How To Overcome Writer’s Anxiety (5 Simple Methods)

By: Rafal Reyzer
Updated: Oct 4th, 2023

writer's anxiety

You could be the most experienced writer in the world. You could even write for a living.

Yet there’s always the thought at the back of your mind that one day the well of creative ideas is going to run dry. But just like in nature, sometimes it rains, sometimes it pours, and other times you’re facing Sahara. The wonderful thing about writing and the human mind is that during those “drought” periods, we can do metaphorical rain dances to conjure up a creative storm again. Writer’s block is usually a result of writer’s anxiety inhibiting our ability to create. If you’re feeling anxious about your next writing project, here are the top tips to get the creative juices flowing profusely.

What Causes Writer’s Anxiety?

Writer’s anxiety can strike anyone and results from various psychological factors. More commonly, it can happen when we’ve spent too much time avoiding an assignment, and now we’re overwhelmed by the time running out on the clock. Alternatively, a lack of experience with a subject we’re writing about can make us feel like we’re not capable of doing it justice or being entirely truthful. All creatives can relate to the phenomenon of imposter syndrome. But being held back by this feeling is a fool’s game, as every experienced writer will tell you.

Other reasons you might experience writer’s anxiety:

  • A lack of interest in your writing topic
  • A nearing deadline, or even one that feels exceptionally far away
  • Past negative experiences with writing when you have received negative feedback
  • Having too many writing assignments on your plate
  • Not having enough support from an editor or content manager

Sometimes, a writer’s anxiety comes from unexpected life situations. We often occasionally face significant events that preoccupy our time and our minds, and writing is the least of our worries. If you think you might be struggling with anxiety, consider visiting BetterHelp for resources on how to navigate these feelings.

Let’s Explore the Best Ways to Overcome a Writer’s Anxiety:

1. Keep a Journal and Use it for Self-Disclosure

Sometimes, you need to practice writing just for yourself, in a safe space, free of judgment from outsiders. It’s a fantastic way to establish a creative flow throughout your day. It also allows you to be playful with your ideas and take pleasure in writing. It’s a wonderful tool to escape the association of writing with stressful environments. Carrying it around with you will motivate you to find creative ideas in your daily life and use them later. Invest in a high-quality, lightweight journal (or even a notepad) and use it to write about your feelings and things you’re grateful for in life. By doing this, you’ll automatically decrease the feelings of anxiety.

leather-bound journal

Even when you do most of your writing on your PC, it is always a good idea to have a journal on hand so no sudden spark of ideas would go to waste.

2. Engage in Some Form of Physical Activity

If you’re someone who’s used to working on tight deadlines, physical exercise only seems like a distraction that delays you from completing your workload. However, staying in place for hours at a time will stifle your creativity rather than encourage it. This doesn’t mean that you must go to the gym and have the most intense workout of your life every day. Something as simple as getting on a walk can help your thoughts flow more freely and improve your memory and attention. A nice walk in nature will light up your whole brain and allow the rays of creativity to come through.

3. Come Up with a Low-Stakes Writing Challenge for Yourself

This may be the last thing you want to do, but sometimes one of the few ways to break out of a creative rut is to create a challenge for yourself. One where you have milestones you need to reach in a certain amount of time works best. A challenge you attempt to complete with peers can give you the benefit of having people to keep you accountable as you complete this challenge. A writing challenge can help awaken the dormant competitiveness inside you, so take it. But make sure that a grand reward is waiting for you upon completion. A night out with friends, a day trip, or an evening at a spa are all waiting for you if you just get your writing project done. Make it simple, make it low-stakes, make it fun.

put in the work

4. Don’t Obsess Over Your First Drafts

Picture this: you’ve just spent hours crafting the first draft on a topic you love, and everything is perfect. If only that were the case for most of us! Sadly, perfect first drafts reside in the realm of myth and fantasy, and that’s okay. Most of the time, obsessing over first drafts will only stress you out and potentially even slow down the writing process. Be at peace with the notion that your first draft will not be the final one. Be proud that you could see your draft from beginning to end. That’s a huge accomplishment. One practical tip is to not switch between writing and editing. When coming up with a first draft, write from your heart, knowing that you’ll make mistakes. They can all be edited later!

5. Seek Support From Other Writers

Many people out there, stereotype writing as a loner’s game. Whether it’s done in a professional setting or done for pleasure, writing is a highly collaborative art that benefits from the input of various people. It’s beneficial to receive feedback from more experienced writers who can teach you how to streamline the creative process.

writing with friends

You can attend writing workshops or retreats, or simply be with like-minded friends who don’t mind or would even enjoy doing literary exercises with you.

Another great way to do this indirectly is to look at the writing of those who came before you. Examine how they accomplished things you wish to do in your writing. However you choose to go about it, a writer’s anxiety is only a minor hurdle on your journey to create something great. Don’t let it stop you from doing what you love! Next up, you may want to explore a guide on how to relax your mind.

Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building two companies, a digital marketer, and a content creator with 10+ years of experience. I started to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here, and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.