Writing a book is a bucket list goal for many of us, but often we can let doubt or limiting beliefs get in the way. Helping to inspire other budding writers, mum of two Lindsey Vernon-Lilley shares her story about how she did it despite her crippling anxiety.
My heart raced, I felt short of breath and physically sick. Yet again my anxiety had taken over. “ Sorry mum, I have a headache. I can’t make it”. My voice quivered. She tutted and I could hear the disappointment in her voice but the truth was she had heard it before many times. Yet another Saturday night family meal I had cancelled. The voice in my head laughed. It (the anxiety) had won!
For years I had experienced anxiety. It had made me physically sick so many times. The one conversation that stuck in my mind chatting to a counsellor was to write things down. ‘No matter how little or insignificant, write down your feelings. Thoughts, quotes anything!.”She advised. Writing became my outlet emotionally and I had always wanted to write for children but never thought I was clever enough.
University just didn’t interest me so I had not had experience of nor qualifications in writing. Nevertheless, every time I felt anxious I would write down my thoughts but then when I was pregnant with my son Leighton, I had an amazing idea to write a children’s book. I wanted to tell a story that was magical with a strong message.
Deep down I knew my anxiety would eventually get better and I would learn to manage it. Did I think it would ever go away? No. But the key was managing it. Writing became MY way of doing that.
Anxiously I began to write Chapter One. I liked the idea of a princess that never knew she was infact, a fairy. Afterall, children loved fairies and princesses so it seemed like a good idea. I’m not going to lie, I did have lots of thoughts about the book. Will it sell? How will I go about publishing it? How will I feel if it doesn’t sell?
The truth was I just wanted children to read it and feel how I did when I was writing it. Creating characters and thinking of the stories made me so happy! And if one child read it who I didn’t know then I would be content.
Managing my anxiety through writing helped me create the book in its entirety. I took my time, I really enjoyed the process of thinking of the characters, plots, twists, turns. Seven months later I had written the book and it felt amazing! I then had the very difficult job of submitting to publishers. 23 rejections later and I finally received a yes!
Indigo River, Florida published my book in November 2018 and since then I have had some wonderful comments from children which has made it so worthwhile. Having anxiety spurred me on to write and now I will always have the motivation to continue writing. I’m already writing another book and I’ve used the same coping techniques to manage my workload.
My tip for anyone struggling with anxiety is to pick up a pen and start writing!