Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed? So much to do, but no time to do it in.
You can’t enjoy the moments meant to help you relax because all you can think about is everything that’s still on your to-do list.
Trust me. I did for about two years until it completely burned me out.
As I started my master’s degree, the students’ association I was a member of also elected me onto their board.
By the end of that year, before the board year came to a close, I started a wonderful full-time internship at a publishing house for children’s books.
Before the internship ended, a local bookstore offered me a part-time job, something I had been dreaming of for years.
How could I say no?
On top of everything, social anxiety weighed me down.
Every little thing became a chore, including things I did because I wanted to relax like reading and writing. Because I felt so short of time, I scheduled these things to make sure they happened.
By doing so, they became yet another item on the already enormous to-do list I forced upon myself, and I’d feel guilty if I didn’t get them done.
I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of becoming burned out, even by doing things you love to do. You force yourself to do things you want to do because you feel they won’t happen otherwise.
When it got to the point where I burst out crying for ‘no reason’ almost daily and I kept wishing I’d catch a good bout of the flu so I could just lay in bed and do nothing, I reached out to a therapist.
Everything we do is the result of a choice.
A lot of things feel necessary but, in the end, they really aren’t so urgent.
You don’t have to do the dishes every day.
Will it be easier to manage if you do?
Will the kitchen look tidier?
Will something terrible happen if you don’t do the dishes every day?
I’m taking the dishes as an easy example here, but the same goes for a lot of choices.
Including writing and editing.
It is so easy to get stuck in a vicious circle of negativity: I should work on my book more. I didn’t hit my word goal. I should have finished editing that manuscript by now.
Take a moment to ask yourself: By which standards?
So show yourself some kindness and take off the pressure. Make writing a choice, not something you have to do on top of everything else.
Do you want to write? By all means, make the time to do it. Set up a routine.
But realise this: The world won’t end if you don’t write. Your progress won’t suddenly be lost. Tomorrow is a new day.
Also, know that ‘working on a book’ doesn’t have to mean putting words to paper. Thinking about your story is also a form of writing. Thinking about changes you want to make is a form of editing.
Be wary of the pressure you put on yourself throughout the writing process.
When writing or editing starts to feel like a chore, alarm bells should start to ring.
You’re the one who decides how to feel after a writing session, or after a missed writing session.
If you feel negatively, ask yourself: Why am I feeling like this? Can I make the choice to feel differently about the situation?
When you plan to write 1000 words every time you sit down and then you don’t, you end up feeling inadequate. Maybe even guilty. Why put that pressure on yourself?
Instead of setting the goal at 1000, why not start with 250 words? Instead of feeling like you should write every day, why not try a binge writing-session every two weeks or every month?
That way, you feel like a boss every time you hit the target. Whoo!
That’s the feeling you want to associate with writing and editing. And you are the only one who can make that happen.
By being kind to yourself.
Give the writing process the time it needs, without comparing to others. Some people write fast, others don’t. One doesn’t lead to a better end result than the other. Don’t let social media drive you crazy.
Your writing process is your own. No one else’s.
You can influence a lot of what happens in your life and how you deal with it by making conscious choices.
Which steps will you be taking to show yourself some kindness and make the writing process more fun? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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