Peggy Bechko on Overthinking – the Writer’s Plague


by Peggy Bechko

Actually overthinking probably is pretty much everyone’s plague – but I’m talking about writers here so that’s where I’ll take this article.

Do you over think, over edit, over tweak everything you write? Yeah, it’s tough, I know. Insecurity, worry, apprehension, am-I-doing-it-right-itis.

We all do it sometime. Writers do it more often. Worry a plot, a scene, a paragraph to death.

But here’s a little tip. Don’t give yourself time to overthink. Set yourself a schedule and a deadline, keep moving, get on with your storytelling (and your life I might add) and you’ll find you write with more clarity and certainly more confidence.

Most writers have at least a touch of the ‘introvert’ which leads to a mini-crisis of confidence more often than we care to admit. So the hard core advice? Don’t think. Just do. At times it may be necessary to simply hit some keys on the keyboard to get things moving. Hey at least you can delete them later. Creativity can’t be forced, but you can give it a nudge and you can, at times, corner it.

It’s sort of like a second date. If the guy is late and doesn’t text or phone, the girl might start thinking it was something she did on that first date to put him off, but why then did he ask for a second date? But what if he reconsidered and isn’t coming?

What if, what if, what if. Normally the lifeblood of the writer, what if can be a real barricade to progress if the writer lets it get the best of him.

There are lots of things that can cause that crisis of confidence and subsequent over thinking. One of them could be you’re in a stupor of exhaustion. Bluntly, get some rest, that should do it.

But if your overthinking is due to a lack of confidence then you’re going to have to have a talk with yourself.

Look, you got a story idea. It came from somewhere and perhaps was instigated by some THING. You have to embrace the fact that it is your idea and you’re the one who’s going to do right by it. No one else could possibly do it better. Really. You’re IT. Your time and your creativity are precious. Move forward with confidence and if it’s lacking, find ways to bolster it.

Once you get a script in hand that you’re proud of, the same applies to every aspect of your writing career. Whether you’re in touch with Hollywood execs, or a publisher, don’t fall into overthinking once you’ve hit that submit button.

There’s no way for you to know if that person has had a bad day. You have no control over that just as you can’t exert any control over what someone thinks about what you’ve written. That person with script or publishing power just might have a slush pile of 60 scripts waiting to be read, or got the big time flu, or just isn’t into the story you’ve written. No matter, you’re already writing your next project, right?

Keep writing.

Keep pushing forward.

And if you find yourself in that bog of overthinking every little detail in order to slow your own progress, give yourself a little slap and get on with it. If you don’t, you run the risk of paralyzing yourself and your writing career. Write trash. It doesn’t matter. Write enough of it and you’ll write something really good.

Believe in that idea that cropped up out of somewhere. Believe in yourself. Be confident and you’ll overcome the overthinking plague.

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page