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Tips for anxious writers: Gentle persistence

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The first key to developing a healthy writing practice despite writing anxiety is gentle persistence. Every writer needs to maintain a consistent practice over time, which takes persistence and self-discipline. But persistence and self-discipline must be applied judiciously. As discussed in the series introduction, “try harder” and “be more disciplined” are not particularly good advice for someone struggling with writing anxiety because trying harder can lead to destructive practices. If you are suffering and you “try harder” to “be more disciplined,” you are likely to reinforce the negative experiences that contribute to writing anxiety. In a healthy practice, persistence is carefully balanced to approach your limits without pushing past them. You need the persistence to push against your limits and face challenges, and you need the gentle sensitivity to step back and care for yourself.

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