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  • Writer's pictureCate

When Things Get Too Much... or, some advice to give myself when feeling a little overwhelmed

In my last post, I wrote about ten tips to spark creativity, which is always something we can fall back on no matter what our creative field...

...because there will always be dark times.

I’ve read a lot about setting up a routine or developing a disciplined approach to writing, just ‘showing up’, no matter what, and getting your writing done. Right back at the beginning of my ongoing series of How To Write a Novel posts, I even wrote about persistence. These are all valid things to remember, and writing is a business, and the first part of that business is to get some writing done.

Sometimes, however, life takes over, and things can just get too much.

What ‘too much’ is can mean different things to different people, and can even mean different things at different times.

A couple of months ago, I was riding on a high of positivity. I’d got stuck into an editing project on a favourite story that I’m hoping will eventually see the light of day, but I know needs some real work. It was school holidays, so I had a bit of extra time, and I was making the most of it. First and foremost, though, I had identified some sticking points in my life and set some goals about how to move forward. I felt great.

Fast forward to this last week.

This week, it all Got Too Much.

Note one, I haven’t found the time to look at my manuscript since school went back in, and, note two, somewhere along the way I realised that I was on the wrong track with my rewrite. I posted on facebook about ‘that moment of piercing clarity when you realise that the six opening chapters that you have painstakingly rewritten in stolen moments could easily be rewritten in one or two carefully chosen and concise sentences... and you could just get on with the story’... so much for the realisation, I’ve been in a state of writing paralysis ever since.

So, like any good overthinking introvert, I’ve been beating myself up over it, which is not healthy for creativity either.

My thinking, I realise – suddenly, in the early hours of this morning – has been flawed.

One. I really don’t need to beat myself up. I just need to keep going forward. I can come back to the opening later.

Two. I can give myself credit for all the Things that have contributed to the Getting of Too Much.

I won’t go into detail, but there is my day job as a teacher, which has not been the least stressful place in the world this year, there is my 24 by 7 Mum job, which has demanded a lot extra attention and in the last six months has expanded to include being his home-based school-teacher, too, which is great, but I really need to give it time, and there is me, which is trying to improve the chances of forwarding my career right out of teaching and into writing as a profession with some extra study, and, er, me, which seems to be getting a little rusty round the edges and managed to get sick (again).

Et cetera.

These Things are not excuses. These Things are Life.

I choose these Things.

Okay, maybe not the getting sick part. I could do without that.

So, today, I’m going to treat myself well.

I’m going to start by congratulating myself on the writing I have done for the two online courses I’m doing, for the blog posts I’ve written on this and another blog, and for rediscovering my own spark (in the early hours of this morning).

In a minute, I’m going to go and sort out breakfast, then bring myself another cuppa back to my study, pick up the manuscript, re-read where I am up to, and move forward.

Maybe only a little bit.

But forward.

Because When Things Get Too Much, the most important thing to do is acknowledge it, recognise that Life is sending you a message, then decide what you can do until Things are Back in Balance.

And breathe.

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