Peggy Bechko on the Writer’s Curse: Overthinking


by Peggy Bechko

Yeah, it’s a curse. And, it’s much worse for some people than others. Overthinking pretty much everything and that includes writing. Or maybe it’s especially writing, I don’t know. But a while back a novel writing friend of mine asked me if I had trouble with over thinking. So I thought about it and probably overthought about it. And that’s where we all get stuck.

We’re all guilty of it at times. I mean hasn’t there been a time when perhaps you were waiting for someone to arrive at a party you were giving, someone very special to you and he/she didn’t show up? So you immediately start thinking. Did this person just say they’d come? Was that person blowing me off? Did I do something to offend? And the brain goes on and on. But you can put a stop to that in life and in writing. Look of the person didn’t show up and didn’t have the decency to call (this IS the cell phone age) then return to the other guests and forget it. Move on. Refocus.

Now, how does that apply to screenwriters, novel writers and the like? Well, the trick here is to stop the overthinking and letting your brain wander in fruitless circles. Don’t think about it too much, just do something. Act with confidence and your writing will blossom. If you find yourself overthinking, focusing on some bit of minutia and going in circles maybe you just need to turn your back on it for a while. Take a walk, go get a cup of tea. Get the blood flowing or find a way to relax. You can’t force creativity but you can let it relax.

Then maybe have a conversation with yourself. What do you want to accomplish? How soon do you want to accomplish that? You got the original idea from somewhere, therefore you’re the one to write it and write it well. So if you give yourself some goals, know what you want to accomplish, break it into smaller pieces, it is a much more direct path to breaking through overthinking.

Your imagination wants to come out and play. If you get hung up on the bits and pieces instead of moving your story forward you’ll trap yourself in a never ending spiral. Sometimes we, as writers have to accept a gig won’t work out, that no matter how much you think and overthink it’s not going to happen. So it’s necessary to draw some lines in the sand. Bad writing partner? Move on. Got a contract writing gig with a bad boss? Do it, bull through it, don’t sign up with him or her again. Keep working. Guard your confidence. Believe in your abilities and the story you’re creating.

What happens when you leave someone or some project behind? Don’t think about it. You have other things on your plate. Like your newest story idea and how you’re going to pitch it to producers or editors.

As Walt Disney is famed to have said – Keep Moving Forward! Do that and the overthinking will shrink away to allow your script or novel to emerge.

Banish the curse of overthinking.

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

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