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How To Get Rid Of Creative Anxiety

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For someone who would describe themselves as a 'creative', sometimes I find it really difficult to just...create. The perfectionist in me, perhaps, stunts my ability to put pen to paper and my anxiety tells me that I can't put anything on the page unless it's good to go there and then. This creative anxiety is most prevalent during the writing process, for me, and I know that it is something that also plagues many other writers. For some writers, the anxious adrenaline helps to drive their projects but, for others, such as myself, it can stunt them. 

I'm here today with a few ways, tried and tested by me, in which you can get rid of creative anxiety during the writing process. These methods are quite specific and not going to be relevant to everyone, granted, but I can only speak from my own experience. Share your tips in the comments below, particularly if you're a creative of a different discipline! 

keep a designated 'messy' notebook
As a child, I found it really difficult to have mess around my 'good' work. If I made a mistake in pen, I would start the page in my textbook again. Now that I'm older, I find it useful to have a designated 'messy' notebook in which I allow myself to make mess and write as many horrible bits of horrible poetry as possible. No one needs to see its contents and it gives me the chance to play around.


I have a real habit of editing before I've even really put pen to paper. Whilst being a sufficient editor is a pretty good skill to have, I find that it really affects my writing process. I have taken to giving myself different days to wear different hats. For example, some days I will pop my writer hat on and do just that. Other days I'll switch it up and put my editor hat on or my researcher hat on. By allocating myself different roles on different days, I minimise the temptation to edit before I have written. 


If you find that you feel quite pressured by other people's response during the creative process, keep your work to yourself to begin with. Don't tell anyone about it. Don't think of this or that person reading it or viewing it for the first time. Let the piece be yours for the time in which it needs you. By doing this, you should allow yourself to create something that is free of anxieties about what other people think. Not everyone will worry about this but for some it is a big hurdle.


Your 'shitty first draft' may not be your magnum opus but by giving yourself the chance to create a vision of something you're allowing yourself the chance to properly reflect on how to take your piece further. The 'shitty first draft' may be abysmal, unshareable perhaps, but it will more than likely birth ideas and images that you can work with and transform.


The most important thing to remember is that creativity, much like everything else in life, usually involves a process that you follow from A to B, from designing or creating a concept, to signing off on a project or sending your goods onto others. The writing process, in this instance, may be grueling at times, confusing at others, but it is totally necessary. Allow yourself to accept and enjoy the process from start to finish and you'll be all the better for it. You have to write a bunch of words that won't see the light of day outside of your messy notebook in order to get to the 'shitty first draft' and beyond. 

I would be really interested in your thoughts on the matter. Do you have to allow yourself to experience the creative process? Does perfectionism prevent or fuel your creative projects? How do you, personally, get rid of creative anxiety? May you all now go on to write your magnum opus and get rid of your creative anxiety! 

If you'd like to scroll through all of my advice posts then you can do so.



  1. I can relate to this so much! I love how you refer to it as "creative anxiety." I think that sometimes when I experience this, I misinterpret it as writer's block, when in reality, I have plenty of ideas of what to write about, I just struggle to execute them.

    I'm the same as you when it comes to your first point – if I make a mistake in pen, I usually will tear the page out and start all over. Writing on both sides of the paper would be a nightmare, because if I messed up on the second side, I'd be debating, "Okay do I rewrite ALL of this?! Or leave it looking ugly with the scribbled out mistake." Having a designated messy notebook definitely helps!

    I am also a big advocate for shitty first drafts. When I'm writing, I ALWAYS start by just vomiting out all of my thoughts, getting them on the page. Lots of run-on sentences that don't smoothly connect, but it lets the ideas flow more naturally. Then I'll edit it all together later.

    Great tips!! :)

    Nicole | explosive bagel

  2. You've managed to capture in your introduction what I (didn't quite) manage in about 4 rambling posts. I relate so so so hard! I also get like 'hitting send' fear. I Struggle to publish anything because I'm scared there's a spelling mistake I haven't noticed or I think I might not like it In a month or so. I'm a nightmare!

    So glad I found your blog, I apologise for major stalking ❤️
    Grace /

  3. Oh god, I'm totally the same. My dissertation tutor used to tell me off for editing while writing, as it really stunts your creativity! I constantly have to remind myself that it's ok to have a shitty first draft - it doesn't have to be perfect straight away.

    I also found that this Buzzfeed piece hit the nail on the head and was also hilarious as I related to it so much!

  4. I really like your advice to wear different hats every day! My introductory paragraphs are always good (edited over and over), but I have a hard time getting to the end. So beating my editor instincts back into the cage for the first couple of writing sessions is an excellent suggestion. Thanks!


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