Writing anxiety: ways to deal with it

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about dealing with writing anxiety….

I’ve worked with many writers struggling with writing anxiety. The majority of them express feelings of huge relief when I let them know my strategy is to have them write for only a SMALL amount of time (somewhere between one and five minutes) every day, and gradually work up from there.

And if that trick doesn’t work for them, I usually suggest looking into some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy strategies presented in the book Mind Over Mood.

But I was intrigued to read a recent post on the Write Practice website, exploring four key problems that sci/fi writer J. D. Edwin identifies as the source of writing anxiety. They are:

  1. The story is too long
  2. The story structure is too hard to manage
  3. You’ve left your story alone for too long
  4. You think you’re not a good writer

Her suggestions for beating writing anxiety include: starting small, writing faster, practicing more and ignoring doubt.

And here are her concluding — and inspiring — words: “Sometimes writing anxiety sneaks up on writers by labeling itself as writer’s block. This is an issue because it disguises itself as something we think is out of our control….Remember, you can spend years mulling over the first draft of your book, but every moment you suspend on trying to make it perfect, you prevent yourself from delivering a finished manuscript that readers can review and critique. And without a first draft, there will be no second. There also won’t be a second or third or forty-fifth book.

“Do yourself a favor and embrace the problems causing your writing anxiety so you can consciously practice ways to overcome it.”

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