Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG: Overwhelmed


This month for insecure writer's support group, I realized I had a big topic, a huge, colossal, giant of an insecurity/problem that I could share.

I feel overwhelmed.

My novel revision feels like it's gone off the tracks, and I need a crane or maybe a wrecking ball to fix it.

My journal entry yesterday consisted of stuff like this: I managed to make four phone calls, fold laundry, grade three assignments, plan half of a lesson, and write four e-mails, but I still have four phone calls, three loads of laundry, 25 assignments to grade, 2 and 1/2 lessons to plan, and multiple e-mails just waiting for me.

My husband is sick with the flu, and my kids and I are too. Plus, my hypothyroid medicine isn't working right, and I meet with the doctor tomorrow to figure it out, and tomorrow just isn't coming soon enough.

I've been forgetting things.

I've been losing things. (like my mind, maybe?)

In short, I feel overwhelmed.

On Monday, I started making lists. On Tuesday, my list felt ginormous. It's Wednesday, and today's list doesn't seem smaller.

However, the lists help. It seems like the only thing I can do to manage the mountain of stuff that needs to get done. And I need to manage it so I have time to write, even if my second novel currently needs a wrecking ball.

So, have you ever felt overwhelmed? Ever felt the need for a wall sized list? Or the need for a wrecking ball revision experience?

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting IWSG, and encouraging writers everywhere!

31 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry you're sick and overwhelmed!
I just tell myself that if it all doesn't get done, it will be all right. Especially this past few weeks with my third release and the IWSG site opening. I didn't do all I wanted to for either, but it's all right. Look at your list and know that some things won't get done and it's all right.

Tonja Matney said...

I am right there with you if that helps. I am trying to keep the faith that things will ease up and that working through the list a little every day will eventually get me to the bottom.

I re-follow with my new ID. My new blog is http://tonjamatney.blogspot.com

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Hang in there!

I like lists, too, but I've learned to tier them - the most important tasks at the top, the others below. Not everything is going to get done - we have to accept that! - but this way the have to's and the need to's do. :)

Hope you feel better soon!

T. Drecker said...

So sorry you're sick. That definitely isn't helping your over-whelmedness either. At those times, I step back and remind myself that I can only do what I can do. And that every day ends and a new one starts - everything belongs to the past at one time.
And about forgetting things - Lol! my mind is a holey wonder :)

E.J. Wesley said...

Lady, any honest person would feel massively overwhelmed with all the things you've listed here! It's not a failure or shortcoming on your part by any means.

Writing is a higher order process, so you're not going to be able to focus on it until you're certain the kids are fed, the sick spouse is taken care of, and you have some sleep.

My suggestion would be to focus on those daily things that have to get done to make you and your family run. Give yourself 100% permission to put your project aside with no guilt (if you start feeling even a little guilty or pressured to get back to writing, give yourself a mental slap and stop).

If you do get even a speck of 'you' time, don't run back to your manuscript. Read. Watch a movie. Listen to music in a dark room. Go for a walk. Whatever it is that charges your creative batteries, do it. In a few weeks you'll get your head back above water, and you'll be dying to get back into your manuscript without all of the mental exhaustion on top of you.

Hope things even out soon!

~EJ

Sandy Campbell said...

Feeling overwhelmed is apart of my everyday life now days. Not just like yours, but in a different way.
I think we all want to do more, and already have much on our plates...and it produces that overwhelmed, panicky feeling of wondering if we can get it all done...the way we scheduled it.
While I am not into a novel/book like you are, I have set a goal to get it down by the end of this next new year. Along with other things....Sandy

J.L. Campbell said...

Sounds like a writer's life, but on top of that you're sick. I'm hoping you feel better soon. Maybe it would help if you slowed down a little. I find that I tend to feel overwhelmed when I'm pushing too hard to finish a book, edit another and keep up with promo stuff, plus normal everyday living. Hope you find some balance and that you and your doctor find out what's gone wrong.

Quanie Miller said...

At times like these you just have to tell yourself that whatever you don't get done didn't need to get done in the first place. And I've felt that way about revisions at some point (I did a page one rewrite. No fun!). So I understand how you feel. For now just focus on getting some rest. You'll figure out the rest later.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I can so relate. I've been crazy busy and overtired and forgetting things I never forget. I'm using lists too to help. And I think when you feel better, it will all seem more manageable. So take a break and get better. Then tackle the things that can wait.

Brandon Ax said...

OH man yes. I think it just comes with it. My only advice is ride the wave. This too shall pass.

