A Calm-Down Collection for the Highly Anxious Poet

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As a writer who struggles with anxiety almost daily, I know all too well the potential anxiety present within the occupation of being a writer. Negative reviews, deadlines, the idea of actually having to read work aloud, etc., can be overwhelming, especially within a larger context of social anxiety or generalized anxiety. That being said, I’ve found that the very source of some of my anxieties, writing/being an author, can also lead to a great deal of peace and calm.

This is a kind of poetic care package for writers who struggle with anxiety, whether career-induced or not. XO


Although Shel Silverstein is always good for an easy, calming read, I’ve found that this little poem by Ellen Bass is my go-to for rough days. “You say, yes, I will take you/I will love you, again.”


Edwin Bodney’s spoken word poem “When a Boy Tells You He Loves You” is full of beautiful, calming figurative language, and his voice is so soothing too.


When I’m overwhelmed about writing a piece about trauma or when I have too many interviews or side projects on my plate, gifs like this breathing-in-sync one help calm me down in the moment.


Just like the gifs, videos of so-called “pen porn,” or people writing words and phrases in gorgeous handwriting or calligraphy, place me into a relaxing, quiet state, and some of them even come with music too.


A few semesters ago, I wrote a paper about famous “reclusive” authors and their tendencies to stay out of the limelight. Reading up on them helped me realize that wanting to live a quiet life, or having difficulty interacting with the media, publicists, and other members of a writing team, is normal and not in any way “weird” or unacceptable.

Contributing Editor

Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.