Do you worry about how much you should worry about writing?

Alfred E. Neuman stopped worrying and became happy.

It almost doesn’t matter whether you believe worrying about writing is helpful or not. Bobby McFerrin likes to sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” but if you’re worried, you’re worried, and it might not be so helpful to have Bobby tell you not to worry, because then you’ll also have to worry about disappointing him.

If you are not concerned at all about getting going with your writing, your motivation level will be too low for anything to happen. If your anxiety level skyrockets off the charts, it will be hard to sit still and concentrate well enough to write.

You may believe that if you are not writing, it is a good thing to worry because at least then you aren’t enjoying that unproductive free time, which of course would be bad. Or perhaps you experience worry as a subtle aspect of working, because at least you are thinking about writing.

Fear is an emotion we possess by virtue of being a mammal, and it’s there to increase our survival odds, not our daily word count. It’s encoded in the DNA and no one escapes it, especially writers. Our genetics and our life experiences both help calibrate the intensity of our propensity to worry, which is a muted, nagging derivative of fear. Mostly, worrying is a habit we develop during our formative years on this planet. No matter what level of worry you tend to experience, the question is, “Can you manage it well enough to write?” Too much or too little concern will stop the word train.

To further confound things, worry levels fluctuate. There are times when you get very worried and this lights a fire under you to do the writing you want, or have, to do. There are other times when worry overwhelms you and paralyzes your writing muscles completely. Sometimes you could care less. An unbiased observer might think a procrastinator is not worried enough, when actually a seething caldron of worry is roiling beneath his or her phlegmatic exterior.

If you worry about how much you worry… don’t worry; this is common. It’s probably wrong of me to mention this but, you can also worry about how much you worry about how much you worry about your worrying. That is a truly worrisome worry.

Write. Be happy.

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About David Arnot Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, Mental health and writing blocks, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Do you worry about how much you should worry about writing?

  1. Fakewomen says:

    I’m worried that I could never writ any thing as good as that post
    Right on!
    Write on.

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