If you've thoughts on the below, I'd be very interested to hear them! If not, hi, this is a long post.

I read somewhere once that procrastination is often a manifestation of anxiety or fear. The piece I read (which I can no longer point to) suggested many of us avoid working on our projects because something about it scares us or brings up some other kind of anxiety, thus we avoid the task.

Reddit is a great place to procrastinate. Asking and answering questions is a great way to procrastinate. But I'm not interested in call outs (I find them silly and self-gratifying, to be honest.) Procrastinating sometimes is fine, too, I wouldn't suggest you don't ever do it (that'd be patronizing).

Where I am going with this is: do you ever pause to consider what sort of anxieties or fears are holding you back? And when you do, do you do more than that?

I don't mean get on Reddit and say "I'm afraid to do X because I'm Y" and find some kind of anxiety validation. (Doing that might be self defeating.)

I mean recognize the anxiety and sit with it until it no longer proves to be an obstacle, but rather just something you gotta manage if you're going to get anywhere with a project or developing a skill.

I know this phenomenon isn't unique to writing, but writing anxiety is a strange beast. I've worked with students as a tutor, consultant, teacher, peer, etc., and writing anxiety is pervasive and fierce. I myself get it on the regular.

Some people just seem able to "power through" their anxieties and get shit done. This is often the label put on me, though I wouldn't call it powering through. Others seem to hit a roadblock that they just can't get past. Which of these caricatures do you think could be applied to you? And what's actually going on in your head in either case?

Read:  Thought experiment: would you rewrite a story you already published?

I don't power through my anxieties, I sit with them while I work. Sometimes my anxiety comes from a place of truth. Sometimes that draft will NOT be good, sometimes a project will FAIL. I try not to prioritize "success" and "perfection" anymore because I know I usually won't get either, but if I don't pay attention to my anxieties, I'll slip into prioritizing the impossible, and thus end up never completing a project.

tl;dr – I guess I'm just curious to see how others conceptualize their writing anxieties. What does yours look like and what does it say about what you prioritize and value as a writer? How do you navigate that?

Source: reddit post


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