Writing a good book takes a long time. And, the longer we work at any one project, the more we get tired and bored of it. Add to that the feeling of utter overwhelm that I see in entrepreneurs and professionals.
Not only do you need to come up with new words on a blank page to meet word counts or deadlines, but you also need to build your platform, blog, network, speak, oh yes, and run your business or rock your day job. Furthermore, none of us live in a bubble; we have families to raise or visit social lives, and we’re all influenced by the news cycles that seem to be getting more stressful every day. Life is overwhelming!
How do we get past the overwhelm and finish the book? Here are some tools to help you:
Chunk it Down
Instead of looking at blank pages thinking you need to fill 300 pages, break your goal down to bite-sized pieces. If you want to write 50,000 words in six months, only on weekdays, then put 370 words on your to-do list. The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behavior.
Find Your Tribe
Writing can be lonely. But it is not only lonely; it can be bad for our mental health. Humans are social beings, and it can be difficult to be on our own all day with no one to talk to or bounce ideas off of. Sharing your writing goals with an accountability group or checking in with a writing coach is a great way to ward off isolation. Get dressed and go out to a coffee shop or neighbourhood park to write. Talk to other people around you, even if it’s not about writing.
Take a Break
When life gets too overwhelming, take time to pause. Thinking time is crucial to writers. We need to refill our motivation and inspiration stores. And if overwhelm is flirting with depression or anxiety seek professional help. Depending on the topic of our work, we might get caught peeling the scab off old wounds. If that’s the case, we must be gentle with ourselves.
But Not Too Long of a Break
Motivation runs on momentum. It is much easier to accelerate our bicycle from coasting than it is from a complete stop. You don’t want to take such a long pause that you are stuck starting over from zero.
When writing a book remember to take it one step at a time. It’s a process, and it’s not one that needs to be done in isolation. If you find yourself continually feeling overwhelmed take note of what could be causing you to have these feelings. What are your best tools to deal with overwhelm in your life? Mindfulness and meditation? Exercise? Prayer? Whatever healthy habits you turn to when you need to tackle a stressful task, remember to use it when you are overwhelmed in your writing.
If you feel overwhelmed at starting your book, get started by downloading a free Outline eBook – it’s where your book begins.