I chalked it up what was happening to me as writer's block, even though I knew that wasn't exactly the case. I had ideas. I had plenty of them. But the thought of actually sitting down at my desk, placing my fingers on the keyboard, and staring at a blank screen, caused my stomach to knot, my heart to race, and my eyes to fill with tears. I never cried, but oh how I wanted to.
This happened over and over, and soon it became easier to avoid writing all together, so I did. Nextflix was much kinder to me than my manuscript anyway.
It only happened when I went to write, so I knew it wasn't a case of depression, since I felt fine in all the other areas of my life. So if it wasn't depression or writer's block then what was it?
And why was it happening more often? I'm an experienced writer, dang it! I should be breezing through a manuscript not cowering from it.
Then it dawned on me, like a light bulb above my head, and I found myself typing the words "Writing and Anxiety" in my Google search.
And there it was. And it was a real thing. And I heard angels.
The first article I opened was from Writer Unboxed, and as I read the article the more I realized just how much I could relate. I wasn't suffering from writer's block or depression, but from a GIGANTIC case of anxiety.
It makes sense as to why, too!
I have numerous plates balancing in the air: my work in progress, marketing, blogging, events, publishing goals, website, social media, SEO, positive reviews, negative reviews, readers expectations, my expectations, staying ahead of the game, continued learning...
and then realizing that regardless of how many plates I keep spinning in the air, and how good I'm doing it (I'm doing okay), I have that nagging feeling in the back of my head telling me I should be doing better. Because there is ALWAYS better.
That's a lot of freakin' pressure!
And here I am, suffering from anxiety, but also feeling that if I say anything to anyone--especially those in the writing industry--I will be mocked or viewed as someone who just can't cut it in this business.
Keeping it bottled up, keeping it hidden, and not talking about it doesn't help anyone. Especially the person living it.
I know I'm not the only one, and so that it why I'm sharing this in hopes my research might help someone else. Or, if nothing else, to let them know they aren't alone.
Please read this article Let's Talk About Anxiety & The Creative Process and the comments as well. It is powerful. It is real.
Now, I'm on the search for finding ways to overcome my anxiety so that I can write the books trapped inside my head. I don't have the answers...yet. But I will figure it out and find a way to get past this.
Simply, because I refuse to allow my worries and fears keep me from doing the things I love.
And talking about it is step one.
More articles and advice:
10 ways to break up with writer's block or writer's anxiety
Overcoming writer's block and how to outsmart your inner critic
Crushing writer anxiety