Laura said...

Lists always help me when I feel overwhelmed, and my timetable too. There's just something about organising the things I need to do, even if there is a lot of them, that calms me down a little. For a while, anyway! Good luck with everything you need to do, you'll get there :)

Chrys Fey said...

When you feel overwhelmed it's best to take a giant step back. Try to relax for a moment. Even an hour of rest will make you feel better. Then focus on one thing at a time. It is much easier if you devote your attention to one thing instead of splitting yourself among multiple tasks. Take a deep breath, take a nap, then work on one thing at a time. Good luck, and I hope your husband and kids get better soon!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - Thanks! I do just need to let a few things go, or at least get moved to a later date.

Tonja - yes, getting closer to the bottom of the list definitely helps.

Madeline - Tiering my lists would definitely help. Thanks!

T. Drecker - glad my mind is the only one! :) And yes, you're right, I need to be a little realistic with my lists.

EJ - love your comment. It made me smile. Thank you! :)

Sandy - yes, sometimes the goals and the lists need to be set back a bit. And focusing on the needs instead of the dreams is sometimes a necessary thing.

JL - Thanks! I feel like I've slowed down already, but I think I need to take some time just to have "creative" moments instead of pushing to force the project through.

Quanie - Thanks! Rest sounds good.

Natalie - good plan. That's definitely what I need to do.

Brandon - ride the wave. :) That statement was great . . . I need to think of it as a wave and not something that's going to stick around.

Laura - yes, I need to add a timetable to my lists. Thanks for the reminder! Thank you! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Chrys - Thanks! I definitely need to take a step back and get my creativity bucket filled somehow. :)

S.K. Anthony said...

I can't add anything wiser to the above comments but I can offer you a big ((HUG))

Hope this all passes soon. :-/

Julie Luek said...

Oh ailing family is not fun. Hugs-- hate when life feels like a train wreck! :(

Michelle Wallace said...

Guaranteed that this is temporary!
In a few weeks, you'll look back, and this feeling of being overwhelmed will be a thing of the past... a fading memory...
Hang in there!
Writer In Transit

Michelle Wallace said...

Guaranteed that this is temporary!
In a few weeks, you'll look back, and this feeling of being overwhelmed will be a thing of the past... a fading memory...
Hang in there!
Writer In Transit

M Pax said...

Yes, I feel overwhelmed often. The demands on our time as writers [and nothing else] are incredible. I put on blinders and attack smaller bites at a time. I panic less with smaller chunks in front of me. Sounds like you're starting to get a handle on it.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Tyrean, so sorry that you have so much to cope with. As others suggest, a step at a time, and you sound as though that is just what you are doing.

Lynda R Young said...

Yep, I'm totally familiar with this feeling. The best thing to do is be kind to yourself and just take one step at a time.

Kim Lajevardi said...

Overwhelmed sounds par for the course. I hope you and your family feel better soon.

Great IWSG post!

jamieayres.com said...

Overwhelmed seems to be my constant state these days . . . and tired. I just wish the zombies would come eat my brain so I wouldn't have to worry about any of this anymore ;-)

jamieayres.com said...

Overwhelmed seems to be my constant state these days . . . and tired. I just wish the zombies would come eat my brain so I wouldn't have to worry about any of this anymore ;-)

Morgan said...

Oh gosh...

YES.

When I get to the point where I can't function anymore, I step back. I *have* to. I let writing go and focus on what's more important. Because it's usually the writing that triggers my stress. (Even though it's the one thing that also relieves my stress) I guess it's a twisted balance... I wish I had the answer.

Heather Holden said...

I often feel overwhelmed, too. My planner helps keep me a tiny bit sane, but there still never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything!

Siv Ottem said...

Lately, as in the past two years since I started my first novel, I have felt overwhelmed and it does not go away. So I have this mantra that helps...I say it at least once a day. Things take time...TTT. Don't be to hard on yourself!

Jackie said...

Oh, yes, I'm in that boat, too! So much has went on, just in this week alone, that I feel like I'm drowning. *sigh* But we'll get through it, right? We will! :)

Julie Flanders said...

I'm so sorry you are all sick. I hope you and the rest of the family are all over the flu soon. I'm sure that just makes everything seem even more overwhelming. Take care!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Sorry you're hypothyroid medicine isn't working right, Tyrean and I hope your meeting with the doctor tomorrow goes well. A list helps a lot.

cleemckenziebooks said...

Overwhelmed is a word that strikes a chord with me, Tyrean. So sorry.