Writing Anxiety

It’s funny how much about myself I keep learning, even though this is stuff I’ve done for a long, long, long time. I have always enjoyed writing since I was a kid. But sharing what I wrote is another story. Over time I’ve gotten more comfortable submitting my fiction stories. Yes, rejections suck, but unlike the horror stories I have seen online, I don’t remember ever getting a ‘mean’ rejection. I’ve gotten feedback that hurt, but it was still delivered kindly, and when the sting wore off, I could see it wasn’t wrong. It was helpful.

Just a little bit ago I wrote about my day job and how I maneuvered into getting to do some writing as part of my job. I recently turned in a couple blog posts, and the amount of anxiety I had about them caught me off-guard. I started to see how much I avoided working on them. How I actually had them done, but kept fiddling, afraid to turn them in. Why? That’s what I’ve been grappling with ever since. I write a monthly newsletter for work and I don’t feel this way about that, but that’s just for my co-workers, and is mainly for fun and teambuilding and such. It isn’t that my supervisor is tough to please, she has loved everything I’ve given her. She is kind and supportive. So what is it?

Years ago when my kids were small I a hoped to earn extra money from home, I tried some online writing gigs. I wrote for a pet insurance website for a little while and had similar problems. It paid well. They always loved what I turned in, but I eventually stopped doing it because of how awful I made myself feel. I don’t want the same to happen to me now. I want to keep this extra gig I have going. So I need to figure myself out.

The best I have come up with so far that makes this type of writing different from my fiction or my newsletter, or even this blog, is that I consider it more serious. I’m writing about pet health. That’s important to me, and hopefully, to the people I’m writing for. I do find myself wondering as I write these things, “What if Someone misunderstands what I’m saying? What if I’m giving advice for X, but their pet has Y, and they don’t seek treatment properly?” and similar issues. There is a weight of responsibility that I take on that might not be fully appropriate. Sure, there are good things to consider, but not enough to let them stop me writing altogether.

For that matter, I give advice all day to clients when I’m working, or explain how to follow the doctors treatment plan, or home care instructions. I don’t bat an eye at these important talks. But then I know the specific patient, and their specific needs. An article is more general. It can’t take in all situations of all pets. Yet I feel like I have to.

There might be more to it than this, but this is where I am after some reflection so far. I think knowing my stumbling blocks will hopefully help my anxiety. Instead, of stalling or avoiding the writing, I can decide to review what I have written to make sure it’s clear, and I’ve mentioned important exceptions to look out for. That sort of thing. Deal with the items that are worrying me. It can only help the finished piece.

Other writers, do you ever find yourself anxious about your writing? And what have you done to work it though?


Mammoth Sunflowers are pretty big actually

I’m excited to see the flowers these beauties produce, but instead they just keep getting taller and taller. For reference, that fence is about 5′ 9 or 10″ tall. So I put the biggest sunflower at about 8′ right now. I just decided to look up how big they get (maybe should have done that before planting, but let’s be honest, I would have planted them anyway). They average 9 to 10′.

Considering how chewed up they got when they were but wee little sprouts, I think they have come a long, impressive way. You can see in the photo how bad those early, lower leaves are almost completely eaten. When I inspected the leaves, however, I never could see any pests. Several times I’ve startled away some small grey and yellow birds from the sunflowers, and since they showed up the leaves have been getting less and less holes. I assume the birds are eating whatever had been eating the leaves. I haven’t been able to identify the type of bird because they take off so fast, but if they also eat seeds, they are welcome to share the sunflower seeds for all their help.

One of the fun things the kids and I have been watching with these is the way they ‘turn’ to follow the sun, even though they don’t have flowers yet. The top of the plants still tilt toward the sun as it moves throughout the day.