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On Anxiety & Writing: from Dani Shapiro

On Anxiety & Writing: from Dani Shapiro
December 4, 2009 Jennifer Boylan

Devotion.frontpageDani Shapiro ‘s blog about writing, “Moments of Being,” is one of the smartest destinations in the blogoverse.  Here’s the opening of a piece about Anxiety, and how it is the enemy of good work:

“Of all the mental states one might find oneself in when sitting down to write, anxiety may very well be the worst of them. Of course we can’t always approach the page with a sense of inner calm, of ease, of a mind ironed clean. Sometimes we’re agitated–though a little agitation goes a long way. Rage, grief, longing, joy, frustration–all these have their place, though it’s best not to write from the center of these feelings, but rather, from the recollection of them. But anxiety is, as far as I’m concerned, the enemy. It makes us write too fast, or too prolifically, or too self-consciously. I’ve seen more writers, over the years, felled by their own anxiety, by which I mean a very particular kind of anxiety: I need to get published, I need recognition, I need it now, or I will die.”

Click here for the whole post.

Dani’s new book, Devotion, comes out in February.


  1. Michael Hunter 9 years ago

    Very profound. It is all about balance. I second guess myself more than I probably should. I am my worst critic by far!!

  2. Dee 9 years ago

    That makes perfect sense.
    As a reader, I find myself facing overwhelming anxiety about all the books I haven’t read either.
    As a very newbie writer, I definitely savor the thought of writing for writing’s sake and worrying (or not) about the rest later.


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