Crushing Writer’s Anxiety

I am a laid back person and very few things can get me to snap.

However, writing can be one of those things.

When I started thinking about writing for money and potentially making a living off of it, I legitimately thought that it would be the most relaxing, stress-free lifestyle anyone could hope for. Sitting on Chicago’s North Beach, typing away at my computer, while checks roll in and all my friends envy me as an intellectual, was my idea of being a writer.

I’ll be frank: I thought writers were taking the easy way out, and I planned to get in on that.

Well guess what? I was wrong. Writing is one of the most stressful things someone can choose to do with their life. Writing tears at a person through a furry of punches known as reality.

Writing is a stressful job, if not the most stressful, due to the roller coaster income, length of time it takes to actually write and edit, and most frustrating, the expectancy to handle a wide array of skills we are unfamiliar with. Whether you have a degree in writing, have taken a class or have no training at all, the majority of lessons we learn about writing pertain to the actual writing itself: plot, story arc, character development, prose, genre specific writing and a little bit of how to get published.

Now here is a watered-down list of all the tasks and skills actually required of a writer:

  • Building a platform (the most general term in the book)
  • Social media marketing (not just that you should be on Facebook, Twitter and the numerous other sites, but how to interact with followers)
  • Building and designing a website
  • Getting people to actually see that website
  • Frequently posting on a blog
  • Handling an email list and thinking of content to provide your readers
  • Going to conferences
  • Finding an agent
  • Finding publishers
  • Deciding whether or not to put your book on the back-burner in order to write for short-term paychecks
  • Holding a full-time or part-time job to pay for your craft
  • Staying healthy while sitting in a chair all day
  • Wondering what family and friends think about your writing


What I’m trying to say is that writing is one of the rare professions that asks us to not only be writers, but every profession in the world. It will be stressful, but in order to break through and become happy with your writing, you must reconstruct your thinking towards these tasks.

Anxiety comes with the territory. In fact, asking for a writer’s life without stress and complications is almost unartistic. The best part of the stories we love so dear is when conflict arises. When the main character is forced to cope with an obstacle, and figure out a way to become stronger by fighting through that obstacle.

The onslaught of foreign tasks that come with being a writer are simply a part of your own story, and as artists we are the select few that are charged with navigating these uncharted waters and communicating to others the excitement that life has to provide.

An artist is an explorer.

Typing away on a computer or jotting in a notebook isn’t a writer’s job. A writer’s job is triumphing over barriers to show other people a view of the world that was once concealed.

Below area a few ways to crush you writer’s anxiety and stop fighting the craft you love. I don’t want to sit here and spew out a bunch of “easier said than done” points, because those never helped me and they probably won’t help you. (ie. ambiguous “build a platform” advice) Let me know if I missed anything:

  • Always put your “big picture” project before short-term gigs – Paychecks come and go. I know everyone has to pay the bills, but to paraphrase Neil Gaiman: “I imagined that where I wanted to be was a distant mountain and where I wanted to be was a published author of books. As long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be alright. I declined proper jobs that paid proper money since they drew me away from the mountain.”
  • Blogging – Start with a blog and spend an hour every other day posting (or set your own time limit). Make sure this is written in your schedule every day you plan on writing and never go over or under your limit. If you go over, finish it up tomorrow.
  • Don’t build a platform, build relationships – Writers aren’t business people, so why are we told to build a platform as if we are creating a brand and everyone who reads our work is a numbered customer? Writers should become friends with their readers, business people can stick to placing people into demographics. Follow blogs that relate to yours, like posts and comment on content that touches you personally. One thing I learned about the writing community is that everyone is unusually friendly and most writers are excited to return a favor.
  • Leave SEO and Linkbuilding for later – Search engine optimization and building back links to your blog is important for getting your site to show up in search engines, but nothing is more powerful than people talking about your site, commenting and sharing. Besides many blogging platforms such as WordPress have SEO built-in. Work on your writing and interacting with other people. Free up your time and decrease stress by focusing on relationships instead of how many back links your site has.
  • Be social with social media – Don’t sell yourself on social media. Spend a maximum of 20 minutes a day interacting with contacts, and have fun with it. For some reason whenever people start to promote themselves on Facebook or Twitter, they stray from the friendly tone they had on their personal pages and turn into a clichΓ© sounding sales person.
  • Work out – I’m far from the workout regiment I was on during college, but moderate exercise is important for dampening stress, finding inspiration and of course living longer. Take a look at my post Ditch The Desk – A Guide To Healthy Writing, because sitting all day is never acceptable.
  • Wake up early – Most writers have a part-time or full-time day job that helps pay the bills, or maybe a full school schedule. I despised my last job and whenever I came home I never had the energy or self-confidence to write a single word. Try waking up an hour before your job or classes to write. This way, instead of dreading the day that lies ahead, you are waking up to something you love. I tried this during my last job and it begins to feel like your job is just extra work you do after your true passion. Make writing your reason for waking up in the morning.
  • Spend time with friends and family – Similar to working out, this allows you to find inspiration and forget about all the work you haven’t completed. I often find that even during dreadful encounters with friends or family I am able to write more clearly afterwards.
  • Organize everything – I put this last because I think your social and work life should all be written down. We’re writers after all! My entire social life is documented on my Google Calendar. Yes even lunch and dinner, every single day. This allows me to know exactly what is coming up next. (it also makes me smile whenever “dinner” pops up as a reminder). As for your writing progress, document all your current projects in some form. I use an Excel spreadsheet that I designed, which can be found here. (A quick help video can be found here for those less experienced with Excel) This lays out your work for you to clearly view it. The tasks of posting on your blog, writing your novel, handling freelance gigs and marketing yourself is far less daunting with a simple list of progress made on each. Not to mention it’s a great feeling when you get to check them off.

