11 August 2014

Over-thinking It

First of all--holy crap! I didn't know a day of blogging could make you exhausted, but then last Wednesday happened. My IWSG post had the most views and comments that I've ever had (as of today, 61 comments! 61!), and since I spent the whole day also visiting dozens and dozens of other blogs, I had to sleep in the next day and on Friday I was kind of burnt out so I didn't even write a blog post. I also really appreciate everyone's thoughts and advice on my setting/research insecurities. The general consensus pretty much went along with what I felt in my gut in the first place--keep doing research but ultimately, be true to the story. The details I was worried about shouldn't be enough to have anyone calling me out on it.

So it seems that I over-think things. A lot. I suppose that's better than NOT thinking about things, since at least I'm paying attention to the details in my own story, but if you do it too much, it can weigh you down to the point where you're not getting anything done.

My problem right now is that I'm over-thinking my entire editing process. I've tried several different techniques (the editing hat!) to try to organize myself, and it just doesn't seem to work. I don't feel like I'm getting anything done. And yes, part of that is just making myself sit down and actually do the work, but when I actually do sit down, I don't even know where to start.

I spend more time thinking about editing than actually doing it. And I don't mean brainstorming, productive type of thinking. Trying to figure out what to do usually just leads to frustration and eventually giving up. But NOT working on it makes me even more frustrated. And if I go too long without doing any writing, it usually leads to depression, which makes it harder to start writing again. So it's a vicious cycle.

Maybe my underlying problem is being indecisive. I really just need to sit down and pick something to work on. Anything. Rewriting particular sentences I didn't like. Working on the subplot. Searching for words I overused and cutting them. Rearranging scenes in a chapter. I just need to pick something and not actually think about it. Usually I get too caught up in it, for example--if I choose to do the search and cut thing, I'll think to myself, well, what if I end up cutting this scene later? Aren't I wasting my time right now? Or I'll think, I can't work on this part until I figure out this other part, but that other part is really hard so I don't want to work on it right now.

I think I get so caught up in thinking about editing that it gets frustrating to the point where I don't want to work on it at all. I really just need to stop thinking about it, and just do it. So that's what I'm going to try today. We'll see how it goes.


  1. I spent the better part of four weeks going through grueling job interviews, and they always ask that dreaded question: "What is your biggest weakness?" Mine is over-thinking. I tend to second guess myself.

    Just doing it - right or wrong - is a good way to tackle it. Because even if it's wrong, you can at least now FIX it. At the very least, it's progress, right?

  2. Starting is half the battle. Just take a small section and tackle one aspect and see what happens.

  3. A little burnt after IWSG Wednesday? Welcome to my world...
    I fix stuff I might later have to cut. But it gets me in the process. Just jump in and start somewhere.

    1. Well today's lovely internet connection won't allow me to comment, so I'm replying instead. More ways to skin a cat than one. As to comments: the more the merrier. The more you get the busier you become. Upside and downside of this blogging business.

  4. Wow, sounds like you were rocking the visiting. I barely manage to make it to about 20 or so blogs on IWSG day.

    I understand the stalling out. It's like you have so much to do that you don't know where to start, so you end up getting nothing done. That happens with me and my housework. I hope you figure out a jumping point!

  5. First, I totally smiled at Alex's comment. =) And I can imagine that you were a little crispy after hosting the massiveness that is IWSG, so well done! Have you tried the writing things down on index cards thing yet? I haven't done it before, but I'm going to do it w/my next revision. I'm thinking if I tap each chapter up on the wall, being able to visually see it might help me. Or freak me out...Dunno, we'll see! =)

  6. I over-thing things too; that's why I'm neurotic. :) I think I heard an author years ago who said that he kept an "extras" folder; that is, when he was editing, he put all the things that he cut from his first draft into a separate document. That way, he could still save what he wrote and possibly use them in a later draft or a different story. That made editing easier for him.

  7. I agree with Alex, just jump in it. After I've put a "the end," I just start from the top and start scratching, cutting, pasting, etc. Editing should only be emotionally hard. lol

  8. Take a deep breath and just do it! Easier said than done, I know, but it's the best way to go about it.

    IWSG Day can do that to you... :)

  9. Hi, Sarah,
    In anything to do with writing and editing, starting is the hardest part for me. As long as I start thinking and analyzing, I never get anything done. Also, when I do edit, I have to pick one thing to focus on, otherwise I go off doing 2-3 things at a time, which doesn't work for me.

    Hope you manage to make some progress.