The Anxious Writer

I know I’ve posted about anxiety before, but I’m an anxious person. I try hard not to be, and to fight against the overwhelming feeling of panic and worry and escalated, unlikely scenarios that build up in my mind, but sometimes I lose that fight. Even writing this right now, after months and months of not blogging and barely getting anything done on my WIP, my heart is racing and my fingers are lightly trembling over the keyboard. I won’t lie: THIS SUCKS.

This year, with all the lockdowns, personal stresses and growth and realizations, my anxiety has sky rocketed. Unfortunately, this has impacted my writing big time.

I stopped participating in #vss365 because I found myself judging every word I posted, I stopped communicating with my writer friends on Twitter, and worst of all, I lost my connection to my own book. Everytime I read through the pages I’ve written, I question my idea, my “talent”, and myself. It’s tiresome, it’s depressing and when you don’t have any support (whether it’s just a kind word of encouragement or the offer of time to write), the self criticism is overwhelming.

But this is one of those times I’m trying to push against the tide to get back on track. I remember the days that writing used to de-stress me. I used to look forward to it with a buzzing excitement and energy, even if the day had exhausted me. I felt satisfied because I’d accomplished getting one day closer to achieving my dream. These memories are motivating me right now.

Here’s how I’m trying to work through the anxiety:

  • I’ve recently rejoined #vss365, not consistently just yet, but it’s helping my creative juices get flowing once again. Every time I’m able to string together a few sentences, it builds up my confidence.
  • I’m part of a small book club. Having that target of finishing a book on time motivates me to read even if I am not having a good day. As I read and get lost in whatever book is in my hands, my anxious thoughts drop away and I relax. Plus, I’m learning and improving my own writing, so I feel better about myself.
  • I go on walks. Like, a lot. I pop in my earphones and go, rain or shine. It helps to be away from it all sometimes and just breathe.
  • Self care. I’ve learned to keep toxic people at a distance, to avoid toxic situations where I can, and not feel guilty for treating myself with a chai latte or a new pair of shoes. Don’t feel bad for putting yourself first sometimes, because if you don’t, who the hell will?
  • I remind myself that I’m trying. And that I haven’t failed unless I give up.

If anyone reading this has any tips for handling or overcoming anxiety, feel free to share in the comments. Sometimes it helps to know you’re not alone.