Beating the overwhelm as a writer

Over the last few weeks writing, alongside the other pressures of life, has been a bit overwhelming.

Two weeks ago, I got the draft of my first novel back from the editor. He’s done a great job, I can’t complain at all – it’s now full of comments and improvement which I need to go through.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting on with another writing project, which although I’ve now put to one side, is still whizzing around between my ears. Then there’s my teaching and other work commitments that have the habit of leaking across my schedule.

 

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Here are a few things that I’ve found have helped me reduce that overwhelm:

Priority means ONE!

It has become a bit of myth in our modern time that there can be more than one priority. There can’t. If you need proof of this look at the word PRIORity. It comes from the root word PRIOR, meaning first, and as far as I’m aware first is singular. Yes, of course, I’m still going to work while I’m writing, but I’m not going to take on anything extra that isn’t my priority during this time.

Stop to think

When you’re facing an overwhelming situation, stopping to think about it seems like a waste of time. It’s not, just having a break to think about what you’re doing can be so helpful. If you can combine this with exercise – a walk, run or swim – you’ll feel loads better.

Look back at how far you’ve come

I love using my journal and long-term plan for this. Looking at how far I’ve come in the last few months always makes me feel better.

I’ve written about how to journal here

And how to plan/set targets here

Cut through the noise to focus

Not everything you need to do is essential.

For example, I wanted to get this post up last week, but didn’t. I knew that writing had to be my focus for a few days. I needed to get into the flow of it to get me excited again about the story.

Now I’ve done that, I can afford to come back and do things like this blog post.

 

Delegate and say no

If you can’t delegate or say no then your time will be eaten up with other people’s priorities. If you’re feeling overwhelmed say no to a couple of things, or try to pass something on.

I’ve written about how to say no nicely, here. 

 

What is your ONE priority today?

 

How do you stop everything becoming a priority?

 

 

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

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