How To Overcome Creative Anxiety And Write Without Fear
It can be really hard to write sometimes but what's really hard to write about is why it's hard to write. If you're still with me after that sentence, I thank you. But seriously, though, it's hard enough to sit down and write, let alone talk the many reasons why human beings find it difficult to express themselves through the written word. However, it's important to try, because far too many people waste their lives in the emptiness of Word Documents because they're afraid to put it all out there.
It's difficult to say, really, what stops people from writing because it's different for everyone. I'd like to think I understand what stops me, but then again most of us like to think that because it puts in a place of comfort so we can ignore the fact that we're doing nothing to help ourselves. The human mind is a mess. But if I were to guess what my problem is I'd say that most of it is rooted in a fear of failure or worthlessness.
The human mind is a mess. But if I were to guess what my problem is I'd say that most of it is rooted in a fear of failure or worthlessness.
I guess we all feel better at what we do if no one actually sees us fail. I can believe that I'm a great writer, but if I write something, and it's bad, am I still a good writer? Logic would say, 'maybe,' but the way most of us are programmed, and because of the mental and emotional nature of creativity, it can be hard not to take low-quality products as representative of all of our work.
What I'm suggesting is that perhaps writer's block is an excuse to hide from our work when things get hard. Writers often talk about writer's block as if it's some sort of medical condition. We all agree that it exists and all talk about how we've been there, and to some extent maybe we do get blocked from time to time, but ultimately as a society, writers have made a safety net that we shouldn't have. Writing is difficult but that's what makes it worth it in the end. If writing came easy, anyone would do it.
Writing is difficult but that's what makes it worth it in the end. If writing came easy, anyone would do it.
I've definitely been a person who utilized the safety net of writer's block, among other excuses. I've avoided writing the story I've had in my brain every single day for years now because I'm scared. I'm afraid that this beautiful creation in my head — this beautiful creation that means the world to me — is ultimately not worth much at all. And sure, I'd love to be one of those writers who doesn't need validation from anyone, but that's not me. I want my work to be liked, not so I can get popular or rich, but because I want to connect with people. I want what I write to matter to someone.
It's sad really, one of the biggest regrets of my short life. I've wasted so much time because I've fallen under the illusion that writer's block is a thing and been enchanted by the allure of successes like J.K. Rowling. I'm looking everywhere and at everything aside from the computer at the Word Document that is still empty.
I've wasted so much time because I've fallen under the illusion that writer's block is a thing and been enchanted by the allure of successes like J.K. Rowling.
There are documents and notes across my devices, spanning from my old iPod Touch, to my phone, to my computer. But the second I sit in front of the computer my mind goes blank and my hands stop moving. The room becomes silent as my fingers rest on the keyboard. I know it's dramatic, and every time I wonder what's stopping me, but the result hasn't changed yet. I hate that it hasn't changed.
At this point I'm probably complaining more than explaining, so I'll try and switch gears here. The truth is, I don't have some sort of magical advice to help you write. While I'm not sure about how real writer's block is — as I think being uncertain presents a challenge for you to really carve out your story — I believe wholeheartedly that creative anxiety exists. Like generalized anxiety and other anxiety disorders, it's nearly impossible for anyone other than yourself to manage your feelings.
I can't count how many times I've asked my partner to keep me accountable for my writing. He tries and encourages me with all his might, but still I don't write any words. No one can make your fingers move or get your mind in the right place. You have to do that, or you have to try, at least.
No one can make your fingers move or get your mind in the right place. You have to do that, or you have to try, at least.
I want to encourage you to fight past your anxiety and to own your creation because I don't want other people to have wasted as much time as I have. Write something, anything! If it's bad, you can delete and start over. The practice and act of writing, no matter how good or bad, will always help you improve because writing is like any physical workout. You can't lift the big weights if you don't start with the small weights, and you won't be very good at lifting any weights if you don't keep at it.
This might sound awfully cheesy but I believe that people can do wonderful things, changing ourselves for the better being one of them. Own your ideas. Be brave. Bring discipline into your life. Never stop trying. Don't be too lazy or afraid to edit yourself. And write, write, write.
The next time you open a Word Document you can see one of two things, either, a space that is dreadfully empty, or a blank slate wide open for your genius. It's up to you.