• Daniela Sylmae

Writer's Journey | Chapter 3: When The COVID-19 Pandemic Hit...

My mind adapted, flourished, waned... and it eventually became silent.

When the pandemic first hit, I did the very best I could to keep to my normal routine.

Sure, I worked from home, stayed in my PJs, ordered take-out every other day, and washed my hands constantly even though I never left the house, but besides that, I kept my writing routine.

With some extra time and a cozier lifestyle, I couldn't stop writing. I daydreamed about my stories, and I wrote every single day, constantly thinking of the day my collection of short stories is published.

I didn't lose motivation when it came to my creative writing. In a strange way, I think I gained some...

Until life's challenges began to overstay their welcome and invite guests to whom I never offered my home.

It hurts to see such devasting news every day, but the world is so big and I am merely star dust. I help as best I can through education and donations, but I can always change the channel or radio station.

You cannot turn off the ongoing events of your own personal life, no matter how painful or stressful or terrifying they are.

As soon as the personal challenges piled on, that is when I lost my creative energy.

I had no desire to write, to go on social media, to read a book, to do yoga...

To daydream...

My mind went silent. I could no longer see the green rolling hills of the eastern kingdom of my D&D campaign. I could no longer imagine the cover of my upcoming book. I could no longer remember the layout of Tankards & Tales, the inn and tavern of The Sage.

Without my daydreams, I cannot write. I see the stories I write behind my eyelids, and without that, I cannot find the words.

My writer's block lasted for about five months, and for most of it, I felt guilty.

Writers are the absolute worst to themselves. If we're not writing, we are so quick to strip ourselves of our title. How silly, really, when half of the writing process is staring into space and thinking about what it is you're going to write.

Overtime, I learned I could not daydream, because I required personal attention from myself. I couldn't escape the inevitable.

Challenges bring on a state of change that cannot be ignored. The lands of my imagination had to wait.

I spent much of my time reflecting about myself and my life, and I learned quite a bit. With that, I've been able to shift my perspective on several different aspects of my life. This kind of change requires time. I needed to settle in this new mindset I was attempting to take on.

All the while, I made sure I lived my life to solidify this mindset with new encounters.

I connected with my friends. I strolled through parks and hiked up mountains. I biked around my town. I hosted a short virtual D&D campaign. I went camping for the first time.

It all enforced my new mindset which can be put in two short sentences:

Do your best. Do what you can with what you have and know that that's enough.

If this isn't proof enough, I'm writing again, and it feels wonderful. Some days are tougher than others to get the words written, but my mind is buzzing again with story ideas and concepts. I absolutely love it.

I'm still working on my collection of short stories. I have two stories left that I need to finish drafting. Then, it's on to the editing stage. I'm dreading it, but I can't wait to see how much better my stories will be once I'm on the other side.

I've got a few episodes lined up for my podcast. I'm thrilled to bring stories back to your ears starting October 7 when I'll be going back to my monthly schedule.

I also have a few new ideas for content. I'd love to host a few writing sprint sessions on my Facebook page or maybe give Instagram story updates about my writing projects. I'm also hoping to maybe write up a D&D one-shot adventure for beginner DMs and players. I don't know! We'll see what actually happens.

For now, I'm happy to be back to a place where I'm a writer who is actually writing and who is sharing her journey with all of you.