How to write with writing anxiety

This is my current challenge. How do you write when you have anxiety around writing?

I have had writing anxiety for years. Usually, I would “power through” or “procrastinate then panic” with generally positive results. But since grad school, serious personal life changes, and a global pandemic resulted in me unlocking new levels of anxiety and finally breaking down I realized I needed help.

I think anyone who has dealt with mental health can tell you how hard accepting you have a problem can be. For me it was kind of a long process that went through different stages. It took me about a year to really accept I couldn’t do everything – fix all my problems – by myself. I needed help.

It’s still going to be a long process. I started meeting with the university’s study psychologist – someone between a therapist and academic tutor- and it has helped me a lot already. I’m going to look from a more formal therapist because I need someone to help process my thoughts and feelings (and what is likely executive dysfunction). Talking to my husband, parents, and friends helps but I can’t look to them for answers. This is work that is deeply personal and requires a profession touch.

I started having serious anxiety around writing at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. It persisted through the 2020-2021 academic though I was able to identify and tackle some specific layers. In particular my self-confidence which was just gone after recovering from burnout over the summer. I’ve had difficulty writing blogs, writing post cards, and sending messages to friends. This is just the first time the anxiety KO’d me and stole my sense of self worth.

I don’t want blogging to take time away from writing my thesis and finishing my course work but I think this can be a place to process. I’m going to do short daily blogs. No fuss, not elaborate planning, or editing, just check-in about anything on my mind. I think this will help build a habit of writing and getting my thoughts out of my head. I don’t know what will how, but I’m going to try.

Sorry there aren’t any answers. Maybe I will have some later. Everyone is different.

If you are feeling anxiety or depressed or stress reach out to a professional or someone you trust. It hurts and you will cry (I certainly did) but you won’t regret it.



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