I am not a therapist, and this series does not aim to replace the outstanding work that mental health professionals can do for you. However, I am an author and an editor, and throughout my ten-year career, I have amassed some experience on dealing with writing anxiety, mine and others’.
Often, just talking about it can help. So, let’s do that. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about coping with anxiety, and coping with writing anxiety, as those two tend to overlap.
A little about me
Beside my editing and writing jobs, I am also an ultimate pro at living with anxiety and ignoring it when I find it convenient.
I remember sleepless nights a few years back, feeling a heavy weight on my lungs, and thinking: “What a weird thing that is! Well, it’s going to pass soon enough!” And it did pass. Until it came back.
It took two years before someone gently mentioned the word “anxiety” and I finally considered it. Putting a word on it did not wish it away. But I could now learn about it and work on its fundamentals.
Are you a writer with anxiety?
I’ll repeat that I am not a mental health professional, so my aim isn’t to provide a diagnosis or to list symptoms that prove that you have anxiety. I am not qualified for that, so please don’t rely on me! If you are looking for information on anxiety, you can check Anxiety Canada [EN] or Revivre [FR/ENG], which I find to be great resources.
What I can tell you is how anxiety tends to manifest for me when it’s time to write. I’ll suddenly find something else to do, anything, so that I don’t have to sit at my desk and write. Even walking around my apartment for no reason.
I’ll make a list of things I need to do before I start writing, and I’ll do them, until it’s midnight and I am simply too tired to write.
My lungs will start feeling like they are not able to process oxygen. I’ll have worst-case scenario thoughts and I’ll convince myself that people will laugh at my writing.
I’ll look up other writers’ careers until I have proved that there is no point for me to even write a line. When I’ll have managed to write a line, I’ll overthink it until I can ascertain that it’s worthless and I’ll give up on writing for the day.
Sounds familiar? Or are you living your anxiety differently?
The Writing With Anxiety series
In this series, I’ll humbly share my experience and my thoughts on writing with anxiety. Above all, I want to focus on pondering those subjects rather than offering short-term solutions that only ignore the problem instead of working with it.
So, writers with anxiety, welcome to this space! Let’s do this 🙂