A writer friend confides that he suffers from nightmares as he nears completion of his first novel. “I wake in a cold sweat,” he confesses. “What if it’s not good enough? What if it’s no good? It’s like one of those dreams where you show up naked for the final exam. I didn’t used to be this scared–I didn’t doubt myself.”
After we talk for several minutes, we agree the dreams, however uncomfortable, are a good sign. He is about to share his novel with a select audience of first readers, and he will be asking for their feedback. The prospect is exciting–and scary. Over the course of writing and revising this novel, he has learned an amazing amount. His knowledge of writing craft has expanded. He has faced the challenges of creating a full-length narrative. He knows so much more than he did when he began writing the novel–and in the process of learning, he has raised the bar for himself. His expectations are higher, and so is his anxiety level. Together we talk about some simple practices to help control anxiety and encourage grounding.
*use the 10-minute vent exercise daily to allow internal voices to have their say–within firm boundaries and limits
*practice daily meditation and/or visualization
*remind himself why he was passionate about writing this book in the first place; write a simple “passion statement”; tape it where he can see it
*honor the contract he made with himself to write the very best book he could, and, when it was ready, to find the best venue to share it
*practice letting go