If you follow my blog, you know that I’ve spoken about author anxiety before. It’s something you face the moment you start writing. Perhaps even before then. (Because if you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how much you wanted to be an author before you actually started writing.)
It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach that keeps you from starting your first writing project. Or that tells you your writing isn’t good enough. That you aren’t good enough. That you won’t get published, or that being published is a fluke. It’s the voice that asks whether you’ll get bad reviews. Or about whether the book you’re currently writing is as good as (or better than) the last.
No matter where you are in your writing career, you’ll be faced with author anxiety. It’s terrible, and honestly, I’m not sure it ever goes away. But you are not alone. And because of that, I’m sharing the ways that have helped me through the worst of my author anxiety.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others
I’ve said this many times before, but it’s worth mentioning again. You will be tempted to compare yourself to others. There will be authors your age who are more successful than you. Or perhaps they’ve started out with (or after) you, and have written more books. Or maybe it’s just because they have a career you want. It’s going to be so very tempting to compare yourself to where they are. In fact, you’re probably doing it right at this very moment.
Comparing yourself to other authors will get you nowhere. It’s also probably the most acute source of your anxiety. Because what are you not doing that they are? What characteristics do they have that you don’t? Comparison is a slippery slope, and one that’s bound to make you feel bad about yourself. So, when you find yourself comparing, tell yourself this:
What you’re doing is enough. Who you are is enough. The point you are at on your journey is exactly where you are meant to be. And wherever that is, it’s okay.
2. Reach out to friends who know what you’re going through
Author friends are the best. (A separate blog about this to follow soon!) And they’re the only people who will truly know what you’re going through. For example, this past week I shared a bad review with my author friends. They were incredibly supportive, told me that it was only one opinion, and that it didn’t mean I was a bad author.
This was exactly what I needed to hear. And that kind of advice will only come from people who’ve experienced bad reviews, or are anticipating them. I have an incredible friend who listens to every single author anxiety I have (you’re the best, Jenni). And honestly, I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t have her telling me that I’m not a terrible author, or that bloggers won’t hate me, or any other irrational writing-related fear I have. You’ll find tons of supportive authors on social media. Reach out to them. Ask if they’ll be your friend. It’ll ease your anxiety tenfold when they say yes.
3. Write through it
This is the simplest way to deal with your author anxiety. (It’s the way I deal with most of my anxieties, frankly.) Using your writing to drown your fears is the best way to deafen them. Because writing is where these anxieties stem from. Scared you’ll never write that book? Writing through it will ensure that you do. Worried that you aren’t good enough? Well, the more writing you do, the more you’ll learn, the better you’ll become. Anxious about your income? Again, the more you write, the more opportunities you’ll have to increase that income.
Author anxiety is real, and the only person who can control it is you. And you can control it. It might take a bit of practise, but you’ll get there. Remember, you’re not alone ❤