All Those Writerly Feels!

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All Those Writerly Feels!

How to cope with all the emotions authors face every single day.

“So, what exactly does an author coach do?”

I hear this question often.

Really great author coaches don’t just teach writers how to write books. They also help authors deal with things that go beyond writing skills and publishing how-to, such as brainstorming ideas, nurturing their creativity, and supporting their “process.”

Now, I do all these things in my coaching sessions, but I take it even one step further. I also help my clients deal with the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that all authors struggle with at some point on their writing journey.

I’m not talking about all the underlying mental conditions that may be present, and in fact, tend to be more common in creative types, such as ADD, Depression, Anxiety, OCD. These are additional emotional “feels” we have to also deal with that, when looked at as a whole, can almost be described as exclusive to authors. Because I’m not a psychiatrist.

But I am an experienced author coach who happens to truly love what I do.

So, here are the top five “author feels,” according to, well, me!

Inspiration Intimidation

What It Is

Yes. I made up that term. Just now. But I couldn’t think of a better term to describe what authors feel when they just can’t seem to get inspired, and on top of that, the fact that they’re not inspired makes them feel insecure, helpless, and frankly, like a failure.

How it Manifests

You see other authors on social media bragging about how they just came up with the best story idea or how they are 40,000 words into their manuscript, and they just can’t stop writing! Or, you simply know you want to be writing…need to be writing, but you just don’t feel like it. This lack of inspiration leads to feeling like a failure, which leads to the blues, which can then lead to an all-out author breakdown.

How to Deal

The best way I can tell my clients to deal with inspiration intimidation is to be proactive about doing anything they find inspiring rather than sitting there, staring at a blank screen, and crying into a bowl of death-by-chocolate ice cream. Some things to try include:

  • Read several books in your chosen genre (and let the pros inspire you)
  • Write something, anything, for at least 30 minutes each day (try writing prompts)
  • Find and watch writing influencers on YouTube (Self-Publishing Show, Write Your Best Book)
  • Listen to podcasts for writers or featuring author interviews (like Write Your Best Book)
  • Follow (and watch) content by writing influencers (like @writeyourbestbook)

Social Isolation/Loneliness

What It Is

Authors are notorious for being introverts, or at least, for hiding away in their writing nook, a warm blanket around them, their cat on the desk near them, and in their fuzzy socks, so they can get some darn writing done. There’s nothing wrong with those things, except when you begin to feel isolated and alone and like no one understands or supports you. It’s made worse when you have unsupportive/judgmental friends and family, or even when you check your social feeds only to see all these other writers with 100,000 followers, tagging each other, sharing content, and generally having a grand old time together. And there you sit…all alone…with your 300 followers.

How it Manifests

You see other authors on social media bragging about how they just came up with the best story idea or how they are 40,000 words into their manuscript, and they just can’t stop writing! Or, you simply know you want to be writing…need to be writing, but you just don’t feel like it. This lack of inspiration leads to feeling like a failure, which leads to the blues, which can then lead to an all-out author breakdown.

How to Deal

First, if you can, become more involved in writing communities. There are plenty of virtual writing communities around. Find a virtual writing group, join smaller, supportive Facebook groups for authors, and look for communities for authors on Instagram, Twitter, and especially Tik Tok, by visiting the apps and entering the right hashtags in the search engines. Here are some of the top hashtags that will help you find writers on social platforms:

#authorsofinstagram

#authorssupportingauthors

#writingcommunity

#writerlfie

#authors

#indieauthors

#booktok

#authorsoftiktok

#writersoftiktok

Find the right tribe for you, join, and most of all, engage. This means, don’t just scroll. Post often, comment on others’ posts, and reply to those who comment on your posts. And again, use your hashtags!

Click on the below button to check out our Tik Tok page, where we have a tribe of 85,000 authors following us you can connect with and over 1.5 MILLION video likes (so, we’re doing something right)!

Perfectionism

What It Is

Now, this one goes without saying. But to be clear, perfectionism is when you just can’t seem to write anything worthy of becoming a book, and you find yourself unable or unwilling to stop editing and rewriting and just let it be.

How it Manifests

You’ve been there. You write a sentence, paragraph, or scene, then you read it back to yourself (aloud, as you should) and rather than thinking “it’s great!” or at least “that’ll do for now,” you begin panicking, you press and hold the backspace button, and you choke back tears. That’s when the negative self-talk kicks in. You tell yourself it has to be better, great, perfect! And to make this happen, you’ll write and edit and rewrite and reedit over and over again until it’s an hour later, and you’ve not made any progress at all. Or you manage to finish your first draft, go to self-edit, and the next thing you know, it’s a year later, and you’re on draft number six. All because it’s…still…not…perfect!

How to Deal

Stop. Just…stop. I’m serious. This really is the first step! Just get the dang draft down on the page and stop editing. The truth is, there is no reason any writer needs more than one draft, nor should it ever take two years or more to finish your book (#truthbomb). Sit down, write 30 minutes to an hour almost every day without going back and deleting, rewriting, then editing again. And before you know it, you’ll be typing THE END! And one more thing, and here me now…you will NEVER see your own writing as “perfect” or “good enough!” So, instead, just get the book down on the darn page, self-edit it once, then save it and let go and let God (or the universe or whatever).

Overwhelm

What It Is

Overwhelm is exactly what it sounds like. It’s what an author feels when they have so much information and so many ideas crowding their brain, it becomes too much, and they stall under the weight of it all.

How it Manifests

Two ways:

One, they have all these great story and character ideas buzzing around in their heads, they find it hard to focus on and write just one story. When this happens, their writing is delayed because they get stressed over not being able to pick that one idea that will make them a famous author. If they’re lucky enough to get started, then, they stall in the middle of the process because all that creativity and all those ideas cause instant ADD symptoms, and they can’t focus well enough to write like they should.

Two, they go online and try to find the best writing advice and answers to all their writing questions, only to find hundreds and hundreds of blogs, videos, articles, and posts by dozens of writing experts, who all have varying advice on every single issue. This can be so overwhelming and confusing. Authors don’t know which ones to listen to and trust, and the overload of information, especially when some of it is contradictory, can cause overwhelm.

How to Deal

If you’re overwhelmed by all the creative thoughts swirling around in your noggin, the absolute best thing you can do to overcome this is to plan and prepare your novel before you write it. No, I don’t mean you have to spend days, weeks, or months creating highly detailed plotting outlines. Pantsers can still pants it. However, I do firmly believe that creating a simple but thorough plot outline on a spreadsheet, sketching out all your lead characters, and mapping your setting before you begin writing can help you not only write a much better book (faster), but it can also eliminate overwhelm.

If you’re overwhelmed instead by all the conflicting advice from so many experts and sources, there’s one easy method to streamlining the information and getting rid of confusion. And this one piece of advice may ruffle some feathers amongst my colleagues. But I’m more concerned about helping you than I am wounding their pride. So, here goes.

Not all “experts” are really experts. They are really just…popular. Beyond that, there are quite a few of these influencers whose primary interest is not in helping authors. At the end of the day, the biggest sign that an “expert” is in it for fortune and/or fame is that they never (or rarely) post on social media, they never interact with their author fans or do Lives, and you can’t find info on their website that clearly shows their experience and tells how, when, or why they became an author coach. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by all the conflicting advice! Instead, take one day, research your favorite experts, look through their whole website and all their social accounts to get a good feel for who they are, and see if they have an easy way to reach them personally, not just an FAQ page. Then, out of those who seem the most legit, experienced, and skilled, pick the one whose voice and story resonates with you most, and follow them. This will not only cut down the “noise,” but it will eliminate writing advice overwhelm.

Fear of Rejection

What It Is

Quickly put, this is when an author believes no one will ever accept their work, let alone love it. And they believe their writing can never be as good as some of those well-known authors whose books are made into blockbuster movies. They get so frozen with this fear, they subconsciously block themselves from putting their work out into the world (whether to agents or straight to readers) because they think they’ll just hear crickets, or worse, readers will shred their book in reviews or on social media…instant career killers.

How it Manifests

Authors who fear rejection will finish their manuscript, but when it’s time to either send it off to agents or self-publish it, they freeze or fall into an absolute state of panic. Why? It’s because they’ve convinced themselves that they could never be as great a writer as Author X, so as soon as an agent or a reader gets ahold of the author’s book, they’re going to get slaughtered with negative feedback and all they’re going to hear is rejection after rejection. And then, all their hopes and dreams of becoming a writer for a living will vanish into thin air, and worse, everyone will realize what a failure they truly are. This fear can be paralyzing and it can stall, or worse yet, crush your writerly dreams in an instant.

How to Deal

Remember, when you look at all those “famous” and well-known authors, and their work seems so much better than anything you could ever write, that you are only seeing the very best version of the very best book from the very best authors, edited by the very best editors. But guess what? Those authors you idolize, who make you feel unworthy or like you could never be as good as them? They were new once, too. And beyond that, somewhere, buried deep in the darkest recesses of their laptop, each of them has at least one draft of the first book they ever wrote, and it’s pretty horrible. And none of these authors will ever let the world see what kind of writer they were when they started out. No one is born the absolute best author. These writers have spent years honing their craft. True, some people are naturally more gifted at writing than others, but almost anyone with a basic ability to learn and absorb the how-to of writing a great book, can become a great writer. So, the best way to deal with fear of rejection is to practice healthy, positive self-talk. Remind yourself that even the very best author had to start at the beginning. And tell yourself to be patient and keep at it because, one day soon, if you keep learning, growing, and becoming a better writer, not only will you NOT be rejected, you will find your own level of success. And even if you never make it to Author X status, someone, somewhere is going to find your book, fall in love with it, and rave about it to everyone they know. And THAT is the seed that gets planted and eventually blossoms into a flower called Success!

Almost all these feels are involuntary feels. Meaning, you have no control over how, when, why, where, or even if these feels creep up on you and drag you down to the depths of writers’ purgatory. So, the absolute first step before even trying to deal with them as outlined above, is to recognize that the feels are involuntary and you didn’t choose to feel this way. Don’t feel guilty or horrible for getting in those feels every now and then. Just remember, though. While you cannot control your natural emotional reactions to certain feelings beyond your control, you absolutely can (and should) control how you handle said emotion.

Talk soon,

If this (long) blog post has helped even one of you, I’ll be one happy camper. And please leave a comment below so I know my words didn’t fall on deaf ears. I love your comments, and I always reply to each one.

If you’re searching for a supportive, non-toxic, and informative environment online where you can seek out advice from other authors and writing experts, as well as ask for help and receive support from other authors going through similar issues, please join us in our little (but growing) Facebook Group – Book Boss Academy. It’s moderated by my social media manager, Amanda, and all the team members, including me, hop on there at least a couple times a week to give our two cents and support. Click the button below to join, but PLEASE answer the 3 simple security questions so we can make sure we maintain a supportive, spam-free environment for writers.

If you need support from a professional author coach, please feel free to reach out to me by visiting our website first. Read every page (but excuse the mess while we’re updating), learn all you can about me, my business, my team, and my services. Then, if you think we’d work well together, fill out the Contact Us form or email me personally at info@writeyourbestbook.com. You can also schedule a totally free, thirty-minute consultation with me by simply clicking on the bellow button to go there directly now.

4 Comments

  1. Great post Christina!! Very helpful for all of us to remember everyone starts somewhere!

    1. Alexander, yup! So true!

  2. I love this post. It’s just what I needed.

    1. Jaime! So glad! That’s exactly why I wrote it! 🙂

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