5 Steps to Navigate (Writerly) Anxiety on a Daily BasisAug 30, 2023
What if I’m not good enough?
Is this story too unoriginal?
What if people hate my story?
We’ve all experienced these spiraling thoughts at some point in our writing journey. Anxiety roars its ugly head and tries to get in the way of accomplishing your writing goals.
There are so many proven techniques used to reduce anxiety. But sometimes even those that we know will work can feel like a chore. So when that happens, Quill & Cup member and author Mandy Maree shares how she navigates anxiety on a daily basis, even when she feels like she’s in survival mode. She shared her nightly routine with us during "Anxiety Won't Stop You [From Writing Your Novel]" and we want to share the process with YOU!
5 Steps to Navigate (Writerly) Anxiety on a Daily Basis
- Nightly Brain Dump
- Name Biggest Stressor & Scenarios
- Plan and/or Set Goal(s)
- Remind & Reflect
- Commit to Challenging Yourself
Step 1: At the end of each day, Mandy recommends taking time to simply feel ALL that you feel. Then, jot all those feelings down in a journal as a Brain Dump. You can write as little or as much as you need to, but get those thoughts and feelings down on paper.
Step 2: After you’re finished, you’ll identify your biggest stressor. What is causing you the most anxiety right now? Name it. Anxious thoughts typically go to the worst case scenario, so you’ll write that down next. You can laugh at it, yell at it, and then cross it off. Next, you’ll think on the best case scenario. What if all works out?
Step 3: Take all this knowledge, and plan out your next day. Include the small things, including rest, self-care, and—of course—the BIG things you’re dreading (i.e. making a phone call or editing a chapter) to help with worry/spiraling thoughts. You can set a small goal for the week, too.
Step 4: Remind yourself that what you’ve done is enough. Even if you only thought about your writing, it was enough. You are enough. If needed, give yourself grace.
Take a deep breath (or several) and then, choose an affirmation to focus on and replace with your current negative thought. Reflect on how you’re really feeling right now in this moment.
Step 5: Challenge yourself! Mandy suggests creating a list - almost like a bucket list or what she calls in her debut novel, a WOLO—We Only Live Once—list. However you name it, your list should be things that scare you—but you should start small. If not, it can backfire and you don’t want to end up with more fear. List things that will lead you a tiny step out of your comfort zone.
Turn your fears into goals or challenges.
While it sounds terrifying to do things scared, Mandy promises its worth it. You’ll be proud that you not only faced your fears but also that your one step closer to making your dreams come true.
Quill & Cup is a fiercely supportive community that serves women from all around the world who commit to showing up to their writing consistently and are open to evolving as writers and people. Together, we work through roadblocks in the writing process by leaning into continued education on writing craft and research-based practices for an empowered mindset. We offer members an average of five live learning experiences per month! If you can't make it live, that's no big -- we have over 50 hours of content on craft, mindset, and authorpreneurship available for members in our Webinar Replays Library.
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