When overthinking gets in the way of my writing

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I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s really, really easy for me to overthink my writing. In fact, I basically do it EVER. DAMN. DAY.

Here’s what typically happens in my brain:

I want to write! Okay… but what to write about? Let’s see… Well, I have a story due, so I’ll work on that. Okay, done with that, now I should write a blog update about Map Your 30 Project. Or, um, maybe I should go for a Healthy Latin Food story since I’ve been thinking a LOT about food lately. But then I kind of feel like writing about my memoir. Or maybe I should read a memoir. Or maybe I should research the memoir? Oh WAIT! But now I want to write about doing Whole30… but then I just did all that research on high protein smoothies, so maybe I should write about that? OH MAN! I just got a *great* blog idea. Maybe I should start a new blog? Oh geez, do I really have time for a new blog…

And this goes on for about an hour. Or sometimes all day.

Over, and over, and over again. I have one very big issue with my writer’s block. And it’s not so much that I don’t have any inspiration to write but that I simply have TOO MANY IDEAS to write about.

This has always been my problem, actually.

I overthink absolutely EVERYTHING. And I don’t just mean my writing. I overthink my relationship, I overthink moving, I overthink social plans, I overthink conversations, I just… overthink.

It’s the main symptom of my anxiety, I think. (Look, there I go AGAIN! Hahahahahahah… or not.)

The worst part of it lately, though, is that I am letting my overthinking absolutely cripple my writing. I have SUCH a strong desire to just sit down and write. Just get my words out there, even if nobody reads them.

But then I sit down… and I start to think. And my brain jumps from one idea to the next to the next to the next and, before I know it, it’s time to move on and do something else (like sort that pile of clean laundry on the couch… Stop taunting me, pile!).

And I make myself believe it’s OKAY. Really, seriously, Irina, it’s FINE. You’ll write tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day!

But as my mami said in Spanish often when I was little, it ends up being “the tomorrow that never comes”.

Because that’s what is happening with my writing lately. I put it off, I let myself overthink it, and I never simply sit my pretty ass down to a computer and JUST START WRITING.

Which is horrible!

I’m smarter than that. Really, I promise that I am. Every fellow creative person I talk to (and even my wonderful boyfriend, who’s an engineer but has a few creative bones in his body thanks to a love of music and playing the drums) tells me every time the subject come sup: JUST. START. WRITING!

I’m sure I’ve driven a good chunk of my writer friends crazy with my constant zigzagging between ideas.

Oooooh what about this?! Or THAT?! Should I work on that book? Or this one? Or maybe this other blog idea I had that one time… 

Trust me, it’s EXHAUSTING. It exhausts and frustrates even me. Like, constantly. All the time. But I decided to finally do something about it. I think…

I’m going to take the month of July to write EVERY DAMN DAY.

That’s right. I am going to sit down at my computer every single day during the month of July 2016 and write something on this here writer’s portfolio site/blog/whatever you want to call this place.

I’m not saying it’s going to be good. In fact, it’ll probably be just like this–some ramblings and musings about who-knows-what with no real substance or anything.

But then again, maybe something will come of it. That’s my hope, anyway. With so many ideas always crowding my mind and essentially giving me serious writer’s FOMO, I need to let go and, as Nike famously put it, just DO it.

I know there’s also some fear of success/failure issues that go along with this. After all, it’s MUCH easier to pretend that everything’s fine when I don’t have a full manuscript staring me in the face, asking me why I haven’t yet sold it to an agent (or, worse, what to do ONCE I HAVE). As long as the book I want to write is never done or the blog that I believe in never receives 100% of my attention, it’s going to be totally okay. Right?

Instead, I happily allow myself to sit in an Overthinking Cloud of Doom and never actually go for one thing or the other. Hell, I never even go for BOTH things at the same time–but with the determination and commitment that I truly want to give of myself.

I just don’t do it. I think and think and think and never write and write and write.

So this is important. I need to stop getting in my own freaking way and just WRITE. I mean, look, I’m here doing it, aren’t I?

Here’s to the month of July and accomplishing one sort-of-kind-of-maybe-I-think goal: WRITE EVERY SINGLE DAY.

… Wish me luck, y’all.

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I’m about to turn 30…

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In the past few months, and I couldn’t tell you if this is coincidence or some weird algorithm or simply because I am more aware of it, my Facebook feed has been full of “hey you’re turning 30!” articles.

And it’s true. I am turning 30. In exactly a month, to be precise.

To be honest, I am not yet sure how I feel about the whole thing. At times I feel like the it is kind of silly. All of the pressure that we face, as women and as human beings in general, to have checked off certain life milestones by this age. A great career, a nice home, a semblance of independence and some vague definition of being a real adult now that our twenties are behind us.

Oh yeah, and can’t forget the whole life partner thing.

Whether married, engaged or simply paired off with the person that you’re thinking you probably *will* marry, the pressure to “Have It All” seems to really start at this age when we have graduated from those years of growing and finding ourselves to these years of settling into our lives.

But what if you’re not actually quite settled or ready to be settled yet? Is the pressure to have it all figured out by 30 real, or is it something that’s just in our heads?

Irina25thBdayAs I read through what seems like the 27th list of things I should have done/read/watched/experienced/learned by the time I hit the big 3-0 next month, I’m left wondering: isn’t there more to figure out after this? After all, life doesn’t begin at 30 and it definitely doesn’t end there either.

So that’s where I find myself now, thinking that turning 30 is both a really big deal and absolutely no big deal at all.

Sure, I have some things figured out, like that really awesome career that I love. But some things are still in the To Be Determined folder, like that life partner-type figure that’s looming somewhere on the horizon. Maybe.

In the end, though, I know I still have some work to do on myself. I don’t really think that work will ever end, because what’s the point of life if you just stop improving yourself? But since I’m turning 30 and all the hoopla that supposedly comes with it, I am taking this year to especially focus on some of the things that are important to me.

I’m calling it the Map Your 30s blog. It’s basically a vehicle for me to focus on the things that are important to me and the parts of my life that I want to work on, strengthen or improve in some way. That means my career, relationships, finances, home environment, health and confidence/spirituality.

I doubt it’ll only last a year. That’s quite a big undertaking that I am planning to tackle. But the truth is that it’s really not about a year-long project or because I’m turning 30 and all of a sudden some sort of alarm is going off in my head (it’s not), but simply because I want to do it. And I want to do it now.

Being 30 (and maybe having learned a thing or two in the last decade) is just a perk.

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