The dangers of over-thinking it (aka convincing yourself you’ve written something you haven’t yet)

English: A photo of The Thinker by Rodin locat...

English: A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My life is kind of chaos right now. It’s definitely a good chaos with exciting and wonderful things happening on fronts both personal and professional but it’s also the sort of chaos that doesn’t exactly leave me with a lot of time on my hands. Every minute is spoken for and that’s with cutting out much more sleep than is healthy. Work and writing time is something stolen here and there with very little regularity and it’s having an unexpected effect on my writing, specifically my blogging.

What I’m trying to explain here is the following phenomena that goes like this: Something happens that inspires a blog post. For a recent example, eBay sent an email where they told me to lower my prices and that enraged me. Old Hillary would have sat right down and written up a biting critique about what is wrong with eBay today and how they Don’t Get It but current Hillary doesn’t have the luxury of dropping everything to blog. So I mulled the topic over in my head for a while, thinking it out while I went about my life, and sometimes even running through some of my points out loud to the baby at nap time (because either I’ll bore her into finally going to sleep or I’ll give her an advantage in the business world… either way, win-win.).

Sound good, right? Except that when I finally got a moment when I could have written the post, which is often hours or even days after I had the original idea, I*don’t want to write it because I feel like I’ve written it already. All that mental writing and rewriting has tricked my brain into thinking I’ve already written it and that spending anymore time on it is a waste of time. So, in most cases, I don’t write it.

It’s becoming a real problem. Because I have great ideas of all kinds all day but when I sit down to actually write or blog, I feel like I have nothing but boring topics I’ve covered to death already. Except that I haven’t actually covered them at all… I just feel like I did because I’ve spent too much time thinking instead of writing. I’ve even done this with emails, planning a reply in my head until I convince myself that I’ve already replied and then… I never actually reply at all. My new ideas all feel stale by the time I write them down because I’ve gone over them in my head too many times.

As always, real life has provided a better example than I could make up and shown me the solution to this. See the little asterisk a few paragraphs ago? I made that at 3 PM when my writing was interrupted by the little one awakening unexpectedly early from her nap. I am sitting here finishing this post at 8:30 PM because this is the first chance I’ve had to get back to my computer. My train of thought is long gone and I’m literally just forcing myself to sit down and write the original idea out even though my enthusiasm for the topic is now nil.

But as I sit here and read over this post I’m realizing… it’s fine. Even if I feel like I’m repeating myself, it’s still new to you, the reader, and probably reads a bit better from my having done so many mental drafts first. So while I started this post out ready to ask you for advice, I realize that I do have some advice for you after all.

Don’t let your brain make up stupid excuses. If there’s something you want to do, or write, DO IT even if you don’t feel like it or it’s a slog because your enthusiasm’s been tempered by God Knows What. In the end, the final product will be worth the effort and your mental hang-ups won’t show through. The mere act of finishing something else is enough to give you your enthusiasm back as you bask in the satisfaction of crossing something else off your list.

Selling online since 1997, Hillary is the author of Beyond Amazon, eBay, and Etsy and The Trading Assistant’s Assistant. She is also a niche blogger, fiction writer and bestselling playwright when you aren’t looking. You can connect with Hillary via social media using any of these links:

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