I overthink everything. I over analyse past, current and future situations. I obsess about the reactions from others, sometimes even strangers.
When people say that I look like I have a lot on my mind, I laugh and say, ‘I have a lot on my mind ALL the time.’
Back in June I published my first novel after years of overthinking the act of writing a book.
So, I now feel it’s time to share what I have learnt.
If your mind loves to overthink stuff and you are keen to write your first book, here’s your handy guide from an experienced overthinker.
In bold are the statements from the overthinker:
What will my family and friends think about me writing a book?
I struggled with this and tried to keep my writing separate from friends and family due to an excessive amount of overthinking
What will they think about me writing a book?
Will they laugh at the prospect of me writing a book?
Do they secretly think I am a crap writer?
Seriously I overthought the hell out of this.
The long and short of it is that the majority of people will respect you for pursuing a life dream. There will be a few who might think they are the world’s funniest comedian and make a few terrible jokes – but that’s it!
I have also found people lead busy lives and believe it or not they don’t spend their supermarket shop wandering down the confectionary aisle wondering what sort of book you will write.
I now wish I had just told everyone and got it over and done with. I reckon a good six months were wasted by me sat stewing over what the world reaction was going to be to me writing a book.
I haven’t got time to write a book as it would mean sacrificing valuable family time.
This is a tough one and normally comes with a bucket load of guilt. I overthought this to death.
My kids will start performing badly at school if I spend an hour every evening writing my book.
How will my family cope if I did something for myself a few evenings a week?
I feel so selfish for sitting at the kitchen table and writing while the kids are playing.
Here’s the deal. Your kids and loved ones will not be psychologically traumatised by you carving out a bit of time a few times a week to write.
I found I was a happier mummy after working on my novel. Once you start getting to know other writers you will see that we all make it work, somehow.
Getting my first piece of negative feedback will be the end of me, so I can’t write a book.
I used to sit and visualise strangers reading my writing and making faces of disgust. I imagined them chucking it on a bonfire or running away screaming from my pile of literary wrongs. Hours were wasted overthinking negative feedback on a book I had not even written.
They will hate what I have written.
I think I will die if someone criticises my work.
I can’t do this because someone will hate my work.
Everyone gets negative feedback. It’s a given.
You will weep over some feedback, you will cry with joy, you will cartwheel around the back garden and then run into the street to hug a neighbour after other feedback. You want to quit at times and you will spend days moping. All natural and we have all been there.
It’s only words on a page. You will still be alive after reading it. It will sting but it’s up to you with how you deal with it.
In my experience eat some tasty sweets while reading any sort of feedback. I really like eating fizzy cola bottles. Negative feedback will sting for a few days but like an insect sting in a few days the pain wears off.
Here’s the game changer for me. Taking the emotion out of the negative feedback I have received and using it constructively has been where my writing has changed. You will enter this weird hunger for pain because it’s this stuff which can make you a better writer.
I haven’t been a journalist or have a degree in creative writing so I can’t write a book.
I overthought this subject to death.
I only got a C at English A Level
I have spent years working on insurance, I don’t have the skills to write a book.
I didn’t study journalism.
I am not qualified to write.
Believe it or not some of the best authors I know haven’t got journalism degrees or creative writing qualifications. They still produce amazing stuff.
This is just an excuse not to write. I used this for years before I started my blog. I overthought not having a degree in journalism so much I wasted time. What you need is writing experience and the motivation to write.
I don’t know any other writers so I can’t write a book.
I can’t do this when no one else writes.
I need writing friends.
I don’t belong to a writing group.
After months of overthinking this, I finally took the plunge and started my blog. It was my way of reaching out to fellow writers. I didn’t know anyone.
You don’t need to know writers when you first start, you just need to write.
You don’t even need to start a blog. Simply go on Twitter and interact with other writers. Everyone is so nice and encouraging.
I haven’t got any good ideas so I can’t write a book.
I had a field day with this and overthinking.
To be a writer you need to have good ideas.
I find thinking up my shopping list a challenge so I can’t write a book.
All the good ideas have been taken.
Ideas come to you when you are not thinking about writing a book. They come to you at bizarre and sometimes inconvenient moments.
The more you work on an idea the deeper you will go. They are like doors in that they open up to new worlds and people.
The more you practice writing the more susceptible you will be to new ideas.
It will be crap so I won’t bother writing a book.
My brain went to town on this from the age of twenty to forty. What a waste of time overthinking!
I just know what I write will be rubbish.
Everyone will laugh at me.
I will end up binning it after the first chapter.
Your first ever draft probably will be rubbish. You might as well except this. Editing and rewriting are where things change.
Overthinking gets you nowhere and makes you waste precious time. Stop thinking about all the possible outcomes and write your book!
Believe me, it’s one of the most fulfilling things you will ever do!
I hope this post encourages one overthinker somewhere to start writing ❤️