When I first started writing, it was commonplace for me to experience a form of writer’s block. Even on topics that I know a lot about, I still had trouble coming up with something. Then I realized, I was overthinking the project. Now, more than four years later, I started to have the same problem when writing stories on Wattpad. Overthinking anything can easily prevent success. It’s being able to identify when this is happening that can help you fix the problem.
4 Things Which Promote Overthinking
Overthinking a project can be easy, especially for those of you who are new to ghostwriting. Even a novelist can put too much effort into trying to develop a story line. Here are a few things that can easily cause you to put too much thought into the process.
Impressing a Client
As a ghostwriter, the potential for making money is greater with the more clients you have. As such, you want every piece to be a golden ticket to financial freedom. Unfortunately, this can cause you to put far too much thought into developing a piece. Sure, it may sparkle like a diamond in a coal mine. However, it can also reduce your productivity and make the experience less profitable in the long run. Instead of averaging $20 per hour, it could slow you down to $11 an hour. That’s a big difference in the grand scheme of things.
Much like trying to impress clients, those who center around writing stories or blogs often worry about impressing the readers. Is there enough detail? Is there too much detail? Does this paragraph flow into the next evenly? A lot of writers will worry so much about what everyone else will think that they wind up making the project far more complicated than it needed to be. You’ll undoubtedly need to make revisions and edits when writing a novel. Just don’t dwell on trying to make it shine in the first draft. There is such a thing as too much polish.
Focusing too Much on Success
Overthinking can be a result of focusing too much on trying to be successful. It’s unlikely that a new writer will experience instant success. Worrying about making money, receiving visitors or developing fans on Wattpad is going to affect your work. I am guilty of this one. Do you know how many stories I’ve tossed in the trash because I didn’t believe they were good enough to be a success? If I would have published them, who knows what would have happened? Instead, I was worried about myself being an instant hit. It wasn’t until late 2012 that I thought about writing for the sake of writing.
The Idea of Get-Rich-Quick
Money is a motivator for a lot of people to try their hand at writing. I got into ghostwriting so I could pad my weekly paycheck with a few extra dollars. I had high hopes of increasing my average income by four or five times. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It took over a year to get to a point where I could replace my regular full-time income, which was just over minimum wage. Focusing too much on making money led me to start overthinking various projects. As a result, my writing was greatly affected. You can’t focus on the money if you want to be successful. It will come on its own if you put in the effort to be a professional.
6 Ways in Which Overthinking Can Make Success Difficult
When you put too much thought into any given project, it can cause a variety of problems. Dwelling too much on trying to be a “star” will affect your abilities. Here are just a few that I’ve experienced for myself or have witnessed first hand.
- Decreased Productivity
Overthinking will lead to taking too long to finish a project. Whether it’s for a client or writing your own novel, time is always against you if you want to be successful.
- Writer’s Block
When you overthink a project, it’s easy to succumb to writer’s block. This is when you’re stuck looking at a screen trying to come up with a magnificent piece. Don’t shoot for “magnificent.” Aim for just finishing the story.
- Being Too Descriptive
In both the creative and professional writing world, there is such a thing as being too descriptive. For ghostwriting, it is often referred to as “filler” or “fluff.”
- Grammatical Mistakes
As odd as it may sound, overthinking can actually lead to various grammatical mistakes. Commas, hyphens and even word choices can destroy an otherwise good piece.
- Becoming Overcritical of Yourself
Remember what I said about tossing stuff I didn’t think was good enough? No one will know because it’s gone. Being too critical with yourself can easily stunt progress.
- Increasing Stress
Pushing yourself too hard to finish a piece can add a great deal of stress to the experience. Stress can then lead to a plethora of physical and mental issues that cloud judgement and thought.
What Can You Do to Avoid Overthinking?
One of the most difficult aspect to avoiding these kinds of issues is being able to identify when it starts to happen. As a writer, you don’t really notice it until a project has taken far longer than it needed. Luckily, my wife was able to point out some of the problems I had been facing.
Focus on the Task, but Don’t Dwell On It
Take the subject you want to create and begin with that. Brainstorming is one thing, but focusing too intently on external things like success and money can cloud your vision. Center yourself on the story or topic and resolve to provide information.
Take a Break
Never underestimate the value of a good five to ten minutes away from a project. Taking a break can help you gather your thoughts and give you a chance to clear your mind a bit. Don’t think about the project. Just enjoy the five minutes and think about something else. It’s like giving yourself a fresh perspective on what you’re trying to accomplish.
As simplistic as it sounds, I’ve found a great deal of comfort when I just write. Start with a sentence and then let everything else fall into place. You can always go back and edit it later for content and “filler.” The point is that if you spend too much time debating with yourself about how to proceed, you won’t get anything done.
Relax and Be Yourself
Once you surpass the stage of overthinking, you may find yourself in the zone while writing. When I wrote Predator and Prey, I focused on the idea and had no intention of writing it all in a single day. But then, I got into a groove and just started writing. It’s like that when I write for clients as well. Don’t worry too much about pleasing everyone or building some kind of financial empire. Concentrate more on what it is you’re trying to convey.