For about two years I’ve been on medication for my anxiety, and I’ve been experiencing writer’s block for almost a year. I never thought that the two were connected until I started to wean myself off the medication and found that I was able to come up with ideas for stories and write again without feeling that every story I put down on paper or typed up was terrible. The first few times I was able to write again I was very excited. I missed writing so much and hated when I couldn’t write a simple short story without thinking about how terrible it was, giving up before I was even passed the first two sentences.
But now I’ve come across a new problem: although I’ve found that I can write again, I’m afraid to write. I’m afraid that I’m going to start writing and hate what I put down and have the vicious cycle start all over again. If you’re a writer you already know this: it is one of the worst feelings in the world to want to be able to write but not being able to. Writing provides such a release for me as an artist and I’ve worked on so many forms of writing (short stories, novels, flash fiction, micro fiction, plays, creative non-fiction, journalism) that I find it frightening that I can’t even work on a story or essay without the fear of failing standing over my shoulder.
What I need to remind myself is that everything I write will not come out perfect. That’s what editing is for. If I don’t like what I’m writing, instead of giving up I should keep going. I have found in the past that sometimes I may not like my beginning, but love my ending, so I just go back later and fix the beginning. Again, editing. Finally, I think one of my biggest problems is I haven’t written anything for myself in a long time and so I need to get back in the swing of writing fiction for a little bit everyday. I had a professor once who said to write 15 minutes every day. Even if you feel like you don’t have time, at some point in the day excuse yourself from whatever you’re doing and just take 15 minutes to write. That’s what I would do in college and it worked! I just need to get back into the swing of doing that.
I recently joined a writing group a friend was trying to get started up again, so I’m hoping that it will help me. Our first story is due in a little less than two weeks and while I’ve started it (and am OK with what I have so far) I have no idea where it’s going. Yet. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.