Content and Copywriting

Writing with Social Anxiety

I have social anxiety. I’ve had it in one incarnation or another since my early twenties and I’m not sure what triggered it. The anxiety attacks usually pop up when I’m doing something new alone or when there is a lot of pressure for me to preform.

You can understand why freelance writing became the perfect choice of career for me. If a anxiety attack pops up it is in the privacy of my own home. There’s also the comfort of being in a controlled environment.

Sounds like I’ve got it all figured out, huh? Not so much. See, sometimes I need to interview experts for articles and the expert insists on a phone interview. This doesn’t work for me. Phone calls of any type send me into a meltdown. In fact, my husband does most of our phone calls. I think this stems from the fact that ever since my eardrums burst a few years ago I can’t really understand phone conversations.

Usually talk the person into doing email or IM interviews instead. Not only does this save my mental health, but I also feel like it gives the expert more time to give me thoughtful answers. Plus, there’s no worry about accusations of misquoting. You have proof of what they said in black and white with a neat little time stamp.

Are you a writer that has social anxiety? How do you handle it?

I've been a DIY, lifestyle, tech and health writer for two decades. Dang, that makes me sound old...Anywhoo, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I'm @alinabradford. Real original handle, huh?


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  • xiaomao

    Wow. I really never thought anyone else with social anxiety would consider writing. I'm a freelance writer, based in Beijing. It was just something I fell into.

    When I'm busy writing, I'm fine. I curling up with my laptop, my cat and a cup of tea. When the work dries up and it's pitching time again, I get all anxiety ridden – not even wanting to leave the house to get food. It's rare for me to be able to do email interviews, unless I'm interviewing in Chinese, as the papers and magazines give me short deadlines. As it's the middle of winter, I'm not able to really do travel pieces (my favourite – no human contact necessary). To be honest, it's the pitching that bothers me the most. I never know what goes first: Pitching and then contacting someone to interview or contacting someone to interview, then pitching:
    I've pitched first and had someone reject an interview which resulted in angry editor and no more work.
    I've contacted an interviewee first and had an editor reject the pitch, resulting in annoyed interviewee who didn't want to communicate with me when another magazine was interested!
    It's a minefield for me. My insides get all twisted up and blah.

    As you can probably guess, I'm in the 'need to pitch' phase again, but all my phobias are rising up again!

    Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog.

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