It’s Easier Not to Write

Without anybody expecting me to write or publish anything, I shouldn’t feel anxious about writing.

4 min readSep 16, 2022


Young woman biting a pencil while staring at a computer screen.
JESHOOTS-com on Pixabay

It’s easier to be a writer who doesn’t write.

Of course it is — it’s almost always easier not to do something. Knowing this doesn’t explain exactly why, or how to overcome it, so in seeking an answer to either or both of those questions I typed the same sentence into a search browser and clicked on the first result, which introduced me to the term “writer’s anxiety.”

I plugged those words into a separate search browser and didn’t have to click on any results to get an explanation, and it explained so much insofar as not clicking on results can answer those questions because I haven’t been able to bring myself to do any further soul-searching. I’m struggling enough to just get these sentences out, and I’m terrified at the thought of having to revise them if I want this piece to go anywhere at all.

It’s going to sound like I’m delusional but as soon as I actually read the two words, “writer’s anxiety,” I felt like my head began to spin and I wanted to go into the bathroom and lose the breakfast I’d just eaten — which was not upsetting my stomach at all prior to my head getting involved — and then I wanted to crawl back into bed under a weighted blanket and take a nap.

Anxiety is the devil looking over my shoulder, making me rewrite this sentence five times. Of course it is — it’s the devil I know.

Without expectations, there shouldn’t be any anxiety. But if there wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here.

Because I question everything, I think I’ll have to do some more soul-searching to be absolutely certain, but it makes sense that writer’s anxiety is the reason that I’m not writing. I have several personal essays I’ve started and want to finish, and a novel patiently waiting for me to begin the revision process, and yet I find it much easier to curl up in the recliner in my office — creative space, I’d rather call it, except I don’t feel like I’ve been creative enough lately to be able to use that term — with a library book and lose my anxieties in the distraction of a polished, published piece of work that’s not mine.