Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On Writing: Overcoming Obstacles Two

Earlier this month I started a series on overcoming obstacles in writing. I began with discussing writer’s block however the mother of that obstacle is writing anxiety. Writing anxiety is the feeling of tension, worried thoughts and sometimes physical changes (such as higher blood pressure) which occurs when a person faces a writing task. It is the major negative feelings writers have when they attempt to write. In its extreme form some people become physically ill sometimes vomiting and getting headaches or body aches.

Writing anxiety may cause you to avoid writing at all costs. You might feel nervous or unable to write anything (writer’s block). You may self-sabotage any efforts when it comes to writing. One may also have symptoms that include excessive worry and unnecessary stress associated with the performance of writing.

So, how do you fight writing anxiety? First you need to find out and know what your triggers for the anxiety are. Is it due to deadlines, meeting them or creating them? Is it due to competitiveness or is it due to fear of failure? It could stem from social, professional and even academic factors. You might feel pressure from your peers, publisher or teachers. After you pinpoint the triggers of why you feel anxious when it comes to writing then you can effectively fight it. Often the anxiety you feel is situational and you should pay attention to situations that cause it and avoid them.

Some ways to combat writing anxiety include getting a writing buddy or peer that will help you feel more relaxed as you write. That person should be someone you like and trust who is encouraging and wants to see you succeed. Another way is to avoid being isolated by becoming apart of a writing group. Often writers are loners but that is not necessarily healthy. Instead of isolating yourself join a local writing group where you can leave your office (home or otherwise) to meet with like minded writers.

The best way to fight the obstacle is to identify your strengths as a writer and person. This will help you reverse the negative thought patterns that feed your anxiety. Another thing to do is to think of writing as a craft that requires practice for you to master it. As you think of writing as craft you can deem yourself to be an apprentice of sorts learning to become the best you can be at the craft. Also, you should try to change your writing mode sometimes and not get stuck in a rut. Better still, do what you want your audience to do with your finished project: read. Reading will help you overcome your anxiety and give you something different to do for the time being while developing your creativity.

Writing anxiety doesn’t have to be debilitating and stop you from completing your career goals. These were just the basics but good insights on how to overcome this obstacle. Once you conquer the monster you can create your masterpiece and finish the task at hand: writing.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

On Writing: Overcoming Obstacles One

There are various obstacles that may arise while writing. It doesn’t matter if your trying to write one paragraph or a full-length novel, we all have faced mountains while constructing our master pieces. What I’ve learned to make writing ideas flow from my mind to paper is to always keep writing tools (i.e. pen and paper) with me at all times. I literally purchased a half dozen small 5x7 60 sheet journals from Dollar Tree to help with this. I keep one journal in my purse and carry it with me everywhere.

Another thing I do is I keep word processing tools on all my devices. I have MS Word not only on my laptop but my Android phone and Kindle as well. This way, I can work on my projects any where no matter how small of a change or addition I need to make to one of my works. I do those updates in real time. MS Word is easy to download on most devices and sometimes for free, especially with the subscription to Office 365.

Writers block is a real problem for most writers. Still though, you cannot allow it to stop you from writing. My best advice is if you ae going through one of those times get up, walk away from the project and leave the premises. You could go for a walk, which is what I usually do. While you are on your walk pay attention to everything around you; the way the air smells, how the clouds form, what color the first person who passed you is wearing. You should try to formulate a story in you mind. When you get back to home write in your journal about what you witnessed on your walk. About a few hours later try to create a short scene about your walk. That little exercise should give you a break from the project and exercise not only, your body but your mind as well.

There are various writing obstacles that we all have faced at one time or other during our process. They include writing anxiety, procrastination, lack of confidence, lack of productivity, lack of motivation and even perfectionism. I will be looking at all these issues in future posts to try to give you some help along the way. We all have books to complete and get out in the world that could possibly help the next person.