How To Deal With Writing Anxiety?

Reviewed by Dawn Brown, LPC, NCC

Published 01/08/2021

Anxiety is explained by the American Psychological Association as an emotion that comes with feelings of tension, being worried about something, and experiencing physical changes. Anxiety.org expounds that anxiety is experienced when your mind and body react to stressful, dangerous, or strange situations. It is empirically shown to have common symptoms such as feelings of panic, Irritation, tension, restlessness, nervousness, fast heart rate, rapid breathing, weakness, trembling, increased perspiration, sleeping problems, gastrointestinal problems, difficulty concentrating, excessive worry, and a strong desire to avoid anxiety triggers.

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Anxiety can be developed in different things that can characteristically overwhelm you. In other words, different entities can serve as triggers. It may be animals, objects, situations, or events. This emotion can also affect writers. This is because writers obviously can become anxious when there is a certain writing task in front of them. This kind of anxiety is characterized by the feeling of the worry associated with crafting a book, term paper, or a blog post.

What Is Writing Anxiety?

Technically, writing anxiety is a condition characterized by the feeling of uneasiness about writing. Sometimes, writers do experience what is called “writer’s block,” which is the inability to begin or even continue to work on a piece of writing. This can lead to or cause writing anxiety.  When you have writing anxiety, you may develop excessive worry about a given writing task, feeling agitated or uneasy when it’s time to work on a page, or feeling negative about specific types of writing. Most times, writing anxiety is more about who you are, the type of people you are writing to, or the purpose of writing than writing just for fun.

Several individuals know how it feels when your creative mind is blocked, and you become stuck looking like you are out of things to express. This condition can ignite your worries if you’re not a professional writer that knows that something like that does happen, of which after waiting for some time, the words may begin to flow again. If you have excessive worry about having nothing to write, which may result in procrastination, it can be referred to as writing anxiety.  From a clinical standpoint, writing anxiety could be seen as a mental illness that requires effective treatment.

What Are The Physical Symptoms Of Writing Anxiety?

When you’re experiencing writing anxiety, there are physical signs that you will see. Some of these signs may include:

  • Sweaty palm
  • Racing heartbeats
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Panic attacks
  • A desire to procrastinate a certain task

What Are The Causes Of Writing Anxiety?

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Like many other mental health challenges, writing anxiety can be related to some situations that may serve as the source of the irrational feeling of tension and worry. The following are common causes of writing anxiety:

  • Inexperience With The Type Of Writing Task

    There are different types and styles of writing. You may find it difficult to write as you wish or experience writer’s block if you do not know the style to use in writing a particular task. This can lead to feelings of nervousness, tension, or worry in performing the task as expected. Also, if you are an experienced writer on a specific writing style, learning a new writing style or having to adapt to it may be overwhelming and can result in writing anxiety.
  • Your Past Negative Experiences With Writing

    What people say about your style of writing matters a lot. You may develop writing anxiety if you have a history of destructive criticism on a writing task. For instance, if your teacher gave said something negative about the way you write or gave a negative remark about your writing, it may stimulate your feelings of tension, nervousness, or worry about writing.

  • The Negative Feelings You Have

    It’s usually said that “no one can put you down if you haven’t done the same to yourself. ” This quotation can be very appropriate in some situations when you think that you are not good enough to be a good writer or have a negative thought about writing itself, seeing it as a strenuous exercise that you don’t like doing.

  • Immediate Deadline

    How does it feel when your instructor told you to submit a writing task not long from when given, but the words are not forthcoming? Normally, thinking about the immediate deadline can overwhelm you with the feeling of worry and tension and make you break out in a sweat.

  • Distant Deadline

    The thought of an exact date set for submitting a particular task can cause anxiety even when it’s distant. What can bring out your fear is to have what it takes to meet requirements or expectations or your lack of motivation because the deadline seems far away.

  • Your Lack Of Interest In The Given Topic Or Not Understanding The Writing Task

    Writing is more enjoyable when the topic you’re working on is what you have an interest in. Your interest will energize your creativity, making the writing flow. However, if the topic is far away from being interesting to you or the task, you understand you may not be motivated to work perfectly on it. Consequently, this may lead to writing anxiety because it may be for an important purpose or specific audience.

  • Personal Problems Or Life Events

    There may be some personal issues you face at home. These problems may induce your anxiety in writing.

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How Can You Deal With Writing Anxiety?

It should be noted that writing anxiety is not absolutely bad. Sometimes it can motivate you to work very hard to get a task done by every means necessary. But at times, it can be excessive associating with stress-induced mindset and attitude. In this situation, you may need to look for ways to deal with it.

