Thursday, August 13, 2020

Author's Friday | THE KINDNESS OF ROMANCE by Ana Tejano

 has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She used to be a blogger and contributor to several publications using her other name that is not a secret identity. When she’s not writing, she works as a communications manager and a leader in CFC Singles for Christ. She lives in Metro Manila with several dogs and cats, loves anything with peanut butter, and is always trying to catch up on sleep. Connect with her at

Mid-March, our executives announced that we could start working from home, one of the things I thought to myself in an attempt to comfort my extrovert self was: “At least I’m going to have time to write again.” Working from home meant my commute time is nonexistent, and I wouldn’t be wandering around the mall aimlessly waiting for a Grab ride, so that’s about 2-3 hours back to my day. Yes, I can write again, I can finally finish revising my book.

Fast forward five months later, I’m still here, with the book’s Act 3 an absolute mess, plus a short story due two years ago in progress (and being rewritten for the umpteenth time). I have ideas and ideas hitting me everywhere going into my idea dump files, and lots of discussions with people about these things, but actual writing and editing happening? Nope.

It isn’t for the lack of trying, really. I have finished a lot of things. There is that script for #romanceclass’s Hello, Ever After web series for one. My day job involves writing and I manage to churn out articles and write-ups for work and I can summon words when needed. But for myself—for “fun work” as we often call it—I come up dry. (Or sometimes, I come up with something and then hate it the next day. Ah, well.)

This is why I hesitate to participate in a lot of things since late last year to this year as an “author” because I hardly feel like one sometimes. I didn’t want to call it writer’s block because I didn’t believe in that—besides, I was writing anyway, and our corporate website has that. Maybe it’s just an off day, but writer’s block? No way. Maybe I just need to find inspiration. Take a break. Read something. Watch something cute and then go back to work. I need to try harder because look, everyone else has the same chances, I have so much time on my hands right now, and so what right do I have to slack off?

But a thing I learned about the romance genre is that it is very kind. Not in the sense that it excuses and condones questionable behavior, but it is kind in a way that there is compassion between the pages of the book. See, the romance genre is about love but not just about the love of the two main characters. I mean sure, that is the end game of it all (must have happily-ever-afters/happy-for-now or it’s not romance, ok), but often romance is also about the people that surround these leads, the ones who root for them and call them out, the ones who push them to make the right choices, to choose love. There is a certain kindness in romance books that gives its characters room to grow, make mistakes, learn more about themselves, and breathe. Sure, these characters are put to a wringer before they get to the end, and sometimes bad people are going against them, but when their love ultimately prevails, it becomes a reminder to extend the same kindness that they had received and given to ourselves, too.

In a lot of ways, this is what my current work-in-progress is all about: Meah, who’s kind to everyone else but not very kind to herself, and Joseph, who wants to be a better version of himself, forgetting sometimes that he is also human and is allowed to still make mistakes. And if I could teach these two characters (my most stubborn kids, as I call them) how to be kind to themselves, then I could—should—do the same for myself. These “unprecedented times” are hard, and some days, we can only muster enough energy to go online and do the actual day job, then go offline later and do things that are not writing. And this is okay. Sure, I need to recognize when I am just really slacking off and/or making excuses, but for those other times when words are difficult and everything is just driving me into despair, then maybe it’s okay to not do for now and just be.

They say good things take time, so who knows? Maybe one day, we’ll all wake up and the pandemic is over, and one day, you’ll wake up and see me shouting joyfully that the book is out. Whenever that is, I hope that when we all get there, it’s because we have all chosen to extend kindness to others, and most importantly, to ourselves.

*Ana’s latest book, You Could Be the One, a collection of three friends-to-lovers short stories are available in ebook and print format worldwide at For her other books, visit


*August Romance


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