Anxiety Is Us: How Can Writers Deal, Part Three

It’s the last of the anxiety posts and … um… I might be feeling anxious about that.

Last Monday, I posted part one of this two-part (now three-part) post which is all because one of my writing students asked: 

“Seems like a lot of us writers struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem. All I can do, apparently, is grind out a page here and there during my more lucid moments. I don’t suppose you’ve got the magic key to overcoming emotional struggles so that the writing gets done?”

Writer who I’m not going to out here because that would be horrible

I have my own way of dealing with this, but my way? It’s not everyone’s way and it’s not that writer’s way so I looked to my Facebook friends for help. 

A lot of people were super kind and gave recommendations. I’m going to share some of more of them.


Start With A Word

What I do is I take a single word, whether it’s an emotion, a description, or anything else, just the first word that comes to mind. Then I build on it. I describe the word. Find synonyms, antonyms, I write what I think that word looks like as an image. Sometimes, I might even attempt to draw it (but I don’t draw well so I usually just laugh at myself for that one). Then I’ll write associations to that word. What does it remind me of? Who does it make me think of? When did I experience it last? 

Then, if I’m still feeling blocked or stuck after this, I’ll do it with another word. And another word. There have been days where I literally only write about words like this.

Allyna Rae Storms

Make It Work for you

I put my anxiety into my work. Writing or creating (painting or making jewelry) I use my extra emotions in my work. I write my fears into my characters, or I let it out into my art work. Some of my best pieces have been created when I have been frustrated, angry, or upset. Music also helps some times. 

Jenn Duffield

Look Beyond

It’s not about you, the writer. Look beyond yourself and just tell the story.

John Scherber

The Five Minute Rule

 I give my students and myself smaller assignments. Write for Five minutes. Revise one page. Then we celebrate these small accomplishments.

Ann Angel

Don’t Let Your Head Kick Your Ass

 I got this way a few times when I wrote the first draft of a short novel not too long ago. When the head kicked my ass a bit too much and my focus went to zero, that’s when I did an outline and wrote up a big picture idea of what would be happening next in my story. Then when I felt more focused, I was able to see the trees in the forest and was able to go back and flesh out my outline. This took all the pressure off me of having to think of the details and just have fun with the overall story ideas. I’m pretty certain that without this approach, that novel would never have gotten finished and I’d still be staring at blank pages.

Rick Hipson

Acceptance

I think acceptance helps a lot with all of this. “I’m feeling anxious today. I’m going to try to write for half an hour anyway.” “I think everything I write is crap. It probably is, but I’m going to keep working on this chapter anyway.” Half an hour here, half an hour there, they add up. I use my timer a lot. “I just have to do this for half an hour and then I can be done.” Whether it’s paying bills, sweeping floors, sorting through old clothes–that method helps me get stuff done. It’s a simple method but it does the trick.

Cathy Carr

Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis is the answer for me. Helps with the anxiety and to fall asleep at night.

Stacey O’Neale
Continue reading “Anxiety Is Us: How Can Writers Deal, Part Three”

Writers and Dealing With Anxiety Part Two

On Monday, I posted part one of this two-part post which is all because one of my writing students asked:

“Seems like a lot of us writers struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem. All I can do, apparently, is grind out a page here and there during my more lucid moments. I don’t suppose you’ve got the magic key to overcoming emotional struggles so that the writing gets done?”

Writer who I’m not going to out here because that would be horrible

I have my own way of dealing with this, but my way? It’s not everyone’s way and it’s not that writer’s way so I looked to my Facebook friends for help.

A lot of people were super kind and gave recommendations. I’m going to share some of more of them


FIND A DOG AND A TREE

Every morning, my dog Gus and I go under the tree in the front yard for about an hour. I bring a radio and a towel for Gus and a chair for me. He crunches on dog biscuits and I work on something–maybe a short story, maybe transcribing / formatting work that’s reverted to me, maybe do some edits, maybe play with some outlining or idea generation. There’s something about it–being there with him, not checking Twitter, not doing emails, in the peace of the morning that’s really helped me lately.

Holly Schindler

Go All Nike

Just sit down and begin. Sone days it works, other days, well…

Liz Jones

Switching It Up

Writing by hand in a notebook feels less “official” to me and helps me move past some of the doubt and anxiety.

Sarah Yasutake

Brain Dump with a Side of Wonderbook

I sometimes start a new document and brain dump. If it has to do with a piece I’m working on, cool, If not that’s okay!! I have the writing book Wonderbook and it some amazing images, tips, essays from writers on their speciality and genre. It really helped me with my anxiety when I was in workshop classes at UMaine because I was so vulnerable for the first time with my writing with other writers, let them know it’s okay to be anxious and scared. That’s honestly where my best stuff comes from. I just dive in what I’m feeling and go with it and see where it takes me! But HIGHLY recommend Wonderbook, I rented it for a class but ended up buying it because I use it almost every time I write!

Callaghan Carter

The Quiet Place

Just finding a quiet space without interruption is what I find I need these days. A glass of wine or a cup of herbal tea while writing helps me as well. But like you said, just sitting down and doing it is the first step. That’s the hardest part for me.

Brittani Gallegos

There! I hope these helped a bit. I have more, too, so let me know if you’d like me to post them and make a part three. But try to remember that you don’t have to be perfect and that you have as much a right to write your story, your book, your blog, as everyone else out there does.

You’ve got this.

Continue reading “Writers and Dealing With Anxiety Part Two”