essential the people who stock our store shelves, drive city buses and pick up our garbage are, and we all realized that healthcare workers are superheroes in hospital scrubs.
Initially, I considered myself lucky to be a romance writer. As the rest of the world shut down, I discovered that I had been living the quarantine life for the past decade. Other than that brief tissue paper shortage and having to do all the grocery shopping for my not-quite-elderly-but-still-high-risk-category parents, everything in my life basically remained the same. I had the same short commute from my bedroom to my home office, and I was required to meet the same word count goals that I’ve been striving for since I first started writing.
But after a few months, I recognized that the pandemic and everything it brought with it was indeed taking a toll on me, specifically because I’m a romance writer. My job is to write happily-ever-afters, stories filled with love and joy and, at times, a bit of whimsy. It was impossible to feel whimsical in the year 2020. Yet, I had to, because I soon learned that as a romance writer, people were relying on me.
The first book in my Boyfriend Project series, The Boyfriend Project, was released on June 9, 2020, roughly two weeks after the world learned about George Floyd’s murder. Within the first few weeks following The Boyfriend Project’s release, I started receiving emails and DMs from readers who wanted to thank me for providing the escape they desperately needed from the world and its problems. What struck me as even more interesting was the number of people who shared that they had never read a romance novel before but had turned to the genre because they needed something light and funny. Something with whimsy.
It was an epiphany. I’ll confess that I never considered writing romance to be a super important job. Of course, I want to know that people enjoyed my stories. And, if I’m lucky, I’ll find out that my words resonated with them enough to remember how they felt while reading them for weeks after they’ve finished the book. But those messages I received in the thick of the lockdown taught me that I was not only providing a few hours of entertainment for readers, I was providing a means of self-care. The world was literally on fire in some places—hello worst California wildfire season on record—and people were in urgent need of finding a way to distract themselves, even for just an afternoon.
In these last two years, I’ve started taking self-care more seriously in my own life. It’s still a struggle, because as any self-employed person will tell you, it is difficult not to view an hour-long bubble bath, or watching a movie, or engaging in just a few minutes of breathing exercises as wasting time, especially when you’re on a deadline. But it is necessary. We are not built to constantly perform. I now recognize that I am happier, more productive, and just overall more content when I’ve taken time to decompress.
In fact, self-care has become so important to me in the last couple of years that I chose to make it one of the central themes in the final book in my Boyfriend Project series, The Hookup Plan. My main protagonist, Dr. London Kelley, thinks self-care is for people who have too much time on their hands. She has too many obligations and far too many ambitions to waste a second on long walks in nature, or meditation, or any of those other forms of self-care. But London’s body soon forces her to take better care of herself.
It is a lesson we all should take to heart. I challenge you to take an afternoon this month to do something solely for yourself. Go to a museum, start an herb garden, watch the sunset and then stare at the stars. Or, read a book, preferably a fun romance like The Hookup Plan.
Find your copy of The Hookup Plan from your favorite retailer.
Want more from Farrah? Check out the exclusive interview we also did, here!
Want more romance reads? Get the best love and romance novel recommendations, handpicked by our experienced editor, straight to your inbox each week. Sign up for little infinite’s Romance Newsletter, here.