What is writing anxiety disorder?

This blog answers: What is writing anxiety disorder? What causes writing anxiety? What are some tips to deal with writing anxiety? What are the therapy options for writing anxiety?

What is writing anxiety disorder?

Writing anxiety refers to feelings of apprehension related to writing. It can also be referred to as writer’s block. It is believed that writing anxiety is very situational for instance some people might experience anxiety while writing about gender equality and feel completely normal while writing about equality and equity.

What causes writing anxiety?

Some factors that contribute to writing anxiety are:

  • Trying to adjust to a new form of writing such as academic papers, research papers, or dissertations.
  • Writing for critical reviewers
  • Remembering past negative criticisms that people received on their piece
  • Working under the pressure of time
  • Working on assignments that are unrelated to their field of knowledge
  • When other environmental factors are causing stress.
  • Consider the other physical challenges

What are some tips to deal with writing anxiety?

Some tips to deal with writing anxiety are:

Identify your strengths

Writers who experience anxiety while writing usually hold negative opinions about their skills. In such situations, individuals must actively try and acknowledge their strengths by either writing them down and reflecting upon them or looking back at their achievements and awarded work.

Try new ways

Writers usually go through stages of the writing process. This process may be different for different writers including a shuffle of brainstorming, reading, getting feedback, editing, revising, and drafting. Writers must understand what works best for them and which order makes them feel calmer and in control as this order can be adjusted based on an individual’s need and comfort.

Celebrate your achievements

Writers who experience writing anxiety must keep a record of their awards and positive experiences in the past. At times when they feel stressed and anxious, they can always look back at these successful work which helps them gain back confidence and make them feel more productive and ready for challenges.

Consider the other physical challenges

To deal with writing anxiety an individual must first pay attention to other physical challenges such as proper diet, and sufficient sleep. These are a few biological needs that are very crucial for an individual to function normally overall.

Maintaining one’s physical needs can help them to calm down their anxieties about writing and also help them perform optimally as a whole.

Practice mindfulness or meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are considered beneficial for releasing individuals’ emotional blockage and reducing their anxiety. Though many individuals find meditating hard and frightening due to negative experiences in the past they must understand that meditation and mindfulness help them to calm down and observe their feelings and emotions such that they can regulate them positively.

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help individuals release their stress and reduce their anxiety about writing.

Avoid evaluating

Many individuals experience anxiety about writing due to the fear of being evaluated or judged by others or critical self-evaluation due to underlying reasons. Individuals must consciously try and avoid evaluating their writing and filter out the negative comments given by others on their writing.

Breaking off the habit of evaluating and thinking about its consequences in terms of rejection and judgment plays a very important role in getting rid of writing anxiety.

Exercise enough

It is believed that exercise helps individual lower the levels of adrenaline that increases the heart rate and give an experience of anxiousness to an individual. Exercise also helps to release happy hormones known as endorphins which make an individual feel more relaxed and happier.

Thus, exercising to some extent can help individuals get rid of their writing anxiety temporarily. Exercise does not require heavy weightlifting or straining exercise rather a simple 20 minutes’ walk might help individuals experience a positive effect.

Acknowledge the fact that everyone encounters problems while writing

People might feel more anxious about their writing when they feel that they are the only ones who experience anxiousness while doing so. Individuals need to understand that experiencing writing anxiety is very common and natural amongst many people for various reasons. Some might experience anxiety about writing due to their prior negative experiences while many might experience anxiousness due to their first attempts.

When people acknowledge the fact that they are not alone in this situation they might feel more relatable and less anxious.

Follow writing rituals

Writing rituals refers to things like writing at a particular time of the day, a particular place, or about a particular thing. Such writing-related rituals can help an individual to lower the levels of stress that they experience when they sit down to write.

Many individuals who do not follow writing rituals experience anxiousness due to a change in routine I’m restoring it requires them to fall back into one.

Talk it out

Another way individuals can deal with their writing anxiety is by talking to a professional or family and friends. This way individuals can address their emotions and might find a way to manage them from the various perspectives provided by such social support groups or professional help.

 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 that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Experiencing anxiety about writing might be common among many individuals. As writing is one of the simplest and most common means of sharing one’s knowledge with the world there is a lot of pressure that individuals might put upon themselves to perform their best.

Individuals must actively try various strategies to deal with their writing anxiety and also consider seeking help in writing is a passion as well as a necessity.

Frequently asked questions: What is writing anxiety disorder?

Why does writing give me anxiety?

Many individuals might experience anxiety while writing due to factors such as negative experiences in the past or a lack of experience which might hamper their future prospects. Another reason for people to experience anxiety while writing is their procrastination which leads to stress.

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.

What is it called when a writer can’t write?

When writers are unable to continue with their writing it is referred to as a condition termed writer’s block. In this, the writer is unable to come up with new information or experience a slowdown of creativity.


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7 ways to deal with writing anxiety disorder