Being a writer often means hosting a legion of insecurities.
Impostor syndrome? Check.
An overload of empathy, perhaps – creating an over-sensitivity to what’s going on with other people? Yup.
Fear of rejection? Absolutely.
There are rarely writers who glide through the day, getting their however-many-thousand words on the page before switching gears and then gracefully promoting with that perfect balance of humility and self-confidence. Those that do appear to “have it all” usually have the shiny gloss of an Instagram post: that sense of “naturally staged” perfection, something that doesn’t allow the murky, ugly underbelly to show.
There’s a reason for that. Being vulnerable is, quite frankly, terrifying. Also, it’s all too easy to be judged, quickly and brutally, especially in today’s anonymous comment culture. Who wouldn’t try to curate their presence in the world? Who doesn’t? If we’re honest, no one is completely raw when it comes to their outward-facing persona. Even people who proclaim “I try to be my most authentic self” are often making a performative statement.
At its heart: anxiety.
We’re usually an introverted bunch, as well, far more comfortable with digging deep and talking about writing or whatever other subjects we’re passionate about, exhausted by small talk, appalled by anything that might be taken as self-aggrandizing (and of course, talking about our writing feels more like boasting and less like sharing, so we shy away from it.) Our work tends to happen in isolation. We can go for long chunks of time without interacting with anyone, if we so desire.
And yeah, we so desire. Quite a bit.
For many of us, the work can go in fits and starts, and a wellspring of creativity dries up into a desert of writer’s block. If or when we lose momentum, we can fear that we’ll never write again.
We can be a weird little bundle of neuroses. Sometimes that feeds the work. More often than not, though, it drains the writing and the writer alike.
How, then, to get past the anxiety?