I have been churning out the words and consider myself a productive writer, committing to writing at least 500 words a day for my blog and preparing my book for publication.
But all this writing has had an unforeseen and perhaps unexpected side effect. I feel so de-motivated!
Or in other words, I think I’m experiencing burn out yet again.
So what has led me to feel like this?
Simply put, overwhelm.
This is something I struggle with a lot. I have high expectations and am ambitious. And perhaps I sometimes underestimate how much work is required to write and publish a book.
I mean it looks so easy when you compare yourself to other successful authors who have just finished authoring their twentieth book! This leads to the next point.
This is when you compare yourself to others. But it makes no sense to compare your success to another author when you are both in different parts of the author journey.
I cannot compare my success to an author who has twenty more years experience of writing than I do.
Do one task at a time and focus all your attention and awareness on the task at hand. Quality only comes from concentrated effort, not scatter brained approaches.
While I was editing my book I was also looking for an editor. And trying to design my cover. And trying to figure out how to get it formatted!
This would stress me out as I got carried with looking for a good editor, knowing that my manuscript is still not ready.
There are no deadlines or races to run. I need to remind myself of that often.
I left the corporate world to do something I enjoy, and I enjoy writing and building my tech start-up I and want to fully explore these as new career paths.
So why am I putting undue pressure on myself to get everything done all at once? So tackle one task at a time and give it your all.
This is a problem that is only going to increase with time. The internet is amazing but also means we have more distractions at our disposable than at any other point in time.
Use time blocks in your day and use that time for one specific task. If you must be on social media which is typically the biggest time drain, then limit your time.
I give myself only 15 minutes a day to scroll through Twitter from the main authors I follow, and I look at notifications on facebook and respond to only what I need to. The rest is just noise.
FOMO for writers
I have a bad habit of signing up for every webinar, course and workshop on writing. I have bought so many courses on writing, how to build a start up, how to raise funds for your business….and completed none of them.
So why do I purchase them? It’s because I’m afraid of missing out. Of missing out on some knowledge that will help me become a better writer.
Afraid I might miss a key piece of info that will help me to secure more customers for my tech start-up.
But I know that the only way I can become better at my craft is to turn up and produce the words. The only way I can build a business I am proud of is to keep plodding ahead.
From there, I can get better and improve my craft and knowledge with courses.
So I no longer feel I need to listen to every podcast or webinar on writing or entrepreneurship.
I trust that whatever I need will come to me at the right time.
There is no point in hoarding all this info. It will only lead to information constipation. And the symptoms of that are …yup you guessed, it….overwhelm!
How to Practically Overcome Overwhelm to Achieve Your Goals
- Cut back on consumption
I have cut back on how many courses, workshops, podcasts I consume. It still important to keep in touch with your industry and keep learning, but not at the expense of creating your work. Creation must come first.
- Sleep is important
Don’t work yourself into the ground. There is a reason for why you need to sleep.
- So honour yourself and your craft and give it the respect it deserves. You can only create from a fresh, well-replenished source.
- If you are drained and tired, your writing will also be draining and tiring to read. Your business will also feel like a burden.
- Live Life
Routines and rituals are good but its good to mix it up a bit.
- I was getting bored with my writing because I was too fixated on writing down the words and I forgot to live, enjoy life and be flexible. Allow yourself to be flexible with your structure.
- I’m now moving towards dictation so that I can get my words out quicker and faster at the start of the day. It’s also a healthier way to write (less wrist/ arm strains).
- Take a break
Writing is hard work. You are squeezing your writing muscles and working them to the max when you are creating and writing.
- And like any other muscle in the body which is overworked, it can become strained, fatigued and tired to the point it stops working. The muscles spasm up.
- In my case, this is the point where I just didn’t have the motivation to write. I was tired. And I needed a break.
- So I took a few days off. I did something different. I spent time outdoors and didn’t go near my laptop. I read some trashy celeb magazines guilt free and I indulged in reading books on my Kindle. After a few days, my writing muscle recovered and when it was ready, urged me gently back to the keyboard.
Write till you need to rest. And rest till you feel the urge to write again.
How do you stay motivated to achieve your goals? Please join in the conversation by posting a comment below or like and share.