Hopefully these tips help some of you other writers minimize stress as they have done for me. (A ball to throw off the wall and my Wheaton Terrier always help me as well.)

Just remember, writers are charged with the difficult task of managing multiple skills, not just writing. If we can conquer all the barriers that come along, by reinventing the way we think about them and turning them into fun challenges, our stories will be that much more exciting to tell.

See ya next time…

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About Joe Warnimont

I am a writer, marketing expert and adventure seeker. I help people write, market their writing, live truthfully and embrace their lives through creativity. You can find me riding my bike around the streets of Chicago. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.


  1. This post was so spot on. Thank you for writing it.

  2. yes…writing can be stressful…words don’t come easily to me, I used to write & rewrite posts over and over till I felt it was just the way I wanted it…words are now flowing readily…I don’t take forever to write something anymore…

  3. You’re so right about sitting in a chair all day. I’ve recently started exercising every day, even if it’s just a walk to the mail box (about a mile round trip) and I feel so much more energized to write.

    That and getting up earlier. I’ve never been a morning person but I’ve started getting up just a bit earlier and when I get used to it, I get up ten minutes earlier yet and then ten minutes earlier as I get used to it and so on. It works!

    Now my body wakes up without an alarm and, whether I want to or not, I’m brain’s off and running and my body must follow. It gives me that much more time to write and I’m a lot more productive because I feel more productive.

    Great post, thanks and happy writing=)

    • A mile to get the mail? Good for you. The hardest part I had was getting up early, and yes, now I can do so without an alarm as well. Thanks for the remarks Jennifer. I hope to speak again soon!

  4. Hi, thanks for the visit and following my blog.

  5. I found this very informative.

  6. First like for my blog, first follower and a great writer too. Thanks for following.

  7. I agree With Everything. I’m off back to dream land the reality deflates me.

  8. Very inspiring. Thank you!

  9. Teryn O'Brien says:

    Thanks for the follow! This is a great site. I’m an aspiring fiction/nonfiction writer, and YES, it’s so hard to do everything that needs to be done nowadays. I like the quote from Neil Gaiman about traveling toward the mountain. I feel like that right now!

  10. I really liked the line, “A writer’s job is triumphing over barriers to show other people a a view of the world that was once concealed.”

    Good article, and further reminder that I need to USE my calendar more efficiently.

  11. First of all thank you for following me, and for being my first follower! Once I work out how to follow you back I will repay the favour! I’ve just finished the second draft of my 85000 word novel and I totally agree, it’s really hard! Hahaa I used to think being a writer would be relaxing and fun. I do love it! And it can be fun but its also a lot of hard work!
    Love the blog!

  12. These sound like helpful hints for anybody in whatever it is they do.

    The more I write the more I wish I tried harder in little league baseball.

    These guys laura and mike set up a blog/online magazine here in Liverpool with a number of collaborative writers always adding their own writing to the website. They are pioneers of writing madness in the city and creating great networks and exchanges. Have a look.

  14. Some inspiring ideas…Thank You for sharing your thoughts and Thank You so much for taking the time to read my blog and clicking the like button…It truly means the world to me…That other people are actually interested in what I have to say…I have just begun to set time aside for writing…It has become a very hard thing to do with having three munchkins home all day long but I manage because it is important to me…

  15. Hi! I liked your blog a lot….we share similar philosophies regarding writing. I’m looking forward to reading more about you. Cheers!

  16. really good tips there…and like all writers I have that novel I keep putting off finishing properly, which if I spent more time on that than chatting here…I’d probably be published!! lol But I love to commune with the community…its so inspiring and helpful!! thanks again!

