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Overcome Overwhelm by Rochelle Melander

Muffin helping me edit.

Muffin helping me edit.

I’ve been discouraged lately. My novel needs to be revised, and I’m not quite sure how I want to approach it. With all of the changes going on in the publishing world, I worry about the future of books and publishing. And I’m tired of tuning into social media and being barraged by constant self-promotion.

I’m not alone. In the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to quite a few writers who are overwhelmed by juggling writing, sorting out publishing options, and mastering social media. It’s hard to figure out what to do. And this constant wonder and worry creates stress. So, I’ve been seeking comfort and inspiration in the usual places—books, movies, art, and nature. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you the tips and tools I find to overcome overwhelm. Today’s tip—rest.

When I feel overwhelmed by either life or writing, I tend to dig in and try harder. Maybe you can relate: Can’t figure out what happens next in the novel? Stare at it until a plot emerges. Wondering how to boost business? Spend hours surfing freelance writing websites until dizzy. Not sure how to focus social media efforts? Look at everyone’s shiny, happy photos on Facebook until you’re truly depressed.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown recommends that when we feel exhausted and overwhelmed, we can get relief by being deliberate about our thoughts, getting inspired to make new choices, and taking action.

So instead of working harder, we might take this advice:

The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines. —Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

I love that! So here’s the plan, writers. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, ask yourself: what do I really need? If a twenty-minute mini vacation would help, try this:

Muffin exploring my writing rest stop.

Muffin exploring my writing rest stop.

Create a writing rest stop in your house. Stock it with fun magazines and tasty snacks. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take a twenty-minute break and visit the rest stop. Sip a cool drink and read about how to organize your spice drawer or what to do in Cancun, Mexico. When you feel less frantic and more focused, return to writing.

Your turn: What’s your favorite magazine to relax with? Leave your titles in the comments below.

P. S. If you still feel overwhelmed and confused, send me an email. I offer complimentary consultations and have helped many writers figure out the complicated questions on the road to publishing success!


4 Responses

  1. Lynne Howe

    only one favorite magazine? I actually like all three of the draft horse magazines that have accepted submissions from me: Rural Heritage, Draft Horse Journal, and Small Farmer’s Journal. but to sit and just read? that would probably be Mother Earth News followed very closely by AcresUSA. and then of course there is the one with which I start my day, and that’s the Upper Room daily devotional guide!

    1. writenowcoach

      Wow, what a great list of magazines. I love hearing about periodicals I do not read, because it expands my horizons. Thank you for pointing out some I have never heard of! (Really!) I love Real Simple and The Smithsonian Magazine.

  2. Kathy Hart

    Great post! My days have also felt overwhelming recently, and I appreciate your reminder to relax. My favorite magazine is Cooking Light. Something about looking a beautifully photographed food and then coming up with a menu plan. It’s fun, and it gets me away from the writing world for a little.

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