Writer anxiety

There are many different scenarios that set off a bout of writer anxiety. All of mine can be traced back to my ambition and a feeling of “when is all of this writing going to start paying off?” To wit:

typewriter detail1) Reading articles about all the books being released by favorite authors, or those who write in your genre. (I’m looking at you, Neil Gaiman.)

2) Facebook/Twitter posts by authors about their awesome writer life. (Like randomly meeting a fan buying your book at the checkout of a bookstore. Yes, Jay Asher, your coolness gives me anxiety.)

3) A blank page.

4) A filled page with nothing discernibly useful.

5) Friends asking how that book that’s been on submission is faring. (This never comes from family. At least not immediate family. They are well aware of the anxiety it causes.)

6) Anyone asking about your current WIP.

7) Catching a glimpse of your wake-up face/hair the morning after working late at night/in the wee hours of the morning on a manuscript…when you still have to get to that day job.

8) A deadline. Even the self-imposed ones.

9) Waiting when you’re querying/when you’re on submission/for feedback from your beta readers/for a response from your agent/for your contract/for notes from your editor…(I could go on).

10) Awesome story ideas that pop into your head when you haven’t had a chance to write down the last few awesome story ideas that have popped into your head.

What else gives you writer anxiety?



7 thoughts on “Writer anxiety

  1. Allegro non tanto says:

    Waking up in the middle of the night with a really great idea, pulling the writing pad out of the nightstand, writing it all down and then waking up in the morning and discovering that what you wrote was totally illegible.
    Loved this post because you touched on everything that we writers go through! It’s so great to know that I’m not alone in my anxiety…

  2. Rachael Charmley says:

    Totally with you. When I write what I think is a great idea in my notebook – when I read it in the morning it usually turns out to be a very small idea or rubbish… 🙂

  3. debatterman says:

    What you call anxiety I call depression . . . Seriously, when I read about other writers and their successes, I can’t help but wonder: Am I not seeing something in my own work? Did a make a wrong turn somewhere? Have I really done/written what I intended to? And when I send out stories/queries, etc., I do my best to remind myself there’s such a subjective aspect to response. Sometimes, though, I’ll get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me something else.

  4. Tracey says:

    Deb, I think Jayne had it right about the drinking. It’s hard to be a writer and it’s often depressing. The hardest is seeing others in their great moments, but the thing is, no one talks about the struggle. They only share the good news, because who wants to see/talk about the times when you’re ready to put your head in the oven? We’re right there with you, Deb. And you’re right. Sometimes it’s not anxiety. It’s straight up sadness and self-loathing.

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