Last year I had the privilege to “meet” author Joanne Guidoccio through our mutual publisher The Wild Rose Press. Since then we have become social media besties – sharing each other’s Tweets, and supporting each other’s blogs and books. Today, Joanne is visiting me and giving us all a lesson is how to relieve and prevent the anxiety each of us as writers experiences. Her lessons and suggestions are not only timely – they work!!! Here’s my buddy, Joanne:
Anxiety Antidotes for Writers
For many writers, worry is a habit. Our minds whirl as we over-analyze and over-think each situation.
- Is the manuscript good enough?
- Why isn’t the agent or publisher responding to my query? What if my sales numbers are dismal?
- What if I get more negative reviews than positive ones?
It’s easy to become overwhelmed and/or blocked as we ruminate about past events or worry about the future. To improve the quality of our lives, we need to find and implement appropriate anxiety antidotes.
- Breathe. Whenever you are anxious, deeply and calmly breathe in and out. As you draw your next breath, focus on the rise of your abdomen on the in-breath and feel the sensation of the air as it fills your lungs and leaves through your nostrils.
- Journal. Set aside ten minutes each day to write about your feelings, relationships, triggers, and goals. Write quickly and do not linger over each page. As time progresses, you will notice changes in your writing style and content. Solutions may emerge and help improve your present situation.
- Take regular breaks away from social media and your devices. Use those pockets of time to meditate, stretch, soak in a bubble bath, complete a crossword puzzle, flip through a travel brochure, or read the first chapter in a book that has been sitting on your nightstand.
- Take a brisk walk in the evening with a friend or spouse. The exercise will increase blood flow to your heart and brain. You will also have an opportunity to talk about your day and share your frustrations.
- Surround yourself with inspiration. Follow the advice that Blake Mycoskie gave in his book, Start Something That Matters (2012). In the early days of the TOMS start-up, the young entrepreneur experienced many scary moments. His line of credit was often fully drawn, and his credit cards were maxed out. Lacking a board of directors who could advise and motivate him, Mycoskie surrounded himself with inspirational quotations and read the biographies of successful people.
- Display your trophies. It is easy to overlook your accomplishments when you allow them to be overshadowed by negative thoughts. Instead, surround yourself with evidence of past successes by keeping awards, publishers’ checks, and congratulatory notes on display in your home. If space is at a premium, take pictures of the memorabilia and organize them in a scrapbook.
- Listen to music. According to studies cited in Trends in Cognitive Science, you can improve your mood, relieve anxiety and depression, and activate the parts of the brain involved in movement, memory, planning, and attention.
- Take up a sport or hobby that forces you to pay attention. When you play tennis, you must be aware of everything that is happening. You do not have time to worry about the shot you missed because another one is coming right back at you. Similarly, you must concentrate when you play bridge or poker. If your attention strays, you risk losing the game.
- Play an instrument. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital claim that regular instrument playing boosts the brain’s executive function, which includes problem-solving skills and the ability to focus.
- Clean out your purse or wallet at the end of each day. You may be surrounded by chaos and uncertainty, but this small task can help you psychologically declutter and feel more in control of your day.
Do you have an anxiety antidote to share?
A SEASON FOR KILLING BLONDES
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.
When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends. As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.
In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne…