Monday, July 12, 2010

Progressing Instead of Regressing in Our Writing Endeavors

How to Avoid Developing Writer’s Apprehension Disorder (WAD) Part 3: Worry

So far in our series we’ve discussed dread and anxiety, two potentially crippling symptoms of WAD. In this third and final segment, we’ll discuss worry. The Oxford American Dictionary describes worry as allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. Who of us is not guilty of doing that?

We worry about the pace of our novels, the structure, the setting and on and on. We also worry about the characters we create. Are they three dimensional or cardboard? Are they the same characters we created for another novel showing up on these new pages?

All authors struggle with these concerns. When it comes to developing characters, even bestselling author Elizabeth George states that, “Sometimes I think I have nothing new to say about anyone. I worry that I’ve already created these people before, in one book or another.” (216; Write Away, Harper Collins, 2004)

How do we control this urge to worry, causing us to slow down in our writing?

1. Move forward. Instead of wasting time worrying about various concerns, allowing them to cause us to regress as writers; we should postpone the matter. Keep writing the novel and save the concerns for the editing stage. You may come to find most of those concerns no longer exist.
2. A better idea would be to release yourself from the burden by praying and laying your worries at the Lord’s feet.
3. Another way would be to quote scripture. For example: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.”(Matt.6:27, NIV)
4. Finally, speak with a trusted friend who will help and encourage you.

Throughout scripture we see how senseless and time consuming it is to worry. What do you do to prevent yourself from worrying about completing the writing you have set out to do? Do you have any tips to help writers to stop worrying and continue writing?


  1. This is a very interesting site! I followed you "home" from Natalie Whipple's site after reading your comment (tho I've heard some blogsite owners dislike it when people advertise their own sites on the owners' blogs). Anyway, it's refreshing to find someone who works the whole writing thing from a God perspective. It really does help to pray about a project, and pray for leading--especially if you're not sure God wants you to be published. While it's true God has given us the talent to write (or draw, sing, whatever), we have to be led in the right direction--toward what is pleasing to Him. It does help me relax, to know He's in control of the outcome. Especially when finding an agent or a publisher is often about "luck." God can make those "luck" instances happen, and they're thus not coincidental as they seem.

  2. Worry is always an issue for me. I've always been a perfectionist and want to get things right the first time, which is impossible to do ever, much less the first time. So I drive myself a bit crazy. But your advice to keep moving forward is on point. That's all you can do. Just keep plugging away.

  3. I found if I keep moving and worry about fixing the text later I won't lose my rhythm. When I get to the editing stage I make a lot of changes. However, I believe this is how we grow as writers. Great hearing from you!