I woke up this morning shaking with anxiety. I would say this is nothing new—I’ve fought anxiety pretty much my whole life—but it IS new since I had a stroke a year and a half ago. After the stroke, I counterintuitively felt MORE at peace. I’m kind of sad the morning shakes have returned. But there is something different about it. There is less dread than there used to be, and in its place is more urgency to get things done, because, you know, I could actually die any minute!
I think many creative people often do face depression and anxiety as a daily part of their routines. Not that others don’t, but something about the creative process opens us to more “feeling.” Or maybe it’s simply that we have to make ourselves vulnerable to let the creative ideas flow into us from the universe.
The Reality of Anxiety
Nevertheless, anxiety is one of the challenges writers of all types face on a regular basis. So, the first step to dealing with it is simply admitting it’s a part of your reality and it’s okay. Then what? How does a marketing writer deal with this touchy-feely aspect of the work, for goodness sake? We are supposed to be focused on business and tough-as-nails. (No crying in conference rooms.)
I spent years trying to suppress my emotion at work. The 80’s were worst of all for “requiring” a tough-as-nails work-time demeanor. (Never let them see you sweat.) That, perhaps, is the source of my anxiety.
Since then, though, I’ve learned something very valuable. Something I actually give credit to for my success as an independent writer: emotion is at the very root of promotion. If a potential client does not have a base emotional need for your product, persuading them to buy it will be very difficult. In this hyper-competitive market, no company has time to woo prospects who only “slightly” need the product.
So, taking that fact into account, I’ve learned to let my emotion have its head. I begin every blog I write with a feeling I imagine the prospect might have about the topic. I allow myself to face the drama of their situation. Then I let it flow into the page, all the while keeping my target reader (and corporate mission) in mind and visualizing how they might be reacting to the words I put on the page.
On the other hand, if all I did was write with emotion, the blog or other marketing piece I am writing would seem too over the top. So, while I’m writing with emotion, I’m also tempering the words to make it more acceptable—balancing emotion with decorum, restraint, good taste. Much as I do when I talk to people in person. If you become TOO emotional, somebody’s going to think you’re crazy!
So, the point is, let your emotion work for you as you write for marketing purposes, but temper it with common sense.
Now, getting back to anxiety. Does this mean you have to live with anxiety? Not necessarily. But I suggest that it may not really be anxiety you are facing, but rather the stifling of your emotion as you write. At least with THIS type of anxiety, I believe teaching yourself to let emotion flow out of you as you work on your projects will relieve the pressure that causes that type of anxiety. Be proud of what you’ve written each day. Give yourself credit for creating something from nothing—a feat not everyone can accomplish. Feel that surge of confidence and embrace it.
I need to take my own advice, and tomorrow maybe I won’t wake up shaking.