Feeling overwhelmed? Panicked?
Frustrated by trying to juggle life, writing and the business of being an author?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Author Overwhelm is a common and not unsurprising side-effect of being an author today. Beat Author Overwhelm with this informative, honest and practical guide that’s full of tips and techniques to become more focused and less stressed. Together, we’ll help you form an action plan that’ll help you manage your time, social media, marketing and actually getting those words written.
A SPA Girls Guide: Kick Author Overwhelm To The Curb is out now!
Read an excerpt below …
What Are The Consequences of Author Overwhelm?
Holy Cow, I’m Losing My Mind!
Before we go any further, we want to talk about why author overwhelm can be such a problem. Aside from the fact that it can make you feel awful, both inside your head and physically, there are a few very serious consequences…
Author burnout is actually pretty common—we just don’t talk about it all that much. While you’re trying to make it, you’re generally doing a lot of work for free, pushing yourself to spend time at the keyboard while living with hopes and dreams that it’s all going to work out. Sometimes it happens as you expect, sometimes it doesn’t. But when everything seems too much, you can’t focus and writing just seems way too hard. That’s when you’re most likely to burn out.
This is when you’re staring at the screen and nothing is happening. You’ve lost your creative mojo, and all you can write is…nothing! Most often, this is when you’re feeling panicky, unbalanced or on edge, and is a direct result of author overwhelm.
Depression and anxiety
If you can’t focus, you won’t be achieving what you want to achieve, and everything can seem to be slipping away from you…that’s when the depression and anxiety can kick in. It’s a sliding scale, but this can lead to some serious issues for your wellbeing, and we really don’t want you to go there if you can help it.
Giving up entirely
Occasionally writers whisper to each other about a friend or acquaintance who actually gave up writing. Perhaps they moved on and decided to try something else instead. For some people, this might be the best decision they could have made. But for other people, it’s not because they didn’t have the talent or the will to succeed—they just became too overwhelmed to continue on.
We’re here to stop that happening to you!
FROM THE SPA GIRLS
Everyone experiences author overwhelm, but different problems cause each of us to turn into jittery balls of Jell-O. We’re all unique, right? So it makes sense that our pain points are unique to each of us as well.
I have a few general neuroses that hit me all the time. The main one is “OMG no one will read it!” closely followed by “She’s way more successful than me, why can’t I be that good?” Marketing is enough to make me go hide in the bathroom, and I’m always having thoughts like, “How can I hope to get my books noticed when there is soooo much competition?” and “I suck at this.”
Some days it’s more about my mindset. I tell myself, “It’s just toooo hard.” (Usually with the bed covers over my head.) And I also have a pretty strong competitive streak, so the thought “Why is that book winning all those competitions and not me?” often floats across my mind. (On the heels of that thought comes “Perhaps if you entered it would help?”)
I could go on, but as I want you to take me seriously, I think it best to stop here.
The first thing is to realize that whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. There is no right or wrong way to avoid author overwhelm, there’s no right or wrong way to become an author, and there’s no right or wrong way to deal with the results of being overwhelmed. Everyone experiences it, and it affects everyone differently. What we’re giving here are some examples of the ways we’ve dealt with it, so that you can find ways to make it work for you.
I don’t like to muck around with things. I get frustrated by inaction. Which all sounds good, until you find that you can’t move forward until you take the time from writing the story to learn. To be better at your craft, and to achieve something you will be proud of.
All the hard work and the long hours make sense when you see your book on a screen or in your hand. Believe this – it’s worth it.
When I look at my own writing and publishing stacked up against the other SPA Girls I get that hot, prickly, uncomfortable feeling—equal parts inspiration, embarrassment and shame.
They’re the inspirational part. Heck, they’re actually producing and publishing great stories, while dealing with busy, complicated lives. The embarrassment and shame is that while I can talk a good game, I’m so far behind them on the publishing front, it’s not funny. Or inspirational. We (I) joke that I’m like the weak antelope at the back of the herd, running behind them frantically trying to keep up.
I’ve always been hampered by the twin Achilles heels of perfectionism and procrastination.
And you know what? That’s okay.
Because we’re all human and we all have different talents. My author overwhelm comes very much from internal, negative self-talk and thoughts. I’m not fast enough, not good enough, OMG what if someone I know reads this and hates it—or worse, what if someone I know reads this and actually likes it?
I had wrapped up my self-identity in ‘being a writer’, and after continually ‘failing’ at producing and publishing work for so long, I wasn’t able to see the bigger picture: that I’m producing successfully in other fields, and all the self-flagellation in the world ain’t gonna get this train rolling. It hasn’t worked for the past *cough* forty-something years, and it ain’t gonna work in the future.
Time to change the record.
I’ve spent many years working on this aspect of myself and will share in this book what’s really worked for me.
We’ve put together a whole heap of (hopefully) positive encouragement, useful advice and resources in this book. For me, I’d like to give you, gentle reader, a big hug and say…
Welcome to being a writer.
You can do this. You are not alone.
I’m the ambitious one in the group.
And I don’t mean to say that the other SPA Girls don’t have goals and haven’t achieved a whole lot, because they have, surpassing me by light years in many areas. What I mean is that I have high expectations of myself and what I can achieve. This is sometimes the very thing that hampers me, and causes me to stumble.
I want to do everything, right now. Yesterday, if possible. I take on too much, and I’m impatient to have it all done. Oh, and I have a terrible time saying no to other people. Did I mention I faff about, doing a little bit of a lot of things and never finishing anything? Oh, and then there’s the fact I have to learn about three new programs to update myself to the latest technology in the industry. Oh and…
Well, anyway, you get the idea.
There’s this big to-do list sitting on my desk, with about fifty-plus things on it. Every one of them is important and I know I must get them all completed if I’m going to make it in self-publishing land. I’ve started a few of them, changed my mind, and started another couple. I’ve dabbled and fussed and thought about it all in great detail. But nothing is finished.
Does this sound familiar?
It’s where I ended up last year after I quit my job and went full time as a writer (mostly—I have a five-year-old daughter who also needs some attention). I knew all the things I had to get done so I could start being a successful self-publisher. But instead of getting to work, I ended up stalled. I had so much to do, I couldn’t do anything at all.
In the end I managed to work through my overwhelm and get back on track. It was simple, hugely effective, and I’ll tell you exactly what I did later in this book.
That’s the kind of advice we’re planning to give you. Simple, effective solutions to get you back in the writer’s seat, pumping out those works of genius.
I hope you come along for the ride!
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