    • It’s funny how reading blogs can distract us but at the same time they help us interact with other writers and build a network. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. eclecticpills says:

    Thanks for the follow. Great resources for writers. Keep up the great work!

  18. Hi Joe, thank you for deciding to follow my blog The Call of the Pen. Your list of tasks and skills for a writer is a bit daunting. Add that to the stress… well, who in their right mind would want to be a writer πŸ™‚

  19. wordsavant says:

    I agree about getting exercise. Making time for a workout – even 30 minutes – makes me feel relaxed and refreshed, and it helps me get more done.

  20. Hi Joe, some really good stuff here for a new writer like myself. I agree, my romantic vision of writing was soon shattered, not that we do a lot of sitting on the beach here in Manchester. I want to write picture books and there seems to be more bureaucracy relating to kids books than there is working for government my former profession. Still, it beats the 9-5.

  21. inkspeare says:

    Hello, thank you for stopping by. This is a truthful post. There is so much to writing than hitting the keys or grabbing a pen. There is so much work, and you truly have to love it to keep on. Great post.

  22. lucewriter says:

    Writing IS a stressful job, so why doesn’t the world recognize that?

  23. lindseygendke says:

    Thanks for your thoughts! I have lately been dealing with the “build a platform” issue. Your advice about building relationships instead puts the whole platform thing in a much more friendly light for me! I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  24. Thanks for the follow! I really liked this post. The exercise bit is so true. And yeah, sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming to think of how much more there is to being a writer than just writing…

  25. sondrabrooks says:

    Great info above. I signed up for your updates.
    Thanks for following my blog. Welcome!

  26. You are my first follower since I’ve decided to come back to writing as a career. Thank you! This article is really helpful. Big ups to all fellow writers out there πŸ™‚

  27. Great post, Joe, and thanks for the follow! You make some excellent points in here, as there is a lot to writing besides just writing. πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work!

  28. eflshorts says:

    An informative post. Many thanks.

  29. A very good post for writers and for those aspiring ones like me.Thanks for the like.u made my day!you’re the first to like and it encourages me to write more.

  30. Hi,
    Thanks for liking my post and following my blog. I like a lot of the ideas you have here on your blog and will continue to visit.

  31. Great post, especially the part about getting up early and not sitting all day. And I like your ‘voice’ – now following you via RSS/Twitter. So it’s working then….

  32. I don’t write professionally, although I wouldn’t mind doing so one day, but I can still relate to this post. Very informative and it sounds like you know what you’re talking about.

  33. Thanks for the visit, Joe. Nice looking blog you’ve got her. Good luck with your writing.


  34. Building my writing career is the whole reason I started my blog! Great advice! And thanks for the follow πŸ™‚

  35. Thanks for “liking” my post about my book, Full Circle–and also thanks for becoming one of my followers. Yours blog is certainly interesting and informative and I’m sure I’ll visit again.

  36. outlawmama says:

    Hi! I am in chicago too and trying to get my feet off the ground writing. NOt sure that’s even a metaphor, but I am into writing. Great site.

  37. First, thanks for ‘like’ing my post and following my blog. I feel honoured to have you interested.
    I also signed up for your newsletter, I see a great deal of learning required on my part and you look like you can help me with that. I look forward to our future relationship. Please don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism.

  38. Your post on all the additional things one needs to do as a writer is very interesting. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the writing part and forget the rest. Thanks for the lists of other points to consider.

  39. Thanks for another enjoyable and informative post, Joe. Being new to the blogging world, I feel that I have found a writer I can learn from. Your words on “building a platform” spoke to me. I want to be that writer who’s “job is to show other people a view of the world that was once concealed.” That description of a writer’s job defined my purpose for writing – to show others a view of the world in which I have been blessed to participate. Thank you! Looking forward to more.

  40. Thank you so much for you comments on building a platform. In the process of trying to publish my most recent book, one publisher asked for my platform. I had no idea what they were talking about and started doing some research. Talk about panic! Here I was spending time on silly things like writing, structure and character development when I was supposed to be building demographics and setting business relationships.

    Thank goodness I’ve gotten away from that and gotten back to writing … still not published, but as you said, a writer should be writing.

    Thanks again for such an excellent post.

  41. Thanks for the follow on my blog. It brought me here to your valuable information. I would add one more way “to crush you writer’s anxiety and stop fighting the craft you love”. That is to pay attention. My best insights and inspirations come from the ordinary things in life, like a cactus plant that has been with me forever and the story it tells about me. (
    Paying attention allows me to jot something down, to listen to the little voice that tells me I must write this down and to engage my writing as an outlet for joy instead of anxiety. Mind you anxiety is there sometimes but paying attention provides all kinds of possibilities for storytelling!

