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Monday, April 28, 2014

X Out Your Writing Anxiety


X is for X Out Your Writing Anxiety

Writers face many anxieties. Let me name the ones just off the top of my head: writing, revising, criticism from beta readers, writer’s block, editing, deadlines, publishing, promoting, blogging, social networking, bad reviews, nasty comments, low ratings and low sales. All of this can be overwhelming and cause stress.

I know I’ve had some breakdowns over editing, promoting, and reviews that weren’t so nice. But these are all things we’re going to have to face and keep on facing as we continue with our writing journeys.

When it comes to bad reviews, nasty comments, and low ratings, we have to remind ourselves that it is just one person’s opinion. The key word there is opinion. It’s not a fact, and opinions change vastly from person to person. While what others say can hurt, the only person’s opinion that truly matters is our own. I know I’ve been deeply bothered by these things myself, but I am learning to X them out!

In regards to sales, the fact is sales numbers fluctuate. I remember a month after Hurricane Crimes first came out on Amazon when I was devastated that it dropped below rank #600,000 but it didn’t stay there. I may get a sale here or there, or several at once, and then hit another point where I don’t have any sales for many days. It’s normal for lesser known authors. The only way you’ll have amazing sales figures is if you’re published by a big house and on the NYT Bestseller’s list. 

As for everything else, we need to remember to focus on one thing at a time (whether it’s finishing a first draft or editing). When we devote our attention to one task at a time we have a greater chance of conquering it, and crossing it off our list with a big X. And if we keep pushing on by doing everything we can, we will see results!


Here are 16 ways to X out your anxiety:

·         Unplug from the Internet for at least one whole day.
·         Take a break from writing and editing. (2-3 days tops.)
·         Don’t read reviews with 3 star ratings or lower.
·         Pre-schedule your blog and Facebook posts. (I do.)
·         Get up and dance!
·         Take a slow, deep breath, and count to ten.
·         Listen to your favorite music. Turn it up!
·         Pick up a book you love and read for a good hour.
·         Watch a movie that makes you laugh.
·         Drink a cup of chamomile tea. (I love all teas and chamomile is one of my favorites. It’s known to be calming.)
·         Take a hot bath with lavender oils or bubbles in the water.
·         Eat a piece of dark chocolate. (This raises blood sugar.)
·         Reconnect with nature by taking a walk or gardening.
·         Meditate.
·         Exercise for at least 21 minutes.
·         Play with your beloved pets. (Thank you, Debra.)


SHARE: Your tips for de-stressing.


QUESTION: Out of all the writing anxieties, which one (or ones) causes you most stress?

69 comments:

  1. Writing the first draft is my greatest anxiety.
    I play my guitar to de-stress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Playing an instrument is a great de-stresser!

      Delete
  2. Thinking about how my work will be received causes anxiety. I know I need to just write and not even consider that but...I do (sometimes). Looking at stats and sales for my book also can cause anxiety. Your tips are great. My favorite ones are exercise and nature. These both get me out of my absorption with writing and the social media. What a month you've had Chrys! Your posts have been amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sometimes consider how my stories will be received too. It's hard not to since our stories will be read and people do have opinions. Sometimes harsh ones. Looking at the stats caused me anxiety in the beginning for Hurricane Crimes but I know the sales will forever change so I don't stress about that much anymore.

      THANK YOU!!!! :D

      Delete
  3. I love to go for a walk or take a bath when I'm feeling anxiety. Not only does it calm me down, but I usually get some great thinking time as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favorite is going for a walk. It does calm me, helps me to think, and reconnecting with nature is nice, too. :)

      Delete
  4. Hi Fey, you mentioned my methods of de-stressing: bathing, and walking. I must unplug from the Internet once a week, but they're all good pointers.
    Marketing causes me the most anxiety.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, Chrys. I did know your name, really ... it's just that I've recently had a lobotomy!

      Delete
    2. Marketing is extremely stressful and, looking back, has indeed caused me the most stress.

      Oh don't worry about it! People call me Fey and misspell my name all the time. I don't mind. :)

      Delete
  5. If I wasn't anxious about something, I'd be worried. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't stress over much, what will be will be, stress will just kill thee lol

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh yes, I've had my fair share of breakdowns. Great tips for overcoming them!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sometimes just getting away from it all helps.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Chrys, I am like a little stress machine, so just about everything you mentioned stresses me out as an author. I really appreciate your 15 tips, especially the ones that incorporate herbs, exercise and meditation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe in alternative medicine and natural ways to de-stress. :)

      Delete
  10. I'm been feeling kind of stressed since my release date is only 11 days away, and I know I have to get everything in order by then. Then I have another release date in June, a third sometime in the fall, plus the print version of all three books to hopefully have out this year as well. I had a lot of anxiety over asking permission for the non-public domain material quoted in the June book, but I actually got permission to quote the two George Harrison songs, for only $100 each. I kind of knew his estate/publishing company would be nice about permission and fees, but it was stressful during the process of research and asking. I'm not looking forward to asking permission for the Paul Simon song, since I've heard he's a lot more careful/stingy about granting permission.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An approaching release date can cause a lot of stress. Wow! You have a lot of books come out. I'm envious!

