Anxiety and Writing: How to Function and Write

Confession time: I made this site months ago and I never posted, because why? Anxiety. Fear. That’s why.

I don’t have all the answers, and I wish I did, but I am going to share a few suggestions I have for writers who have anxiety.

Anxiety.

It sucks.

Let’s just leave it at that.

For myself, I discovered I have a lot of anxiety and fear, especially when it comes to writing. I’m a perfectionist, and I think it stems from that. What if I’m not good enough? What if my writing is never good enough? It is why it took me so long to write this blog and, hell, I’m even terrified now as I write this post. What if I start my blog and it isn’t good enough either?

Anxiety and fear are really crippling.

But here I am.

I am swallowing these fears and going head first into this blog I have wanted to start. I will power through until I hit the “publish” button because I think this topic is important, and I think it doesn’t get covered as much as it should.

Somehow I wasted years just avoiding writing, and yet it is what I want to for a living. And, yes, I mean years. Years, months, days: all of it I have wasted. Technically, I am avoiding it now by writing a blog post, but let’s avoid the technicalities, shall we?

So what have I done to get back on the horse? I have found many methods that have worked for me, and they may or may not work for you, but it’s better than some of the advice out there, like just write (write? write how if I’m scared of writing?).

These methods are not perfect. I wish they are, but I still fight my fear. But I have found once I start one of these methods, I just can’t stop writing. And that’s a good thing right?

So here are five ways I fight my fear of writing:

  1.  Nanowrimo and CampNano

If you write novels or have wanted to write a novel, I am sure you have heard of at least one of these. If you haven’t, let me explain: Nanowrimo is an event where you try to write a novel in 30 days. The novel is 50,000 words long, and the event takes place in November. CampNano takes place in April and then again in July. It is similar to Nanowrimo, but it is open-ended. You choose the number of words, minutes, pages, etc you want to work on, and, like camp, can be sorted into cabins to work alongside other campers. It is going on right now, actually, and it’s never too late to join if you want to join! Go ahead and join here if you are interested!

So how does this help? One reason may be that it gives you a definite deadline and, for me, if I make it, sometimes I can wiggle my way through it and give myself a couple more days, but for Nanowrimo and CampNano, I feel like I have to finish it in the set time. It also builds a good habit of writing every single day, as well as a lot of words every single day.

If you also follow them on Twitter, they provide some advice and, hey, you can even ask your own questions and get your own advice. It is something to consider.

Both of these events especially help if you pair it with:

17011474992_358efc7e61_z-640x400

How this represents it, I don’t know, but it’s a good picture?

2. Word Crawls

I have just discovered these little wonders and, oh my gosh, I am so thankful I did!!! You can find the full post here, but let me explain them a little bit: It’s like a word adventure. You start your journey, and you have to write so many words to progress in the little story. Some of these include word wars (which are incredibly lonely if you do yourself), writing words in time limits, and even rolling dice to see how much you have to write. This is also where the dreaded Fifty-Headed Hydra (500 words in 5 minutes) comes into play. I call it “dreaded” because I cannot complete that challenge for the life of me. Seriously, I don’t know how fast people type to complete this thing!

So far, I have done the Pokemon one and the Undertale one, and I highly recommend both. There are so many options, and I would love to do them all. Heck, I may make my own eventually.

To me, it adds a little more fun than just “writing.” It helps you mix it up and helps you feel more accomplished as you complete one challenge after another.

typing

3. When all else fails, write as fast as you can!

Was that word spelled right? I don’t know, and who cares, let’s keep going! That is mindset you need to develop to write fast. Throw that inner critic away: this is the first draft after all. No one is going to see it (unless you decide to share it) so who cares in the end? Some words in better than no words.

I like to use the stream-of-conscious style writing: write everything that comes to mind, unrelated or not. Is that too much backstory? I don’t really know, but I will decide later. Would he really say that? No, probably not, but it gave me some good insight into his character for now.

The inner editor is the worst, and you know what? Sometimes we are better off with him/her.

word-wars-src-skinsbang-vent-lj

4. Word Wars and Word Sprints

I can never find anyone to sprint with, so this doesn’t really apply for me, but I know it does help some people, so I am including it. Follow here on Twitter during Nanowriomo or CampNano, and they always have some sprints going. I could take part in them, but I never really feel like it, honestly.

I would love to have a sprint/war buddy, so if anyone wants to be mine, please let me know >.<

Walk-away

5. Stop pressuring yourself and take a break

What inspires you to write? Maybe you should do a little of that and then come back to write later. Breaks are proven to help. Let your mind and fingers breathe for a little bit. Get some fresh air, take the dog for a walk, do some yoga. Anything and everything.

One time in a writing class, the teacher had us disconnect from the Internet for an entire day. It was so hard, and, honestly, I was a little bored. I was supposed to be focusing on my writing, but my mind would wander. So maybe not for the entire day, but it can help to just take a break from life once in awhile.

Have some “me time.” It will make you feel good and can only affect your writing in a positive way.

I hope some of these methods might work for you, because they have worked for me.

Do you have anything else you do that I did not include? Write it down in the comments below and share with us!

Happy writing to you all, and remember to reap those words!

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