  42. Thanks, Joe. I’m feeling overwhelmed by the busy-ness of this business. Thanks for the sanity!

  43. Great reminders – for all artists – writers and non writers alike…

  44. inkspeare says:

    Thank you for stopping by Inkspeare. Loved this post. I liked the upbeat style of your writing. Much success to you and many blessings as well.

  45. Great, generous post. The point about keeping healthy while sitting in a chair all day is important. Thanks.

  46. Thanks for the follow–I’m thrilled to find you. I just posted this on my Facebook page since it has such great advice. Looking forward to reading more!

  47. I loved your ebook and thank you for following me. I am following you as well.

  48. Great post. I had to smile at the ‘get up early’ advice. it’s brilliant advice – but currently I’m working out how to get up early enough to do my meditation (health reasons make this a good choice), eat a proper breakfast (ditto) and at some point start exercising (ditto!) before going off to work. At the moment, I find that weekends are the only realistic time for me to write. This is fine for now, as I’m writing short stories for competitions and waiting for feedback from friends on the first draft of my first novel. But once I get serious about it, who knows!

  49. prosemachine says:

    You’re a very, very good person. This is the kind of post more new and established writers should see just to be reminded that they’re not alone in their struggles.
    My favorite line:”A writer’s job is triumphing over barriers to show other people a view of the world that was once concealed.” And then comes the typing away or writing in a notebook part! Thank you for this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  50. Joe, LOL I had trouble figuring out what the Warnimont was in WritewithWarnimont, thinking your last name was code for something, but maybe it is. I’m retired so I don’t worry about the earning money part but everything else, yes.

  51. Love this post! Being an author is very much like being a verbal chemist, need to get all the perfect concoctions and build an amazing chemistry between the story and the characters. Can be exhausting but thrilling. One of the best things about writing is the research, expanding your education on information you otherwise would never have known. I am looking for the follow button for your site, I love it so much =) only problem is, I can’t find it. =x

  52. Mitchell Ryan says:

    A very inspiring read. Thanks Joe!

  53. This is great, I like to read things like this as a reminder sometimes. Thanks for the like and follow too!

  54. I’m flattered you are now following my blog! Your articles and insights are like pep-talks – at least for me. I look forward to reading your eBook πŸ™‚

  55. Paige Johnsson says:

    Thank you for following my blog! You have a lot of good insights into the world of writing. I hope to see more from your site soon. What’s the best way to subscribe?

  56. I’ve only been trying to write on a regular basis and as a “job” since last May so this helped me know I’m not alone in being overwhelmed by how many other things you have to learn and do other than “merely” write!

  57. I feel comforted by the long list of people above me who felt the same gratitude I did when reading this post. For a moment there, I thought you heard me screaming. Thank you for following my blog.

  58. awesome – thank you !!!!

  59. artfully stated–thanks for the stop by πŸ™‚

  60. Couldn’t have put this better!!! Hee hee. Seriously this is a brillian post. Says it all.

  61. Great information! Love that you considered all aspects of your life!

  62. I know writing will always be a part time thing for me, but I still think that your ideas are a great tool for all people in any profession. Wonderful tips, and best of luck.

  63. Not too bad. A readable take on the usual self-help “deal with wanting to be a ‘writer'” script. I do think you missed some valuable bullet points though, like living a worthwhile life, and how to figure out why writing makes any sense whatsoever

  64. As someone who has been going through the thirty-something crisis the last few years and decided what I really want to do is to be a writer, but the hardest thing I find to do sometimes is to write, this post really helped. People say, “You want to be a writer – just write!” That’s easier said than done, especially when you suffer from depression. But I will bear all your tips in mind, especially as I come to a time where I will soon have finished my degree and be looking at getting out into the writing world!

  65. Thanks, Joe. That was very helpful. Especially the part about keeping an eye on the mountain since the little everyday stuff can be very distracting.

  66. That’s funny… thinking writing would be relaxing. I sometimes find that writing itself produces anxiety, never mind the terrifying world of actually trying to get work published and promoted… *gulp*

    I wish I could remember who said it, but whoever it was who said that you have to be a bit of a masochist to be a writer had it dead on. It’s tough, it hurts. It’s incredibly fun and rewarding, too, but no matter what your strengths are, I think you’re going to find a weak spot when you’re doing this.

    I really need to work on the organization thing. Thanks for the great tips.

    (and for following my blog!)

