I’d been meaning to write about writing during the pandemic since April. Every week, it was scribbled at the bottom of my to-do list. Below re-writing the uni course I was teaching to run online and sneaking in a few Cosmic Kids Yoga sessions on Youtube to keep up with my spaghetti-limbed toddler who I withdrew from childcare early.

Like most people, I’ve lost some work because of Covid but I’ve been pretty lucky. My partner is employed full time, we can pay our mortgage, we’re doing better than just treading water. Even with the stress of caring for a three-year-old full time while braving the new world of online teaching (Zoom? Microsoft Teams? Discord? How many communication platforms do I need to learn?), I had enough time each day to reflect, to force a little bit of creativity.

I learned there were two types of writers during isolation. Those who saw the train racing towards them and froze on the tracks. They do not lack time, there’s something else going on — existential angst, fear, ennui tied to the horrors of pandemic. Then there were the writers who got bowled over by the train because they were too tired to move between all the childrearing and/or working. For the first couple of months, I was the roadkill on the tracks. There was no time to lament my lack of writing output. I read somewhere that artists have a creative well that needed replenishing, a hidden basin to tap during hard times. Mine was bone dry.

My most creative endeavors involved fixing up my kid’s craft projects after he went to bed. (He’s on the verge of figuring it out. I see him staring at his artwork in the mornings, his narrow eyes crusted with suspicion as he contemplates the chiaroscuro on his Octonauts painting.)

Also, check out this sweet elephant he I made out of a milk bottle.

Things went downhill in May after I bought a glue gun. I made marble runs, a parliament of owls out of toilet paper rolls and nesting boxes for the extended owl family. At my lowest point, I wrote a business plan to start an online mummy crafting business.

As the restrictions eased, I fought my way out of the crafters’ corner, cleaned out my studio and slowly started writing again. It’s been a hard slog to say the least. Last week, I found out my manuscript The Apprentice Guide to Fairyside has been shortlisted for the CYA Writing Competition.


I’m not holding my breath for a win but I’m learning to embrace the good things that are happening for me, no matter how slow or far-between they seem.

This week, my good friends Andi Spark and her partner Paul Cleveland presented me with this beautiful map of Fairyside. Andi designed the illustration and Paul etched the design onto scratchboard. For now, I’ll share it on this blog but I hope that one day, it’ll be part of the published book.

Hope everyone is in a good place in these strange covid times. Share your secret crafting projects with me! You know you want to.

Fairyside Map by Andi Spark and Paul Cleveland