What writer's anxiety is to me and how I overcome it.
Inevitably, writer's anxiety approaches each time I attempt to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Various degrees of anxiety overcome me depending on the reason for writing, the type of writing, and whether or not I am comfortable with the subject matter being written about.
For instance, if I am writing a term paper assigned to me, the level of writing anxiety catapults to the top. One factor may decrease the apprehension: familiarity of the topic being covered. The more knowledge I have, the easier the words appear on paper or screen.
Although poetry is not my first chosen genre of writing, I find it to be a less daunting task. Poetry tends to be relative with my moody nature and allows it to become a major aspect of the poem itself.
Editorial pieces are even easier than poetry and produce the least amount of anxiety. Being overly opinionated and extremely outspoken, my thoughts, ideas, feelings and perspectives on issues are usually cut and dry. The problem that I have with writing editorials stems from the imperfect perfectionist part of me. It is very important for me to use words properly in order to convince or enlighten readers on an issue of concern. I spend so much time re-writing editorials that the topic is usually not a "hot topic" once I finish!
Procrastination is my ultimate downfall when it comes to writing. Anxiety heightens as I near a deadline, and more times than not, the end result turns out sloppy. All of the aforementioned reasons that give rise to writer's anxiety also give rise to procrastination.
The presence of writer's anxiety is easily recognizable by the blank stare and non-movement as I sit with a pen clutched between my teeth and a blank sheet of notebook paper on my lap. It is not uncommon for me to possess multiple sheets of paper on which I have a first paragraph or stanza written. Every piece I write has several pages scattered throughout many unorganized notebooks with bits and pieces of random thoughts jotted down. Searching through such unorganized, messy notes causes me to become so frustrated that I end up tossing the notebook to the floor and walking away. This is when Mr. Low Self-Esteem enters to taunt me until I return to the notebook on the floor with a different attitude.
A different attitude now in tact, I confront my writing once again. I begin by reading related items for inspiration and/or ideas. For term papers, I trap myself inside a mode of research until I believe I have enough facts to carry my paper past the midway point. New knowledge obtained through research excites me at this point and I am more than eager to continue writing. For other genres, my technique of overcoming writer's anxiety is simple: I just start writing!
Implementation of the techniques mentioned forces Mr. Low Self-Esteem out of the door and produces a clear, fresh, eager mind that is much more capable of inspiring rather than being inspired. New ideas become clear and purposeful and find their place inside my writing with such ease. The quality of my finished product is much higher than one that does not utilize these techniques of overcoming writer's anxiety. A positive attitude about my writing creates a positive attitude for my life in general and guides me through an open door leading to new ideas for new poems or editorials. The excitement contained inside my soul is to be reckoned with and unstoppable!