Becoming an author is an incredible accomplishment. Seeing your name on a published piece makes all the hard work and dedication worth it. But unfortunately, many people striving to be an author encounter an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety in the process. So much so that it leads most to quit well before they reach the finish line.
Don’t let this be you. The following tips can help you overcome stress, anxiety, and writer’s block so you can get your creative works out to the world.
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Identify What’s Stressing You Out
Just about anything can trigger stress. Financial instability, relationship troubles, a pile of rejection letters, and self-doubt are just a few examples. Identifying what’s stressing you out is the first step to overcoming it.
You can do this by making a list of your current stressors. Be as specific and detailed as possible. Once you’ve completed your list, analyze it. Note legitimate stressors and those that are a result of you spiraling into negative thought patterns.
Also, think about how these stressors make you feel and whether they’re inciting physical symptoms, like headaches and extreme fatigue. Even if it takes a lot of investigative work, you’ll eventually find the source, which you can then plan your solutions out.
Put a Plan Together for Eliminating Stressors
Once you figure your stressors out, you may be determined to get rid of them entirely. Some people go about their life this way, but instead, it may be better to manage them in a healthy way. A simple way to do this is to plan for them.
For example, let’s say you’re struggling financially like many new authors. Instead of ignoring your bills until you get paid for your writing, develop a plan to make additional income in the meantime. This could be doing some freelance work for small businesses, getting a part-time job at a nearby store, or signing up to become a Uber or DoorDash driver.
In addition to making extra money on the side, create a budget. Identify your recurring and fixed expenses. Next, note the income you can rely on monthly as well as how much you estimate making with writing.
Then, subtract your expenses from your income. If there’s anything left over, allocate it to savings. If there isn’t, and you’re in the negative, cut any unnecessary expenses and keep working to find a reliable side income.
Go through a similar analysis process for every stressor to figure out the best way to eliminate it or make it more manageable.
Incorporate More Self-Care into Your Life
Incorporating more self-care into your life is one of the best things you can do to overcome stress and anxiety as an author. Instead of focusing on your stressors, you’ll be more grounded and focus on the here and now. It also boosts your mood and clears your mind so you can forge a better path forward.
Self-care is up for interpretation, but it’s essentially anything you do to nurture your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual life.
It’s easier to build self-care into your daily life when you start with accessible self-care. Examples of accessible self-care include:
- Practicing gratitude every day;
- Getting good sleep every night;
- Taking care of your daily hygiene;
- Eating healthy foods and staying hydrated;
- Maintaining positive relationships with people;
- Taking advantage of preventative care services;
- Reciting affirmations in the morning to start your day;
- Exercising at least two and a half hours per week.
Accessible forms of self-care are easier to stick with. And consistency is critical if self-care is to be a solution for stress and anxiety.
Pay Attention to What You’re Eating and Drinking
The last thing any writer will want is to drop down the coffee or snacks when they’re munching through a writer’s block. But overeating certain foods and indulging in unhealthy drinks can absolutely impact your stress and anxiety levels.
For one, foods high in sugar can increase your stress by causing your blood sugar levels to spike and crash throughout the day. Sweet and caffeinated drinks are often responsible for anxiety-producing blood sugar spikes and triggering your body’s fight-or-flight response.
Staying away from these, alcohol, gluten, and processed meats is a good idea. Instead, consume fruits with Vitamin C, foods with Omega-3 fatty acids, unrefined carbs, and sugar-free sweeteners to help you when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Make Expressing Your Emotions a Regular Practice
Stress and anxiety can fester if you don’t acknowledge what you’re going through. It’s so important to express your emotions and allow yourself to process what you’re feeling in moments of stress, anxiety, and writer’s block.
You can express your emotions by writing regularly in a journal or diary. Pick a cheap one up from a department store or shopping center. Choosing one with a cool design or inspiring message on the cover might encourage you to use it regularly.
Once you have your journal or diary, set aside time to write in it daily. This could be early in the morning before your family wakes up or your workday starts. You can also find time to jot down your thoughts throughout the day, instead of dedicating one long period of time to it. Whatever time you choose is up to you and your schedule.
You also don’t have to journal to use your journal in conventional ways to process your emotions. You also don’t even have to journal. Simply finding an outlet for your emotions can be powerful enough. Here are just a couple of suggestions: Here are some other ways to express your emotions:
- Paint or draw;
- Go to therapy;
- Sculpt or build something;
- Talk to yourself in the mirror;
- Vent with a trusted friend or family member.
Experiment with the ideas above to find a combination of activities you can partake in that help you authentically express yourself.
Stress and anxiety are difficult to deal with at times, especially when you’re a new author. But neither have to overwhelm or deter you from pursuing authorship long term. Use what you learned in this article to better manage stress and anxiety.