Are you riven with writing anxiety?

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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 newspaper article about writing anxiety…

If you ever feel anxiety about your writing or even the hint of a suspicion that you might not be up to the job, read this column by Russell Smith (pictured above.) Headlined, “Forging the bond between creativity and anxiety,” and published in the Nov. 9/16 Globe and Mail newspaper, the article shows the inexorable link between writing and fretting.

The genesis of the story was simple. Smith — a novelist, short story writer and newspaper columnist — had written a Facebook post about his writing anxiety. To his own astonishment, he immediately received a boatload of advice from other famous Canadian writers. Here’s how Smith describes it:

The life described by my correspondents was one riven by fever and fret, a life of staving off panic and the harsh voices in one’s head. Don’t believe the videos: The most famous writers in the country can’t get over their divorces and take a lot of pills.

Smith’s conclusion, which focused on something I experience myself — insomnia — was interesting. The other writers suggested he not fight it but, instead, use it. Get up to write, they suggested.

Not infrequently, I do this myself. I’m sometimes at my desk by 5 am, writing and I’m frequently astonished by what I’m capable of producing at that ungodly hour of the morning….

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