CORONA – and how writing helped me escape the panic

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Everybody’s talking about the pandemic, but I want to talk to you about it in a whole different way.

Hi, I’m Diana, and this is Story Artist.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, my whole insides exploded with emotions that were changing hourly. I was anxious. I was furious. I was excited. I was positive. I was sad and crying. And all of these emotions, they sent me into an emotional roller coaster. I was kind of addicted to the news, not knowing what to do and how to proceed.

It hit me when I sat down to write my next novel, stared at the blank screen, and was unable to write. These emotions have driven me to writer’s block. If you’re a creative or a writer or whatever you’re trying to accomplish, I feel like, in this time, it’s more important than ever to create, but it’s harder than ever because all of these emotions, all of these thoughts and anxieties, are paralyzing us.

That’s what I realized: I was paralyzed by this whole pandemic. And I decided that I don’t want to continue this way. I started to intentionally implement three steps in order to become creative again, in order to become a writer again.

Despite the fact that my surroundings were different, I wanted to create and I wanted to continue writing. And I hope this will be helpful for you because actually what writing did for me in this period of time – it helped me deal with the fear. It helped me deal with anxiety and it helped me gain a positive mindset back and get my life under control again.

First off, I built a cocoon around myself.

Many people might think it’s naive. Many people might think that it’s even arrogant. But I don’t care. Because I was addicted to the news. I consumed everything. I read newspapers, articles online. I watched the news hourly because I wanted to know: what’s the current development in this crisis?

But all it did to me is make me miserable. It made me anxious. And I normally don’t watch the news as often because I feel like the news is always there making us depressive and they’re making us anxious. It’s important to stay informed. But I think it’s important to stay informed on your own terms.

And I felt like the news was just taking over my life and I didn’t want that anymore. I stopped consuming the news. It was hard. It was tough because you’re kind of addicted and you want to know: what’s going to happen?

You need to stop watching the news.

And I also stopped talking to people that were panicky. People who were miserable all the time because I felt like their outlook on this whole thing just infected me. I only go grocery shopping as often as needed. I try to get out into the grocery stores less because of the people there.

The way they’re acting is really disappointing. The anxiety in their eyes, the panic, the way it manifests because they’re starting to become aggressive and all of this stuff is just pulling me down. I decided I don’t go grocery shopping unless it’s really necessary. And I really cocooned myself and I only consume the information that I think gets me further because there is nothing I can do about this news. It only makes me anxious, but it doesn’t help me to get on with life and to make any progress at all. I read The Good News Network. It’s amazing. It’s still informative, but it gives you the good news, not the crushing ones.

I talk to people that are positive about it. I listen to podcasts from empowered creatives and I only consume the stuff that I think is helpful for me to make progress. Everything else I block out. And this one step really helped me a lot to get away from this whole Corona panic madness.

Number two, I channel my emotions and experiences into writing ideas.

This is really been a breakthrough for me because I took all of these emotions, all of these experiences that bother me, and wrote it down.

I have a swipe file for ideas for the next novel, short stories aso., and I just started filling the swipe file with emotions, with experiences, with short scenes and dialogues that I have experienced.

This really helped me. Having all of these emotions inside of you, not getting them out destroys you from the inside. It eats you like acid. Getting them out is not helpful either because you poison the other people around you. If you talk to people about the negative emotions, you feel the disappointment you have, the anger you have.

What I do instead – I write it down. And I try to transform it into writing ideas. It’s really easy for me because I’m a dystopian writer. It’s like a dystopian candy store for me because I can pick from the experiences that I have right now.

Whatever you’re feeling, write it down. Free write in the morning for half an hour, just sit down, write down all of the emotions. It’s not in vain because you can use them for ideas and it also helps you get out all the negativity and the anxiety and channel it into something useful.

While you write, it helps you come up with a positive side and a solution.

And number three, I continue to serve.

I continue to write books. I continue to write more books. I produce more content, videos, helpful stuff, freebies.

I continue to serve my readers. I continue to serve my customers in a more efficient way. I try to build them up instead of pulling them down in this difficult time. And I think it’s so important that we continue to serve because by serving, we actually feel more connected in this pandemic.

Because I feel like in this day of age, people get separated. I don’t know how it’s in your country, but in Germany, you have to keep like at least 1,5-2 meters distance from each other, if you’re in the supermarket or any public space. People stopped smiling at you. Either with masks or without, they look at you with fear and anxiety. It’s so rare that people smile at you. It really hits me hard and it feels really depressing. I feel like we’re moving apart from each other as a community, as a society.

I want to stay connected to people and I want to continue to serve. And I don’t want to contribute to the panic. I want to build hope. More than ever, we see how stories build our society, how the stories media tells us shape the people around us in an instant. It happened in one or two weeks and people just shifted completely.

Many shifted their mindsets and their behavior because of a story they were told. And I’m not saying that the media is lying. But there are different ways you can frame a story. You can tell a story in a hopeful way, you can tell a story in a dooming way. That’s why I’m saying, subscribe to the good news network because it’s telling true stories as well, but it’s telling them from a completely different angle.

Especially in this day of age, we need more storytellers that tell helpful stories, that tell stories that build people up, that bring people together. We see how important stories are and how important ideas are and that they need to be spread.

And as digital entrepreneurs and authors and storytellers, it’s such a privilege to have at least some sphere of influence and try to push against this negativity in the media and tell another story and a more hopeful story. I just want to challenge you to tell more stories that are hopeful in this time, to tell more stories that serve other people and build them up rather than pull them down.

We see how important it is to be a digital entrepreneur, an author because we still have control over our businesses. We still can work, we still can produce, and we can sell, and we can influence people in many ways that others can’t because they lost their jobs.

Many will be thinking about moving their businesses and their lives online right now. Serve online, tell good stories, and try to serve in your local community as well. So what I’m trying to do is to help the people around me.

I’m trying to be joyful and friendly, even if I’m in the supermarket and someone yells at me and tells me to stay away. I’m just trying to be positive and joyful and spread hope and spread goodness rather than panic. And I think it’s important that we do that as well in our personal lives and our online lives in.

We’re all telling stories. Even if you’re not an author, you’re telling a story in what you’re posting on YouTube, on Instagram, on Twitter. Let’s tell good stories. Let’s tell stories that give people hope and build them up and bring them together.

Learn to tell good stories as well because storytelling is a craft that can be mastered and used to build our society up.

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay creative in this special time.

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