  67. You totally nailed it. All I ever wanted to do is write and it has taken many years to get where I am today.

    Another point is that no one starts off able to write. It’s hard to keep going, but that’s exactly what a writer has to do. It’s only in hindsight that I realized that every time I looked back on a manuscript and hated it, I was learning something. I’d have this wonderful fantasy in my mind, but that’s not what my work showed. It hurt. I worked so hard.

    As the years went by, though, I honed my skills. I dug deeper into research, took on hands-on experience wherever I could (truck-driving, motorbike riding, flying, martial arts and weapons handling), thoroughly read up on things that are important to my story (medicine, surgery, psychology, etc.) and found better ways to express myself on paper.

    I never lost faith in myself. I believe that was the most important thing for me. Now, when I look at my work, it shows what I want it to. The characters seem to live and breathe – each one so different from the others. And when they take off in a new directions while I’m working, I let them. I let them teach me. Without fail, they lead me to better places.

    Now when I look back, I see the necessity of years of struggle. I had such a lot to learn and I could only get there by going through the pain and uncertainty, at looking at my terrible years manuscripts (and burning them) and never ever accpting that I couldn’t write. I kept going until I learned how to write successfully.

    This is a fascinating blog. Cheers. πŸ™‚

  68. Like the list of suggestions for dealing with writer anxiety. And thank you for stopping by my blog.

  69. All good sound advice. I especially liked “Work on your writing and interacting with other people. ” Right word, interacting. And thanks for the blog and follow.

  70. This was very encouraging, uplifting, and helpful.


  71. Thanks for visiting wordimagery and the encouragement!

  72. mathewharkins says:

    Thanks for the follow and great site/post here.

  73. Interesting post – thanks!

  74. Stopped by to say thanks for the like on my blog and read this. What a great post! So many things that seem like common sense, but that you have to remind yourself of all the time as a writer. Great to see them all in one place!

  75. Thanks for following Riding Bitch and the wonderful info on your site. I look forward to following you and learning more.

  76. Great article! You are right on all fronts.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

    Best regards,


  77. Hey man thanks for the awesome post this was really informative and helpful. Keep up the good work buddy!

  78. I’m always trying to explain how much work writing is to my family and friends, but I still don’t think they understand! I once read that being an author is like having homework every single night for the rest of your life. Burnout happens. It’s important to take some days off. Don’t even turn on the computer. Read a great book instead and you’ll find yourself inspired again!

  79. Hey Joe, loved the post, keep writing can’t wait to read some more, can’t find the bloggers like or follow you buttons on your page so please enlighten me!!

  80. First thank you for following my blog. Now on to what you have done.
    You hit the nail on the head so many times with this post that I think it went through the board! I am working on my third fiction novel and the research and everything you have pointed out swamps me when I sit and stare at the screen. I know what will come, the work, the frustration and the inevitable rejection from somewhere before it gets published. If I had known when I got started what you and I know today I am not sure I would have done it.
    Congratulations! You know and still you persist. That is the true spirit right there and it is you.

  81. Enjoyed your post. Some right-on comments.

    Thanks for liking my blog and becoming a follower. I’ll return the favor.

    I love having written, getting down the first draft––what I call my creative vomit. That’s the hard part, but I love the clean up. By writing my blog each week, I keep up my writing discipline between writing projects.

    I enjoy the marketing of my books. Never thought that would be the case back when I was writing my first book. In fact, the adventures with my books is the topic of my blog postings.

  82. Firstly, thank you for stumbling upon my blog and secondly, I found this article very interesting. Am now following you

  83. Extremely relevant for every writer. I found this very beneficial. Yes, the work of a writer is very challenging, and like you said we have to do so many things. I’m glad that I’m already following some of your advice and hope to put more of the other points into practice in the future.

  84. First of all, thanks a bunch for writing this article. It’s pretty much EXACTLY how things are with me every single day of my life, more or less. What I particularly honed in on was the bit about waking up early and writing in the morning before going to “the day job”, only because waking up early is something I need to improve on. I’m not sure why, but I hope that your pointing it out, and expounding on the benefits of putting something like that into practice, is enough to truly motivate me. Perhaps it’s just the way you suggest looking at it, that it’s one’s beloved passion for writing that one’s waking up to, not the dreaded work-a-day job ahead that comes afterward.

    Thanks again! πŸ˜€

  85. Thanks, Joe, for publishing such an informative blog for all of us writers. You can be certain yours will be one of the first posts I open. And until then I have a mass of archived wisdom from which to draw.

