Yesterday, I was on Facebook and on my wall came up a post from one of the many writing groups that I am a member of and someone posted up that when she writes it goes well then all of a sudden she gets anxiety and has to take an anti-depressant. She wanted advice on how to deal with anxiety, and I stated that maybe that she need to just let the writing flow naturally and not think about it.
Granted, I have never run across this problem before, but at the same time I have really started thinking about how anxiety could be a problem for writers. I have thought have a couple of different situations such as that need for perfection, the doubt that our writing is not good enough, or that we are not worthy to write, let alone create stories. Any of these could be the reason for facing anxiety. But is there also the worry that every thing has to be perfect?
Yes, there is that need to be perfect. If you really think about it as children we are ingrained with the need to get perfect grades in school, that our work has to be perfect or that we will be judge. Therefore, as artists we seek to have perfection. But art is not perfect, which leads us to the age-old question of what makes art? Is art something that we make? Is art something that others call art? Or is it art because it is art? Each one of these questions will have a yes and no answer. But then that leads us down other paths of as to why is it this way.
Furthermore, when we really think about the struggle with writing, we are always told that authors, and artists a like suffer, that they are depressed and that become drug addicts or alcoholics. However, I would disagree in that not every artist suffers or becomes a drug addict, for there are some that really don’t find the struggle or that they become depressed. But all writers, depressed or not, seek perfection, and we seek approval in what we do with our craft. But when you really start to think about it thinking about getting that much-needed approval down the road could lead to anxiety.
Yes, it is nice to think about the future, but at the same time if your craft is giving you anxiety maybe it is time to think about why that is. It might be hard, but at the same time that anxiety will affect writing and the ability to create, which is what we do not want. We want to create without having the world impacting our craft. I will state that I did deal for years anxiety over tests, and part of that was that I was a bad test taker. I had anxiety some days before I went to work, for there were days that I did not want to go to work. But once I was there, I did not let the anxiety affect my work, for other things did that, but I did the best that I could.
Dealing with anxiety sucks, and anyone that has felt anxiety knows what I am saying is true. There are other things that we can have anxiety over but writing or creating art should not be one of them. However, if you are having anxiety over your craft then it’s time to face the mirror and ask yourself why are you having anxiety over your craft, and what do you need to help you cope with the anxiety. Hint: Chocolate can be very helpful or some treat that makes everything melt away.
I hope that you have a great writing day without anxiety!