Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Aaaaaarrggghhh!

Hey writers!

I know I have been MIA lately.  I didn't post on Friday and I didn't post on Monday.  Grrrrr. 

Truth is, I have been feeling a tad overwhelmed lately with writing activities!  The result has been that I have shut down.

So...Writers Weigh-In!

Sometimes we can have too many writing activities.  My list just keeps growing.  And most of the deadlines are self-inflicted.  Between writing class, critique group, critiques to return to fellow writers, grant applications, blogging, reading, reading blogs, etc I am pooped!

How do you organize it all and make sure you are productive but not over-productive?  I keep telling myself to relax.  There is no hurry.  But its difficult.



  1. Marcie, Marcie, MARCIE! Right? I feel like I'm being pulled in 72,000 directions. But, what I am learning to do (as I have definitely NOT mastered this) is, well, two things:

    1. I've had to prioritize. Which task's deadline is first, which one is going to take the least amount of time?

    2. I've had to learn to say, "NO". And, believe me, that's a word I loathe. But, in saying it to a few things this last month, I've had time/felt more free to do the things I NEED vs the millions of things I WANT to do.

    Hope this helps... It's definitely not the easiest thing! But, you can do it!!

  2. Hey, Marcie, I know how you feel. I have the Platform Builders Campaign I'm participating in, the 12 X 12 PB challenge, the A to Z Challenge in April, my daily blog posts, a PB critique I'm in the middle of right now for another writer friend, and two guest blog posts to do soon...not to mention the Read To Me visits at the schools in my area and the public library Used Book Sale I'm volunteering for and the Children's Reading Festival coming up in May where I will be working a booth. I too feel overwhelmed at times but I remind myself that I LOVE this. I am fully embracing the fact that I am a children's book writer and I have worked hard at making my presence known so that now people are coming to me and asking for me to participate in their events...I feel SO honored to be a part of this wonderful writing community!

    It is a life I have chosen and though I write everything down and fill in my calendar and sometimes want to pull my hair out, I wouldn't change a thing! My creativity feels off all this positive energy and I'm loving it!

  3. Don't be so hard on yourself, Marcie! I have some days when I don't even have the energy to water the plants! (And can't imagining ever having it again!) But then you wake up some morning and it all seems doable again. Just focus on the writing right now that means the most to you and don't worry about anything else!

  4. I overwhelm myself all the time with writing activities! Although it doesn't fix all the craziness, this is what I've started doing to get a better grip on things:

    1) Write down a list of EVERY project you HAVE to do and WANT to do for the next few months (or forseeable future depending on what you need to budget time for).

    2) Once you have that list, start breaking it up into categories. What is the most important thing on that list? Second most important? Third?

    3) Rewrite your list in order of priority. You're still going to see a big list and it can still make you feel like you're losing your mind sometimes, but if you work your way down it according to what is most important, you'll feel much better about what you DO get done and less worried about what you DON'T. =)

    I hit that wall recently myself. I can't keep up with everything! So I've given myself only two projects this month (though granted my to-do list is technically much much longer.) Both of these projects are big, but both are very important to me and I feel deserve the most attention.

    Sometimes you have to tell people that you're taking a break. I'm on my second week off on my blog (though I do have a few posts up). I just posted a note one day that told everyone I needed a break, but I gave a date for my return too. I find that if your followers are loyal, just telling them you need to be gone for a couple of weeks and telling them when you expect to be back will keep them loyal followers. They don't get too distracted and run away. They'll be there when you return.

    I have 2 guest posts to write, but those ladies know I'm on hiatus as well and that I will address those posts soon, but not just yet. I love social networking. But sometimes you just can't handle it AND your actual writing work. So take a break when you need it. =) We're a pretty understanding group!

  5. I’m also feeling overwhelmed! When I think about everything I have to do (work on ms, blog, build a platform, read, fill out grants, etc.) it makes me want to crawl into bed and go to sleep. But since I don’t have time to do that I decided to use a post-it method. I’ve been doing this for about three weeks now and so far it’s really helped to reduce my stress.

    Basically I have a red post-it with a couple of tasks that have to be done that day. The yellow post-it is what needs to be done in the week and the green post- it is what needs to be done in the month. I find that breaking down what needs to be done into smaller tasks prevents me from feeling overwhelmed.

    Only giving myself two tasks for each day makes it easy to get them done and not feel like a failure. If I’m having a productive day then I start completing the tasks that are on the yellow post-its, which is usually what ends up happening. I still only assign myself two tasks a day so that I don’t feel pressured to get lots done. I find the pressure is what causes me the stress. I like being busy, but I don’t like thinking about it!

    I agree with Donna that building a writing career can be a whirlwind of activity and that is life we have chosen and we need to remind ourselves why we are doing this in the first place. BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break. I’m planning a scheduled break from my blog in the beginning of April when I know life is going to be busy.

  6. This is something I think we all struggle with Marcie, and I don't think there's necessarily one answer - everyone is different in terms of how to best handle things for themselves. Rena's post-it method works for her, making lists and taking a blogging break helps Lissa, Donna is apparently super-human :) People talk about finding balance, but it's pretty hard. I go with a mixed, middle-of-the-road approach. I make lists. I prioritize. I try to find at least an hour (that's an absolute minimum) to work on actual writing every day. I try to find an hour a week to at least draft the week's blog posts all at once so the main work is done. If something comes up and I can't get everything done, I try not to beat myself up - tomorrow is another day :) If I needed a blogging break I'd likely cut down to 2 posts or 1 post a week for a while rather than dropping it all together. Everything in moderation :) But I'm afraid haven't found an easy answer, or one that works quite as well as I wish it did!

  7. Marcie, I have two boys at home -- ages three and five. I feel I don't have any time to write either. Nap time is for tasks that take a lot of concentration: some research, writing, revising, querying. I fit in blog posts, critiques and internet research when my boys watch their cartoons or when my husband watches TV in the evening. However, all electronic devices are turned off at 9 p.m. so I can enjoy a half hour of TV and some reading before bed. And I don't do too many contests. It really depends upon what the prize is. I do read and comment on some blogs, but only as time permits, like when my boys are playing nicely.

  8. Yes, it is an art, Marcie, and one that I am afraid I have not mastered. But, I do make sure I bring my iPad wherever I go, and take the opportunity to write a few lines when I am in the passenger seat of the car, or when waiting at the chiropractor's office. When my rice is boiling, or, I'm waiting for dinner to come out of the oven, I steal a bit of time there as well. After the kids are in bed, I work on my desktop computer for awhile. On Sundays, our entire family sits in the living room and reads inspirational books (each his or her own), which gives me the opportunity to enjoy books in the genre in which I am writing. These are common suggestions, but, they work for me!

  9. Marcie, when I get overwhelmed with my millions of projects. I sit down and remember that I write because I love it. I read because I love it. I blog because I love connecting. Please do remember what your joy is when you write...writing not about getting it done, it's about loving the words along the way.