  86. Thank you for coming by my blog. I really enjoyed your post here. So much of it resonates with my own struggle with writing, a struggle I’ve had for decades. To write, in and of itself, is undervalued in our society: everything must have a monetary value. To keep writing while getting little to no $$ for it is hard. For me, the immediate payoff has to simply be that release of my thoughts onto a printed page (or blog post). The bonus will hopefully be in a check sometime down the road πŸ™‚ I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  87. Thank you for this. Part of my problem is not thinking about this as a ‘real’ job. I let everything get into the way of my writing. I think I love your advice about scheduling my days! Will work that out tonight. πŸ˜‰

    Thank you for visiting me today!

  88. Excellent article! Thanks for sharing this.

  89. Great post, Joe! I love that Neil Gaiman quote – just about the whole commencement speech he gave was quoteable! He certainly is an inspiration!

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog! And thanks for following mine! πŸ™‚

  90. Ashley Alvarado says:

    You’re brilliant! Thanks for the motivation/inspiration. I’m really interested in creating a blog/business that promotes artist health and wellness, and your posts definitely give me a lot to think about in that line! Thank you for sharing your heart and passion! -A

  91. Thanks for liking my post! I have perused through your blog and found many interesting and helpful posts. I have downloaded your Excel spreadsheet and plan to use it to organize my writing projects. Thanks for all the tips!

  92. Make writing your reason for waking up in the morning. This is number one on my to-do list.

  93. Ken Adam says:

    Thank you! So much true information about the nitty gritty details of writing. Writing is culturally portrayed as a romantic, fun job, which it can be, but the editing and promotional skills require tantamount organization.

    Thanks for giving us the facts and for following my Blog ‘Love of Light’.

  94. William Eaton says:

    Thanks for all the good advice. I would only add that writing can be a drug, with all the good and bad side effects attaching. Best, Wm.

  95. Madame Bibi Lophile says:

    Thanks for the follow. Your blog is really helpful. You now have a new follower!

  96. This is super helpful for an amateur writer like me, so thank you! I find that my hands can’t keep up with my thoughts and my thoughts struggle to align themselves so that I can cohesively convey what it is I am trying to say on paper. Sometimes even words do not suffice and I am left feeling stuck with that knot in my stomach and that writer’s block. πŸ™ It’s maddening! But even madness has it method. :p

  97. This is so incredibly helpful! I really love that spreadsheet. I’m a list-person, and I love, love, LOVE it when things are organized. I have an anxiety disorder that sometimes makes it difficult to think clearly about what needs to be done and what I need to prioritize at the moment, so having a clearly organized list or chart that I can look at rather than going over it in my head is huge. (Also, making that list or chart BEFORE the nervous breakdown hits).

    Thank you for this. I think I can learn a lot from you, as someone who would like to become a journalist but has no idea where to start.

  98. I like your site, thanks for reeading mine-I didnt find how to sign up as a follower of your site-tell me!

  99. Kevin weakley says:

    Thanks for following my blog. Your site is full of knowledge especially for first time blogger like myself.

  100. Great site, very informative! Thanks for following my blog.

  101. Hi JW,

    I checked up on you from your ‘like’ on my post. And once I arrived at your blog, I am unable to go to any other page….I guess I will finish reading all your posts today.
    I just wanted to know something, and I hope you can help me. I am a software engineer and have been thinking of moving to full time writing from quite sometime. However, I dont know where to start. Where do I need to apply? Most of the jobs on the net ask for previous experience which I donot have. So what do I do?

    • Hi Ess,

      Thanks for the comment. I am going to put together a post in order to address your question, as I don’t feel writing a short comment would do the subject justice. It’s a great question and I will let you know when I post the article…should be in a couple days. πŸ™‚

  102. You are a real community-builder, with good people skills and great writing. Writing is one of those jobs where you part of yourself in the product. Having a supportive voice during the creative process is very helpful and makes it easier to continue putting yourself out there. Thanks for your support of my efforts and so many other writers out there. It’s easy to see why such a great writing community exists on the internet — partly because of people like you!

    • Thanks Brenda,

      I love the community that writers create online. It’s been very welcoming for me, so I try to return the favor the best I can. πŸ™‚

  103. β€œA writer’s job is triumphing over barriers to show other people a a view of the world that was once concealed.”

    Makes me feel better about blogging – that it is valuable, not just a conceited space of self-focus.

    Thanks for the follow and leading me to your blog!

  104. bo lane holland says:

    I’m recommending this blog to all the students in New Directions: Writing with a Psychoanalytic Program in Washington, DC.

  105. I appreciate your blog. I have a book – Love and Loss in Life and in Treatment coming out next week. It’s being published by a professional press – I’m a psychologist and psychoanalyst – but it’s definitely written with the general public in mind – I’ve combinated memoir with my work with patients . My problem, as you said, is to create and interact with followers. I have a blog, Inside/Outside, on my website and facebook, but it’s definitely tough getting it beyond my inner circle. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  106. This…was…awesome. Really, extremely well done, I don’t know if I have EVER read an article about writing I agree with more.

