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.