      Delete
  11. Things that help me de-stress; Playing with my dogs, a drive in the country, a warm shower, a nap, a glass of wine, shoe shopping with my daughter-I also find that when I'm not so stressed, my writing flows better.
    Great post, Chrys. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stress is a killer of creativity and can make writing harder.

      Playing with pets is a great one! I'll add it to my list. Thank you, Debra! :)

      Delete
  12. My biggest anxiety is not having enough reviews, and being too under-confident to seek them out. I worry that if I send my books out to reviewers, they will all think it sucks. :S

    When things get that bad. I usually just take some time away from the computer and watch a movie or take a walk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reviews cause a lot of anxiety. Not having enough, trying to get them, and then of course bad reviews.

      Delete
  13. Bad reviews. Course I read one yesterday so the pain is still fresh. My mother would say you can't please everyone. I know that. But I still want to. Thank you for a wonderful post. Felt like medicine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bad reviews are a killer! Keep your chin up, Joylene! It;s just one person's opinion.

      You're welcome. :)

      Delete
  14. You know, I actually have some 3 star reviews that are glowing, and it leaves my hubby and I scratching our heads as to why they rated the book 3 stars. Some people think 3 stars means, "It was good." No people. No. It means, "It was palpable, but I probably wouldn't come back for more." Anyhow, back to the cheese...

    Deadlines cause me the most stress. I hate them. Truly and honestly. BUT, they're a necessary evil.

    True Heroes from A to Z

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? The 3-star reviews I've received are nit-picky and nasty. I know we don't want 3-stars but I'd rather of your nice ones then my mean ones. haha

      I haven't had to worry much with deadlines, but when I have I know it causes chaos!

      Delete
  15. I always worry that my current book isn't as good or better than the one before. I want to improve with every book but I'm never sure I can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! That is what I am feeling right now with 30 Seconds that'll be coming out in a matter of months. And I'm writing the sequel to Hurricane Crimes, so I'm afraid it won't be as good as the first.

      Delete
  16. I can de-stress from writing anxiety by painting, and de-stress from painting anxiety from writing. I can de-stress from both by reading a good book or watching a good movie. Chocolate helps.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh boy! You have anxieties with both things you love to do. Reading is a great de-stresser.

      Delete
  17. I think one other thing I do to overcome writing anxieties is to talk to those who love me, who won't judge, and who will help me put things back into perspective.
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A support system is important. I'm glad you have one! :)

      Delete
  18. Those Amazon rankings are all over the place, aren't they? I have deliberately been staying away from all that. I don't want to get caught up in the "how many have I sold today?" cycle. Checking it doesn't change anything, so it's better to obsess over selling more books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I no longer pay attention to Amazon rankings. You're right that checking it doesn't change a thing.

      Delete
  19. Good tips, Chrys. CSI or Law & Order help take me away from the stress. A good book does that too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, J.L.! A show or book you can escape to always helps. :)

      Delete
  20. Fantastic post, Chrys! I experience many, if not, all of these anxieties at different phases of my writing ventures. But the one that has the ability to drive me absolutely insane the most is promoting and trying to stay connecting with everyone, especially on Twitter. Lately, I've been taking it a few steps back and getting back to what matters the most; our writing!! But I always feel bad if I can't answer all of my tweets or continuously promote for my book and blog.
    Thanks for sharing some really AWESOME tips=) Lately, I've been doing a lot of unplugging from social media and working out more because I almost forgot how much I loved to exercise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we all end up experiencing all of the writing anxieties I listed (and more) at one point or another. Many people don't realize how stressful it is to be a writer. But it is!

      You're welcome! Lately, I've been focusing my mind on things to calm my worry over all of my current struggles by taking walks, snapping pictures everywhere I go, and reading. :)

      Delete
  21. I don't really have a writing anxiety. It's more like a reading anxiety in the sense that I always tend to be unsatisfied with my own stuff when I re-read it later. To destress, I listen to black metal, or go skiing. Now, unfortunately, the winter is almost over (only one more skiing weekend left)

    Cold As Heaven

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're lucky that you don't have writing anxieties.

