5 Ways to Handle Emotional Overwhelm as an Author
When writing about your personal experiences, there may be unexpected emotions that well and build up inside you. Even things that you think wouldn’t have an emotional impact on you can bring about an emotional response when you write. Emotions can overwhelm you when you are reliving through your writing heavy experiences in your life like trauma. Knowing how to cope with emotions that come up during your writing will help you through the process and get your thoughts onto paper.
Having a Writing Support Group
In your local area, there may be a writing support group. Each group has their own set times that they meet, but everyone who shows up is a writer in some capacity who is seeking the support of their peers. These groups are also set up for when a writer needs feedback on what they’ve written, or advice on where they should take their writing next. Every group is structured differently and there are some groups that are designated for non-fiction authors, memoir authors, etc.
No one knows the emotional toll that writing takes like another writer. Everyone at a writing support group, well, supports one another. It’s a place where the people actively listen and understand the emotional overwhelm. Similar to a group therapy session, where you get feedback and guidance, except for writers. If you aren’t able to find a writing support group in your area, there are plenty online. These can be discussion forums, group chats, or even Facebook groups. If there aren’t any groups in your area, this is a short list of some of the online groups.
Hashing things out with your friends
Similar to having a writing support group, if you have friends who you can talk to who are also writers, you should consider reaching out to them if you are dealing with emotional overwhelm or just need support. If they are able to, they will understand the struggles that you are going through and help you push past those low points. Even if you don’t have a group of friends who are writers, having that peer support and opening up about what you are going through and what you are dealing with will help you throughout your writing process. The important point is that you aren’t holding in all of your emotions with no outlet to release them.
Talking with a therapist
A therapist’s job is to listen to you and help you work through emotional things you need to talk about. When you are writing about topics that pertain to your life, or writing about past events, unexpected emotions may come up. Some of those emotions that arise may be unresolved issues that have happened in your past that you need to unpack with someone. Talking with a professional can help you get to the root cause of your emotions and help you resolve those feelings. They are also there to support you in your work and your writing. In the same vein of having a friend or a writing group offering advice, a therapist can also offer their own input for your writing.
Writing/talking about what you are going through or feeling is a good way to get out of your head and express your emotions. It may seem like a weird thing, talking to yourself, but it is a good way to process how you’re feeling and get the thoughts out of your head. Think of it as if you are talking or to a friend, trying to describe how you feel.
If you don’t have an immediate person or group that you can call or talk to for support, you will always have a journal or a voice recorder at the ready when you need it. It can also give you a lot of introspection about the way that you feel and the root causes for feeling certain things.
Regardless of whether or not you are dealing with emotional overwhelm, all of these tips are things to consider that can help you through your writing process. Self care is something that pairs well with any and all of these tips. Self care means taking time for yourself and de-stressing from either your job, your writing, or what’s happening in your life. Self care means different things for everyone; for some it can mean taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk in a park, or taking time to enjoy your day. What it means for you depends on what you need in order to relax and take time to care for yourself. The important thing is to make sure that you are taking that time to unwind so that you don’t get burnt out or overwhelmed.
If you have been worried about the overwhelm of writing, click here to learn about the three people you need on your writing team. If you have an idea for a book that needs to be put be told but aren’t sure where to start, contact us today!