How to deal with anxiety about writing an essay?


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Page last updated: 11/05/2022

How to deal with anxiety about writing an essay?

This blog answers: How to deal with anxiety about writing an essay? What is it that makes people anxious when they write an essay? What are the therapy options for writing anxiety?

How to deal with anxiety about writing an essay?

Some ways in which one can deal with anxiety about writing an essay are:

Read your instructions carefully:

People often become anxious while writing essays because they haven’t thoroughly and carefully read and understood the instructions of the essay. 

Calm down, take deep breaths, and carefully go through the list of instructions. Highlight the key terms and discuss your questions, if any, with your teacher.


People often miss or ignore the brainstorming step of writing, which is extremely crucial. Just put your ideas on a piece of paper, irrespective of the sequence in which they appear in your mind. 

Just write your ideas down, organize them, form an outline out of your ideas and prepare a rough draft. Then use the rough draft to do your research and finally start writing your essay in detail.

Make a plan:

Sometimes people are clueless about what to write and how to write it simply because they have not formulated a plan. In the absence of a plan, they become anxious because they have no idea how to proceed. 

Therefore, planning what to write and brainstorming your thoughts before writing is extremely helpful while dealing with anxiety about writing an essay. 

Ask for assistance:

People with anxiety often feel helpless. They become extremely worried that no one will help them, which worsens their condition. 

Therefore, one way to manage anxiety about writing an essay is to understand that help may be available and seek it. People with anxiety about writing essays can seek help from their teachers, friends, family, or anyone else for that matter. 

By asking for help, they can get an idea about how to proceed with their writing and eventually be successful in writing an essay.


One of the reasons people with writing anxiety have a hard time writing essays is that they think they are not good enough. They underestimate their competence and thereby fall into the pit of inferiority complex. 

In order to deal with this, one needs just needs to practice writing essays. 

Some steps to follow while practicing are:

  • Do not worry about what and how to write. Just choose a topic and start writing.
  •  Do not worry about the word count or the correctness of what you write.
  •  Write regularly.
  •  Review it yourself, at least once, after writing it.
  • Review it by an expert, such as a teacher or someone good at writing.
  • Highlight the changes and suggestions provided by the experts.
  • Make a list of the improvements that you think you need.
  • Incorporate the required changes into your future writings as much as you can.
  • Stick to a particular routine, such as writing a certain number of words at a particular time daily, as much as practically possible.

We get anxious about many things in our lives. One of the common manifestations of anxiety could be seen when people are asked to write something. 

People with writing anxiety find it extremely difficult to write, for instance, writing an essay for a school or college assignment.

How to deal with anxiety about writing an essay?

What is it that makes people anxious when they write an essay?

Many causes can trigger writing anxiety when people, particularly students, are asked to write an essay. 

Following are some of the salient causes:

  • Fear of evaluation makes people anxious. Students worry that they will score bad grades, and that worsens their condition.
  • Sometimes people find it hard to follow deadlines because they are procrastinating. They also worry that they might not complete their writing within the due time, which elevates their writing anxiety even further and declines their performance substantially.
  •  A simple inability to understand what is required to write, that is, to understand the instructions, may trigger extreme levels of writing anxiety.
  •  Information overload can push people into a state of conflict where they can’t decide what information to use while writing their essays. This triggers anxiety because they think they can’t understand everything about the essay and feel that they are incompetent.

What are the therapy options for writing anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


It is very important to deal with writing anxiety. The good news is that one can easily deal with writing anxiety, whether that’s about writing an essay or any other genre of writing, by simply practicing, brainstorming, making a plan, and understanding instructions properly.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to deal with anxiety about writing an essay?

Is writing anxiety real?

Writing anxiety is as real as any other type of anxiety and can trigger the same biological and physiological responses. There are many peer-reviewed pieces of research available on the topic.

What are some negative consequences of writing anxiety?

Writing anxiety can have serious consequences. It can affect not only our health but also our academic performance. Apart from that, writing increases our problem-solving skills because it enables us to think properly and formulate arguments. Being unable to write can therefore affect our problem-solving abilities.

What are some physical symptoms of writing anxiety?

People with writing anxiety may feel dizzy and light-headed. When confronted with writing, their palms start to sweat. The anxiety can also elevate their heart rate and even lead to panic attacks.

Can anxiety cause writing problems?

Anxiety is a natural stress response and leads to symptoms such as nervousness, trembling, increased heart rate, and difficulty concentrating. All these symptoms might make it difficult for individuals to write.

What does anxiety feel like in writing?

People with writing anxiety experience perspiration, trembling, shortness of breath, pacing, and other related symptoms.


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