  107. SonWorshiper says:

    Great advice! I’m just getting started with trying to be serious about blogging, so these were very practical tips on how to and how NOT to go about it. Well done.

  108. This is so inspiring and eyeopening! Thank you, I’ve been in kind of a slump lately, and all this social networking really bogs me down. Thanks for the very awesome reminder! πŸ˜€

  109. Great advice! I think one you might (or might not, depending on your views) have missed was *Reward Yourself* – create goals, and when you have achieved them, treat yourself. Ice cream and taking my dogs to the off-leash park are two of my favorite things, driving me to keep up so I don’t cut into my ‘treat time’. Sometimes things come up, preventing me from achieving my goals, and that’s okay. I reassess, and move forward. There’s always next week!

  110. Awesome tips. I am bookmarking this post to refer back to often. Great blog. Thank you for following and liking my blog. Please check back often. I will be visiting here again and again. Bliss and Blessings!

  111. summerfitzgerald says:

    Sage advice, Joe. I had visions at one point of you bouncing your terrier off the wall, she says facetiously; my 30kg ball-obsessed labrador wouldn’t rebound that well (though if I swap him for a Springer Spaniel, it might work ;-). I’m in ‘that’ place where I’m giving up the day job, as I fell out of love with it a long time ago and can do it with my eyes closed. I found myself nodding in agreement at the screen and this procrastinator intends to put some of your tips into action. The exercise ‘thing’ for me echoed advice imparted by James Webb Young in his classic ‘A Technique for Producing Ideas’ and the left hemisphere/right hemisphere thinking out there (Daniel Pink and the likes). The other ‘stuff’ about planning and organising reminded me of Brian Mayne’s GoalMapping book and aspects of NLP. Best stop waffling and start doing! Great post, thanks.

  112. Thanks for visiting and deciding to follow my blog. πŸ™‚ I enjoyed this post. The information you provided gives balance to some of the issues writers need to navigate.

  113. Great and helpful overview! I am NOT A morning person, but I started getting up early to write and I LOVE it. Makes mornings so much better.

  114. Thanks for following my blog. I am now following this – what a great resource and I really liked this article. You’re crushing it!

  115. Ryan Urie says:

    Great posts! It’s funny how many people look at me like I’m an idiot when I tell them I’m a freelance writer, not realizing just how much goes into it and how much you have to know. I bet they’d be more impressed if I just took one of the things I do and called that my job title instead: “I’m a marketer,” “I’m a web designer,” “I’m a social media developer,” “I’m a creative consultant,” etc… Maybe we freelancers just need a new title…

    • Think Ryan has an excellent idea. E.g, recent conversation with a young dentist… “So do you relax at home all day?” (She was’t being rude, just didn’t know what a writer does.) My reply was that I sat at my computer most of the days I am home. Puzzled look, gentle smile, and subject change. So I think Ryan has an excellent idea. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Susan

  116. Really great post. I have recently been feeling the anxiety of “building my platform” and “advertising on social media” and so forth. I want to devote most of my writing time to actually writing the stories that are important to me. Since I’m about to be a mother, time will become very precious very soon! What you say makes sense about building relationships based on shared interests: I want to be myself with blogging, and not build some artificial “brand version” of myself. I think most readers appreciate authenticity over hype.

    Let’s all keep marching towards the mountain and ignoring the side trails that lead to creative stagnation. Oh, and playing with our terriers. I’ve got two Scotties. πŸ™‚

  117. This is a great post. It’s easy for writers – and non-writers – to think about writing as a bit of a fluffy profession, when actually it involves a lot of dedication and hard work. I love Neil Gaiman’s quote about the mountain. That’s inspiring. But it’s still scary for me to think of not working a regular job and believing in myself enough to pursue writing as a career!

    And thanks for following my blog πŸ™‚

  118. Excellent article… Organisation at the moment is a challenge as my husband and I have almost daily hospital appointments. That is my reading time though. Sure makes those long waits bearable.

  119. Thank you for this article, it made me look things at a different perspective. I don’t really leave comments, since I’m not that confident with my grammar (I’m a filipino, by the way) If you haven’t followed mine, it would probably take weeks before I could stumble upon this since I rarely do blog surfing.

    I must agree that writing is definitely stressful, especially at times when you try to squeeze creative juices out of your mind (it happens to me when I’m writing descriptions). It is stressful when you think of deadlines (which is not a problem for me–yet). It is stressful when you compare your work with others.

    I also agree with you that a writer should find time to spend with family and friends. I get my inspiration from them, they add plausibility to the story, they listen to endless blabbing and they can check errors too.

