Confessions of a writer… anxiety attacks.

Zanna Mackenzie

When I was asked to contribute to WWBB’s theme on
Confessions of A Writer lots of ideas whizzed through my mind  and I spent a while debating what I wanted to
confess about.

The fact that when I’m writing, everything else (well,
almost everything) gets neglected, especially the housework, was one confession
possibility – and very true!

As was the fact that I have burnt many a meal by not paying
attention to what I’m doing because my thoughts are caught up in character
dialogue and plot points for my latest work in progress.

What I have decided to confess though is that, I think, writing
helps to keep me sane.  All my
life I’ve been prone to nerves, worry and anxiety which has affected  me in my social life as well as in my career.

I have tried hypnosis, meditation, aromatherapy, mineral supplements (magnesium
and calcium are supposed to aid and calm the nervous system I had read) as well
as self help books, all with varying degrees of success.

Years ago I used to write and enjoyed it, then,
disillusioned with feedback on some of my work, I gave it up. Last year,
encouraged by my husband, I began to write fiction again, re-editing two of my
books and daring to send them off (for the first time) to a publisher for
consideration. Within a few months both books had been accepted and I was on my
way to becoming a published author. So I began to take my writing seriously,
fitting it in around my day job, allocating time to work on my next books.  My creativity flowed and I found I had loads
of ideas, characters evolving, plots all fighting to be written down, snippets
of dialogue to make notes on, and books to plan. As my creative mind came to
life, in direct contrast, my state of anxiety diminished. It seems as though, for me, being creative and putting my mind to work
on all these books, plots, characters etc meant my mind no longer had time to
dwell on creating anxiety and worries.

Creativity has long been recognised as a way to help with stress,
anxiety and mental health issues and, for me, my confession is that writing
truly does help to keep me sane. For anyone out there with anxiety issues I
would say try getting creative!

For help and support with anxiety issues the following
website is a great resource:

Author, Zanna Mackenzie lives in the UK with her husband, 4 dogs, a
vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library
of books waiting to be read. Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications
is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down
notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the
characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from
the original plot!

Formerly a travel agent and therapist (she has
qualifications in clinical aromatherapy, crystal healing, naturopathic
nutrition and herbalism) she loves walking the dogs and gardening – that’s when
she’s not writing or reading!

Zanna has written two novels, The Love Programme (Astraea
Press) and How Do You Spell Love? (Crooked Cat Publishing) and both were
published in early 2013.
How do you Spell Love?

Make A Wish…

Kat can’t help wishing there was more to life than this.
What happened to her dream job? What happened with Nathan?

Summer is wondering where her life is going too… battling
the developers of a controversial housing estate and working out why boyfriend
Rob is increasingly distant.
Crooked Cat Publishing
When the developers win the battle and move into town
everyone’s life is turned upside down.

Kat meets building site project manager Alex. She enjoys his
company far too much, even though he’s on the town’s most hated list.

Summer meets Tom who has plenty of relationship troubles of
his own, so things could get really complicated.

Soon everyone is keeping secrets, lives change and hearts
are broken. Is everything falling apart, or does life just work in mysterious

An extract to whet your appetite

How do you Spell Love?

Kat pushed the last of the cottage cheese and shrimp
sandwiches into the cool box and slammed the van door shut. As if her life
wasn’t enough of a disaster zone as it was – no money, lousy job, losing
Nathan, having to move back home to live with her parents – now this had to go
and happen. Plus, of course, it didn’t help that today she was feeling
shattered after spending half the night chanting some ridiculous protection
spell in the middle of the allotments with Summer.

Cringing as a van full of builders stopped at the nearby
traffic lights, Kat braced herself for the inevitable. After the standard-issue
wolf whistles had drifted across from their van, next came the leered,
“Wouldn’t argue with that, love!” as one of them nodded towards her sparkling
clean van, parked neatly at the curb. The words “A Bit of Crumpet on the Road”
emblazoned down the side in deep purple, glittery lettering. Not for the first
time Kat cursed her boss Janice for calling her bakery-cum-deli that name.

Kat sighed, well it certainly drew comments from the public
and from their customers, not always welcome ones, but as Janice was always
keen to point out, any kind of publicity and attention was, in her eyes, good
publicity and attention.

Pulling her navy and white striped apron more tightly around
her T-shirt and shorts, Kat ignored the builders and climbed into her van to
begin that morning’s deliveries. As she indicated to pull out into the busy
street in Luisborough, she mulled over the bad news – that she was to add the
controversial Netherton Meadows housing development to her daily sandwich

Netherton Meadows. Yippee. If Summer found out, she’d surely
be ostracised for fraternising with the environmental enemy. This was a
development that pretty much everyone in Luisborough had fought against for
getting on towards a year. It had been the focus of STW campaigns. It went
against everything that Kat believed in environmental-wise. Everyone hated the
Netherton Meadows developers. Except, it seemed, Janice, who was perfectly
happy to, in her words, ‘supply yummy builders with yummy sandwiches.’

Lost in thought, Kat just managed to spot the approaching
traffic lights had turned to red and hastily slammed a foot on the brake. The
van lurched to a halt and several boxes of crisps and one of the cool boxes in
the back tipped over. Damn. It was shaping up to be one of those days.

Two hours later Kat had visited all her usual drops, was
extremely hot and bothered, and could put off going to Netherton Meadows no

Driving through the assorted vans, machinery and portacabins
Kat parked next to a building marked as being the Site Office and hit the
button on the dashboard. Tinkling chimes filled the air as Kat climbed from the
driver’s seat and made to open the back doors of the vehicle. It was
embarrassing enough that the van had the company name in large lettering along
its side but, just to make sure that it received maximum exposure – and
achieved maximum embarrassment – Janice had had some irritating chimes fitted to
the vehicle too. Kat was under strict instructions to sound the chimes when she
called at all of the sites where people came out to the van; such as they were
about to at Netherton Meadows.

A man came down the steps of the office with a grin on his
face and walked towards her. “Hi, you must be Kat.” He wedged a clipboard under
his left arm and offered a hand to shake. “I’m Alex. Project manager for the

“Hi,” mumbled Kat, spotting a group of hard-hat-clad
builders advancing towards her with hungry expressions on their faces.

“Right, lads,” Alex turned towards the men. “This is Kat and
she’s very kindly agreed to venture onto this site to bring you all your lunch.
Don’t give her any hassle, OK?”

The men laughed and then nodded. “Sure, Alex. You’re the boss.”

Fifteen minutes later it seemed that all of the team at the
development had made their sandwich, crisp and drink selections and sloped off
to devour them in the sunshine. Only one of the builders, a portly man who must
have been twenty years Kat’s senior, had pushed the boundaries a little,
despite Alex’s earlier warning. As he’d selected a smoked salmon and cream
cheese roll – a choice that had surprised Kat somewhat, having pegged him as a
ham and cheese kind of guy – he’d asked Kat if she’d fancy joining him for a
drink sometime. She’d politely declined his offer, saying that she had a
boyfriend. No need to tell him that, technically, she and Nathan were no longer
an item. No need to tell him why either.

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