Confessions of an Anxious Writer

My NYC grandkids

Don’t get me wrong. I would never choose not to have gone to see my amazing NYC grandkids, followed by a Boston reunion with my super sisters. Getting to hug the people I love felt like such a gift after this year of not being able to be with them face-to-face.

But like anyone who’s ever taken a two-week vacation, I came back and was hammered as I tried to catch up—a blog to write for my local Sisters in Crime chapter, six critiques to prepare for folks in my writing groups, a nonfiction book to give feedback on for a friend, and a presentation to prepare for a romance writer’s group about my forthcoming Leisha’s Song, as well as my thoughts on combining romance with suspense. 

Notice anything missing from this list? Yup- it’s my own writing on my current work-in-progress, my first stab at writing a middle grade novel starring Varney, a kid vampire who can’t stand the taste of blood and is convinced he’s landed in the wrong body.

When I finally got back to working on Varney’s story this past week, I was a hot mess. All I could think of was, “Not again!” Every time I take any sort of a break from writing, I feel incredibly anxious. What if the words won’t come? What if I’ve lost my mojo for good?

It took me three days to finally feel I was back in the flow of writing. I still get anxious every morning before I begin, but nothing compares to the sheer terror of restarting after a long break.

I realize I’m not alone feeling this way. I remember reading about a writer who got so anxious if she wasn’t writing that the day after she turned in the final draft of one novel, she started the next. And last week, a dear writer friend confided that she’d felt “terrified” about starting to write again after having taken several months off to promote her new book.

We writers can be an anxious lot. For me, I’ve decided the only remedy is the old Susan Jeffers’ advice: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

I’d love to know what works for you when you’re feeling really anxious about getting started on a project—writing or otherwise.



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