    Just to add one of my ways to crush the anxiety: Read other stories, books, novels. Do other hobbies. I’m not sure why, but it helps me calm down. It takes my mind off writing and when I get back, my mind is ready for a fresh start.

  120. WordPress linked to this post when it sent me the news about your following my blog (for which I thank you sincerely). Wow, you sound so… so… NORMAL! Thanks for your calm, non-technical, sensible, real-people advice.
    I am very happy to follow you, and look forward to more friendly chats.

  121. Belinda (wordjotter) says:

    Hi, thank you for the follow. Your tips for writing are heartfelt. I have had my head stuck in books about publishing, the dos and donts and how easy it is for some and not easy at all for others. What a tough world I’ve fallen into the clutches of… look forward to reading more of your work.

  122. Great post. I often find that when I get up early to write before a full 8 hours of hellish corporate depravity, I do not write well. My strategy is to instead write at night. Sometimes I go over, of course, and end up falling into bed by 11 or midnight, but I think it’s well worth it. This gives me something to look forward to throughout the work day. I suppose some people are morning writers, and others are nighttime writers. It depends on what you know you can do and when you know you can best accomplish it.

    • I agree Tara. I used to only write at night. That has changed a little bit to fit more writing into my schedule (I now write in the morning and at night) However, I still think my best work is done at night.

  123. Sound advice, and I admire you for following your passion. I’ve been a writer for many years now. I’ve always wanted to be a professional writer since I was about 6 years old. However, out of all the skills I have (and I have a few) it’s probably the only one, ironically, that I will share for free now. And that’s exactly what I do with my WordPress sites. Thank you for following and appreciating what I do @’Diary of a Person Being Human’ πŸ™‚

  124. hey! Thanks for liking my blog and I like yours a lot. I know what it means to be anxious about your writing. It wasn’t until after I switched to long hand I was able to get an actual plot going. Really good article.

    • Thanks Kara! Long hand is a great way to get the ideas flowing. I typically write all my fiction like that and then stick to my computer for blog posts.

  125. Hi Joe,

    Thank you for checking my new blog,
    i am a beginner, so your advices are usefull.

  126. Thank you for visiting my page.
    Being relatively new to Blogging still, some of your comments hit home w me and others…I do not have a clue.
    The push to have something on Friday morning can be hair pulling but I am getting better at keeping an inventory of “prepared” articles.
    And I like the SEO part about add the tags later.
    I have a buddy who had his secretary go back (over a year’s worth) and tag the Blogs better and it made a difference.
    She was also an English major who knew what she was doing!
    While I have read only one of your posts (will read more) you may want to look up my buddy Stan R. Mitchell, he runs/edits a local paper and after a few attempts, got published and is making a go of the whole writing for money thing.
    You guys got GUTS! to do that, me, I will keep selling insurance.

  127. Excellent blog. You have laid out clearly what a writer is up against and the tips are wonderful. Wish I had read this blog before I attempted becoming a writer. It would have helped immensely. Re-posted to Facebook. A Writer’s Digest-worthy-article. Thank you.

  128. Joe, I have to say you have an impressive site and show that you can back up your words. The look of the site makes the reader want to engage with it even before reading the articles.

    Thanks for the follow,


  129. Instant fan! Love the Neil Gaiman quote. I am very grateful that you found me, actually. It helped me to find you, which has led me to a wealth of information on exactly what I’m trying to do. A few steps closer to the mountain. πŸ™‚

  130. I hadn’t thought about all the fact that we have to encompass every profession in the world. You really nailed the writing life with this post! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who puts the big projects on the back burner (and keeps keeping them barely simmering back there) while I try to earn a few petty bucks.

  131. Wow! That Neil Gaiman quote was really what I needed. Thanks.
    I have been struggling with all the must-dos of getting things together in order to publish and advertise a book of poetry, and a couple of novels (half written, still).
    This has been helpful in putting everything back into perspective. I need to get back to why I started writing in the first place, and stop stressing about the ‘work’ around it. It still needs done, but should be secondary in my mind.
    Thanks, again!

    • Hi Rose,

      I’m glad this gave you some motivation. That Neil Gaiman quote pretty much sums it up! πŸ™‚ I hope you find a way to getting your poetry book published.

  132. Thank you for this post! I have had a difficult time posting on my blog as regularly as I should, due largely to anxiety. What if no one ever reads my fiction? What if I fail? What if I never complete a novel, or end up working a job that never leaves time for me to write, or end up feeling so scared of writing, and failing, that I simply never discipline myself?

    So thanks for your simple, straightforward, and encouraging style. It is appreciated by those (attempting) this profession!


    The Pizza Shop Philosopher