Irrespective of what kind of anxiety you may have, you expected to seek the best coping strategies. To know more about your condition, you can read more about it on anxiety blogs or get anxiety journals or search online for different anxiety articles.

Writing anxiety that may be considered an illness can be dealt with in different ways to have your writing magic back. The following are some ways through which you can deal with writing anxiety:

  • Meditation

    Meditation is a common treatment option for different kinds of anxiety at any level. Although it can be tedious and frightening, sometimes, it can effectively help reduce your anxiety. Meditation will help you to be more observant of the things going through your mind. To make it easy, you may begin small— meditating just for five minutes. Over time, you will sense an improvement in your condition. Besides meditation, you can also engage yourself in breathing exercise— this can help reduce the feeling of tension, worry, fear, or stress. There are self-help materials like books, mobile apps through which you can learn about meditation.

  • Exercise

    Most health care professionals will tell you to include enough exercise in your treatment program for anxiety. This can also work for writing anxiety. During exercise, adrenaline, which may have been increased in your body (making your heartbeat rapidly) when you experience anxiety, will be reduced. This implies that physical activity can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Also, during exercise, endorphins (happy hormones) are released, helping boost your mood and make you feel calm and comfortable. To help yourself, you can take a 20minutes walk every day around the house.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the treatment methods for several mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, addictions, and phobias. Instead of taking medications, it is better to successfully deal with anxiety, including writing anxiety.

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a structured psychotherapy that teaches you how you can effectively deal with unwanted and intrusive thoughts. Writing anxiety can be caused by negative thoughts; probably, you think you’re a bad writer or good enough to be a good one. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will help you challenge these negative thoughts and strategize on a rational plan for dealing with them. For instance, if your anxiety is triggered by the complexity attached to a given task, CBT will help you know the better way to handle such a task, perhaps by making you review your past successfully-written articles. This may definitely help you to work it out.

  • Engage Frequently In Freewriting

    Freewriting is an effective method to deal with writer’s block. It’s a type of writing that involves no forms and rules, made only to express the idea you have about something. Frequent engagement in freewriting will greatly help motivate you even when the interest is not there to write. In freewriting, you only write for a short period of time (set your clock for a specific time— from five to ten minutes); you don’t stop writing until your time is up. Make sure you don’t judge what you put down.

  • Writing Rituals

    Writing rituals refer to things that make writing an enjoyable exercise. These may include the place you use when writing (such as a super silent area with a clean desk), the time you write (such as very early in the morning), or the things you do you before writing (such as sharping your pencils and cleaning the surroundings). Observing these rituals will help make your writing process less stressful or easier and boost your power and motivation to work.

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  • Understanding Reality

    It is good to make yourself know that writing is not always a pleasurable exercise. There will be times when writing will be difficult. Understand that even the best of writers also encounter difficulties. Don’t consistently put yourself down through negative thoughts, thinking you are not a good writer. You need to face the problems seeing it as an inevitable step meant to train you to become a better writer.

  • Talk To Expert Or Get Supports From Those Close To You

    Some professional writers already know their way around ideal writing for their type of writing. It will be beneficial if you can meet with them and ask them relevant questions. Some of these experts may be from your family, friends, or tutors in school. Talking to them about your condition (writer’s block) will help relieve your anxiety. Your friends or course mates can also help out with ideas that keep you back on track if you’re working on the same task.

  • Dealing With Some Physical Challenges

    Actually, there are physical challenges that can contribute to writing anxiety. You are expected to deal with these challenges so that they won’t stimulate your condition’s symptoms. Some of these Physical challenges may include sleep deprivation, hunger, and dehydration. Therefore, before you start writing, ensure that you get enough sleep and food, and pay attention to dehydration.

  • Avoid Judging Yourself And Your Writing

    While writing, there is always an urge to evaluate your exercise— you must resist this. Judging yourself and your writing will only make the condition overwhelming. Forget about if your writing is good or add and focus on getting the work done. If you want to evaluate or edit, let it be after writing, not while writing.

  • Make Your Task Smaller, And Your Goal Short-Term

    How big your task is and long it will take to get it done can overwhelm you or lead to procrastination. So, try to break down the task into smaller sections and set a goal to achieve them each week. This will make the task easier and reduce your levels of anxiety.

Conclusion

It is always good to know as early as possible that you have anxiety before it becomes a disorder. To determine if you may have anxiety, take our quick online test: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/anxiety-test.