Coping With Fear and Anxiety in Writing

You’re at your favorite writing spot and equipped with every notebook, pen, and pencil that you desire. Everything is set up just right and even your plan for your writing is ready to pour out of you. But you listen to the clock and you check your phone and you grab a cup of water and for some reason you just really have to clean. For some reason you are anxious and afraid of writing and the only way to avoid it is by distraction. Being afraid of writing is natural. It is hard work and demanding. It is equally important to know that you are not alone in your fear and there are ways to cope with these feelings.

Understand Your Fear

In this situation you are frantic; running from errand to errand or simply distracted in your own idleness but either way you face it, it is vital you become introspective. You have to seek to understand why you’re anxious and scarred. Some may be concerned with that level of introspection, but it is only in confronting the fear and seeking to understand it that you’ll become able to move on from it.

Understanding your fear is as simple as recognizing the fact you don’t want to mess up. It is also realizing all you’ve done to elevate your work in progress that now it looks like an achievable construct. Whatever the issue is, it is largely self-made, but it doesn’t make it any less scary. In realization there is only more doubts.

Make Peace

Fear and anxiety are natural process that are tying to stop you from doing something different, that’s all. Nothing more and nothing less (unless we’re talking about major anxiety problems but that’s a different story). You’re afraid, make peace with that but know that it doesn’t control you. You are beyond any one of your emotions and fear/anxiety are just single emotions. They cannot imprison you. Find peace in that realization.

Go For It

It will still suck at first. Writing will feel like a chore for the first bit, like some great laborious task that someone else wished upon you. As you are plowing through these feelings remember that you want this. You want to write because you relish in telling stories. Little bits of effort will topple into one another creating a larger and larger impact on your work. Stick through it and your work will thank you.

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10 thoughts on “Coping With Fear and Anxiety in Writing

  1. My fear isn’t the writing. It’s what’s to come beyond. It’s when my writing is to be scrutinised and judged by others. When I’m writing it and even after its written, I can protect its integrity by choosing whether others see it or not. Nobody will feel a greater affection nor be as protective towards that manuscript as I will so it’s safe with me. Out there, it’s no longer safe. It’s a sheep among wolves. I think pressing the “publish” button here on WordPress or emailing your manuscript to publishers are the things worthy of fear. The writing itself is the easy part for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, I can publish here on WordPress, but actually sending my writing to others to judge? Nope, I find that so difficult. The fear builds the closer the deadline looms, but also the guilt for not doing what I said I’d do! At some point the guilt looms over the fear, and I press send. Unfortunately, though, I know I’m sending work that will be rejected because the fear prevented me from doing my best.

      Argh, the cycle continues. I hope with each send, the fear shrinks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have to take the positive view that each rejection is a lesson to be learned rather than an indication you should give up. I know my manuscript will get rejected as it’s too long for a newbie author. Way too long! There’s nothing I can do about that as reducing it to a length they’re looking for will damage the story massively. So I’ll have to go down the route of persistence and keep sending in submissions until somebody decides it’s worth taking a chance on. In the meantime, I want to get it as close to perfect as I can while I still have the power to do so. The prospect of sending it off and it getting rejected or maybe receiving harsh criticism is scary, but we writers simply need to steel ourselves against it. It’s either that or we never get published.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Depends on the genre, it may not be too long 🙂 Believe me, I know exactly how I would encourage myself if I were someone else. Unfortunately, the fear freezes my blood. The urge to go to the bathroom amplifies. It gets to the point where I don’t know which end to face the bowl! That fear, is hard to rationalize and persuade to be reasonable and logical.

          I keep plodding along, and pressing send with my eyes closed. Once, I’ve done that, I actually don’t mind. It’s like exams at school, I forget what I wrote, even that I did an exam. I really think it comes down to the practice of sending, like driving a car, after a few months you stop worrying about all the little details.

          Good luck with your novel!

          Liked by 2 people

        • I really can empathise. I’ve been in so many situations in my life where I’ve ended up chickening out through fear. Passing up on a great opportunity because I’m scared I’ll get knocked back. Just typing it there like that it sounds so stupid, but when you’re in it you find ways of rationalising the fear. You find ways of rationalising not doing what you set out to do and convince yourself that doing it is the irrational act. Confidence really is either your best friend or worst enemy. I haven’t submitted anything before so I’ve got all of this to come. I can’t wait :-/
          Thank you. I hope the dream comes true. I’ve definitely put my hardest work into it.

          Liked by 2 people

        • You flatter me 🙂 I gave your blog a brief glance yesterday. Definitely going to set some time aside in due course to give it a more thorough inspection. It looks interesting to say the least.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. If I’m feeling anxious about writing it’s usually a sign that something isn’t right. Perhaps I need to rethink how the plot is flowing, or something in the scene I’m trying to write doesn’t fit. Once I’ve ironed out any issues like that I find it disappears and I feel confident again. At least until it’s time to let someone else read my work, as Paul says.

    Like

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