      I used to have the same problem with reading my own work and not being satisfied, but that was because I kept comparing my writing to other authors, like Nora Roberts. I learned not to do that. My writing is mine, and hers is hers. :)

      Delete
  22. No writing anxieties--used to suffer from such, but have settled into a view of my writing as a part of growth.
    Over from the A to Z.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great post. I step away from the computer and do something else to ease away my anxieties. Marketing causes me the most stress. I'll be querying in a month, and I'm already stressing about that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marketing indeed does cause the most stress. At least for me, too. Marketing is what caused me to not eat properly or drink enough water, which is never good.

      GOOD LUCK!!!!

      Delete
  24. Get up and dance is what I need to do! I went to a book store today and I got there at 10 am and when I looked up it was 5:20 pm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! I would actually love to spend all day in a book store. ;)

      Delete
  25. Your posts are both practical and encouraging. I felt more relaxed even just reading that list. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Colleen! Your comment made my day. :)

      Delete
  26. It definitely takes a thick skin to stick with the writing game after publication and what comes of offering your work up to the masses for sometimes harsh judgement. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. But what's funny is that I would normally say I don't have thick skin. haha

      Delete
  27. Hey Chrys, when you lay it all out like this, the writer's life is pretty darn stressful. I think No 1 would be too stressful - seriously, unplug from the net? You gotta be joshin' me! There's always the phone, I 'spose.

    Congrats on doing a stellar A-Z. I have enjoyed the posts I've read.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is pretty darn stressful! lol

      Yes, but the internet can cause a lot of stress and burnout, so unplugging can help some to recharge their batteries.

      Thank you!! :D

      Delete
  28. Ooh I think "Get up and dance" is my favorite! Great tips. I play with the kids, watch movies, spend time with my hubby, and read. They each help. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of those things are great ways to de-stress. :)

      Delete
  29. Those are fantastic tips! I use the reading, bubble bath and playing with pets ones all the time, and not just for anxiety relief, but because I love them.

    I think submitting my work and rewriting cause the most anxiety for me. Submitting my work because I've had a very bad experience that still causes me to doubt myself, and rewriting because I HATE it! I'm solving that problem a little by limiting how many times I will rewrite a novel. Gone are the days of showing it to ten different people and getting ten different opinions. It wastes so much time.

    And--hopefully this is good news--you CAN get huge sales as a self-published author. I know several people who have done it. You need great content, a strong and plentiful backlist of books, an eye-catching professional cover, tons of persistence, a little luck, and the willingness and know-how to keep marketing. But it can and will happen. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Submitting our work is always stressful. Not only the wait, but the fear of rejection and even criticism.

      Ouch. I can just imagine the kind of rewrites would go into a book after giving it to 10 different people. Right now, I do 2-3. After that I personally think it's too much.

      The backlist of books is key. I am a new author, with just one ebook out, so getting those sales is tricky now. But I know that the more I publish, the more sales I'll get. :)

      You're right though . . . it CAN and WILL happen. :)

      Delete
  30. Thanks for the very honest post. I've been through the same thing you have and it can be very depressing. Very. Depressing. But that's life. We plod onward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do plod onward. And always will. :) Thank you for your comment, Lexa!

      Delete
  31. I de-stress by going and watching episodes of Mission Impossible (the original series) - they always win and make everything right. If you watch too many you end up thinking that all the world's problems can be solved by five people with face masks and over active imaginations, but it works for me :).

    My biggest stresser is low sales - I hate having a bad month. I don't like bad reviews, but I can compartmentalise them because, as you say, they are only an opinion. They are sometimes annoying, especially when the review simply complains the book wasn't long enough when it clearly says it's a short story in the description :).
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! I just got a 2-star review and the first sentence said "I didn't know this was a short story." That aggravated me because everywhere I promoted my ebook I made it clear it was a short story. There's a statement declaring it's a short story before the blurb! But what can I do? People will be . . . people. haha ;)

      Delete
  32. Editing content that is not my own that has to go live soon causes me the most stress, Chrys. Not until I see a mistake when it has gone live do the stress levels rise. :-)

    Thanks for the tips. I saw your A for the A to Z. You have clearly comprehensively covered anything a writer needs to know about all aspects of both the craft and marketing it.

    http://ragtaggiggagon.blogspot.ie/2014/04/z-is-for-zoo.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would cause me stress too!

      You're welcome. And I like to hear that because that was my goal. :D

      Delete
  33. I watch birds fly or snowflakes fall Good post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both of those are very relaxing. :)

      Delete

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