Does Writing Make You Anxious?

I’m writing a novel that requires me to dig deep into the hearts and souls of the people I love. Yes, it’s fictional – but it’s based on true events and emotions that aren’t always pleasant. Getting that close to something uncomfortable makes my chest burn with anxiety.  I mean it freaking hurts. Call me weak, but I had to take 1/2 Ativan.  I need to write this book.  I have committed to writing this book and I will finish it.

It made me wonder whether other writers are plagued by anxiety caused by writing. It’s one thing to write about depression and anxiety as its own subject.  But what about feeling perfectly okay UNTIL you start writing.  Once I’ve finished this post I’m going to go back to it.  Bravely.  In order to create a book that has substance, grit, and truly developed characters, I’m going to have to dig deep and really face this head on. In order to write about someone else’s emotions (fictional or not), I have to feel those things too.

Think about it this way, if you had to write about the taste and feel of the salty ocean, you would first need to have that experience. Gotta tell ya….it really sucks. It’s going to be worth it when the book is done. Maybe I’ll learn to get used to this feeling, or at least learn how to handle this so that I don’t spend the next couple of years in a constant state of pain. That would be stupid.

I need to learn how to disassociate to some degree.  I’ve felt pain in my life so I know it’s in my toolbox to write about.  If I could just turn off the receptors that bring me back there….

I don’t have the answers today. I just know that I have the day off from work to write and I should probably get back to it.

If you’re a writer or someone who deals with anxiety on the reg, let me know about your experiences!  I’m open to hearing how other people manage it without medication, and without avoiding writing.




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