This month I have the privilege of presenting two authors, one an Australian and one from the U.K. and two completely different genres. I am fortunate to be meeting so many interesting people with interesting stories to tell. I especially have a soft spot for Aussie writers as you may well imagine but mostly like my reading tastes, my people taste, is eclectic. I love different and individual.
We will meet Caroline Noe (paranormal, science fiction and fantasy writer) later this month but today we have Liv Arnold (a romance/law and order blend), an author who offers an interesting insight into a subject that is very close to my heart. Well, two subjects actually, writing and anxiety. Both of these are a big part of my life. In reading Olivia’s candid opening I suddenly realised just how much being able to put down words has done for me, most especially my poetry because unlike my romance novel I can just be me (and that there is so much less to edit is a bonus).
As a self-published author I do a lot myself. With poetry there is so much more freedom to express my thoughts my way, and most importantly it allows me to explore so many topics including anxiety. I can appreciate why I was drawn to her wonderful personality. Like Olivia, anxiety exists whether I want it or not, and because I can appear confident, a technique perfected to self-protect, people often don’t understand just what is involved, and just how badly it can affect day-to-day life. Olivia however has been pro-active in dealing with the issue, and in working out what suits her, and the confidence it has given her is inspiring. So meet Liv Arnold.
I’m Liv Arnold and I have worked as a copywriter for several global companies and now run my own freelance business. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and live with my husband and our spoiled dog, who only eats freshly cooked meals. When I’m not writing, I’m avoiding the gym, devouring a cheese platter, or marathoning way too much TV. And of course, I’m a massive book addict and often read until all hours of the night.
How writing can help with your mental health – an author’s musings
Writing is better than therapy! I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I always picture the worse-case scenarios, take hours to fall asleep (sometimes I’m still awake when the sun comes up) and my chest is permanently tightened.
Medication barely helps and I lack the focus for meditation. My mind wanders too often and my whole-body fidgets. Sometimes I even laugh.
Writing drowns out the noise in my head – maybe because I’m focusing on fictional characters and story-lines far removed from the real world. At work on my breaks, if my mind starts to spin out of control, I write for a few minutes straight to refocus. People cope with anxiety in different ways but writing with some exercise helps me.
But being an author, brings a whole new level of worry. Not everyone will support you. The rejections sting every time. Negative feedback can dampen your confidence. I often wondered whether all of this was worth it or if my writing skills were good enough. With an industry full of self-doubt, it’s so important to find your tribe.
My mum encouraged me to do a creative writing course at RMIT. It’s a short course that runs for 8-10 weeks for three hours a week after work. I loved every moment of the class and ended up doing three short courses. The teachers were so inspiring, and it was great to speak to like-minded people. I work-shopped my stories in class and continued with them after the course finished. At first, I was terrified reading my work out to people. But the more I did this, the more I got used to the process. Everyone was always so supportive and gave constructive feedback.
I never thought a traditional book contract would ever happen for me. I believed it was equivalent to movie or record deals. The odds are so high stacked against you. When I first received my contract, I kept reading the words in disbelief. Every time my publisher emailed me, I straightaway thought they were going to say, ‘actually you suck and we’re taking the contract back’.
Writing is my one thing to focus on. Something that moves me forward with my life when I wonder the point of everything. I’m so pleased Law & Disorder has now come to life. Every time I receive a good review, it’s often a surprise to me (maybe the anxiety talking) but I am so grateful that people have been enjoying my book.
Thanks for reading.
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