How to Handle Writing Anxiety - Uncharted

How to Handle Writing Anxiety

By Emelie Mano

We’ve all been there.

In fact, many writers have been there daily. Many of us are familiar with different forms of anxiety, but writing anxiety can open a whole new can of worms.

Writing anxiety can be caused by a multitude of common and valid fears. Some of your thoughts may consist of the fear of being criticized, the overwhelming feeling of wanting a perfect first draft, not knowing where to begin your story, or even feeling alone in your writing journey.

Let’s go over some helpful strategies to help you sit back, relax, and take on your next writing project with confidence.

1. Prepare for your project.

Start with an idea.

Write down notes, quotes, or ideas that inspire you to write your story. The more you’re prepared for your story, the easier it will be to write it. Plan out a designated writing area, how many days you plan to write and for how long, and have your story outline, characters, and ideas on hand.

When you’re mid-sentence and forget a specific background detail of a character, this will come in handy.

2. Get Support.

A lot of your writing anxiety may originate in feeling alone on your journey.

It’s a huge project to work on by yourself, and thinking everything rests on your shoulders can turn quickly into intrusive and negative thoughts that might make you hesitate to start.

Become a part of a writing community online, or reach out to any of your friends and family. Even if they aren’t writers themselves, they can be a constant source of support and encouragement. They might even be able to hold you accountable to your writing deadlines!

3. Execute your plan.

Feeling all over the place with your story and how you want to execute it can cause you unnecessary grief and anxiety when it comes to actually writing.

Sit back, take a deep breath, and remember that you’ve already made a great outline of ideas to work with.

If you’re still overwhelmed with how much writing you need to get done, start with one sentence, or even one paragraph. This can quickly help you build off of multiple ideas and before you know it you’ve written ten pages. All you need is a place to start.

Remember: you’ve already created the tools you need to begin your story through your preparation!

4. Always remember the positives.

The trickiest part about writing anxiety is that it can consume all your other thoughts.

Becoming all-consumed with worry about your project can change your attitude into a negative one.

When you’re having a hard day writing, take a step back from your work and come back to it tomorrow. Then, try to name three positive things that you’ve done so far on your writing journey. It could be figuring out the plot twist you’ve been searching for, loving a particular line or sentence you wrote, or merely being able to wake up and write that day.

Be proud of every step you take and know that every word or idea you come up with brings you one step closer to completing your project!

While your writing project might present itself as an intimidating hurdle, we’re here to remind you that it’s nothing more than another way to challenge yourself and grow as a writer, no matter what the outcome.

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