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Overthinking It


I've been a bit mum about my writing lately and that's because it's not going well. I beleive I have a classic case of overthinkage. Having a really hard time shutting off my internal god-I-want-to-write-so-good-so-bad editor. It's gotten to the point that I can't stand anything I write creatively.


I do think it's sort of awesome that if you type "overthinking" in Google an article called "Overthinking Is The Enemy of Creatives" comes up first. And it's good! Give it a read if you can relate to my struggle.

Anyway, in overthinking overthinking, I overly think I've come up with a solution.


Whaddya think?


  1. Yay! I'm so glad to see you are joining the masses of insane writers! :) I'm very excited as I tend to 'overthink' and 'overedit' and completely stunt my growth as a writer. I'm hoping Nano also supplies some new and improved writing habits so I can start spinning out the work. :)

  2. Yes, it's definitely easy to overthink and be too self-critical. I was hamstrung for a long time by thoughts that everything I wrote wasn't as good as this or that book. Negative thinking like that stunts you completely. The key was to tell myself I was just going to write a novel without it having to be the greatest book ever written. I was going to enjoy it.

    Of course, I did try to make it as good as I could too ...

  3. Thanks Kristi and Simon! So glad you both can relate. I've been feeling rather broken over the whole thing.

    I'm thinking a good, healthy dose of "literary abandon" will do me a lot of good. I did NaNo last year and it was a great experience. What I wrote was crap, but I learned a lot about my ability to produce and write every day. I need reminding of that, and 50k in 30 days doesn't allow much time for overthinking.

    : )

  4. Wow, that article was fantastic. I favorite'd it! Casey, thank you for always providing interesting finds on your blog.

    You are a great thinker, as evidenced by your blog. Go with that! Un-overthink, girl and just write.

    p.s. I'm doing NaNo too, for the first time!!

  5. God, that's a sucky place to be. I totally sympathize.

  6. *Sending you the blindfold and gag for that nasty bully of an inner editor!*

    Word Ver = hessay :)

  7. Casey,
    I'm right there with you. Overthinking has rendered me frozen of late. I'm at a complete stand still with writing. I'd love to do NaNoWriMo, but I'm supposed to be applyling to grad schools so there's applications and portfolios. Maybe I can do NaGrAppMo instead?

  8. That's exactly why I decided to do NaNo last year and it asolutely worked in pulling me out of overthinking mode. Hope it helps you too!

  9. Yay! I'm doing it and I think that it's a brilliant idea to get you over this overly critical hump. I can't wait - we get to write tons of stuff in November and something good is bound to come out of it, don't you think? Good luck!

  10. That's why I signed up to do it! I cannot turn the editor in my head off, so I'm going to try and outrun it by focusing on quantity not quality. It's going to be difficult. I feel crazy for even trying. But dammit, I'm excited. Woo-hoo- go Casey!

  11. I think we’re in the same place mentally about our projects. NaNo is probably exactly what you need. Me? I’m going to tie up some loose ends and focus on nonfiction for a bit. Since I can’t take a vacation right now, I’m giving one to my WIP.

    Keep us posted on how NaNo works.

  12. I try to get my first drafts out with as little angst as possible. Thinking is for editing.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I was at that point with my book. I kept thinking about how I wanted to change the plot, how I wanted the characters to grow, but I didn't like what I was doing. Joining a critique group helped a lot. Deadlines mean you have to do it. And their feedback helped tremendously, too. Now it's done. It's on submission. And I'm ready to write about someone new. I'll be doing NaNo as well :)

  15. I DO relate to your struggle! I constantly overthink and it affects my writing negatively to the point that I don't even want to open my manuscript file at times.

  16. I'm in the same place, tied in knots by my critical self, making little progress forward. I keep wondering if I should do NaNo. It's scary because I haven't outlined another book or anything. Lots of good wishes to you. I think it's awesome that people take it on.

  17. Oh I am *totally* an overthinker. My oldest son has unfortunately inherited that from me...poor kid. :)

    You can definitely get over it, though. Eventually you'll be able to recognize when you're thinking yourself in a circle. And then you can take a step back and let yourself write crap. :) Which is actually quite liberating. :)

    I think NaNo is a fabulous solution! I'm doing it too!!! :) My username is tabwriter if you want to buddy me.

  18. My first comment made no sense so I'm going to try this again. Doesn't that just figure? I finally need my internal editor and she's out to lunch. I think she objects to the topic...

    NaNo is the perfect way to escape the 'overthink' monster. I'm looking at NaNo as an opportunity to beat my inner editor into submission - or at least shut her away for thirty days while I lay down 50k words. Good luck, Casey!

  19. I am so with you on both over thinking and Nano. One of the blogs I read recently had a great left vs. right brain article on it. I'm so analytical, I was surprised I hadn't thought of it earlier. But our internal editor is in the analytical side and our creativity in the other. They both cannot operate at their best ideally simultaneously. So you gotta turn that analytical side off.
    Apparently, if you start writing and just write (without thought for the crap tumbling out), you eventually get past the block and into the good stuff (not sure that anaology of crapp to good stuff was such a good idea now).
    So, like you, I am now up for NaNo...just to get the writing, writing, writing out there.
    Good luck to you.

  20. Yes. I think you should do NaNo. That way, you'll be forcing yourself to underthink...I mean, there is no TIME to overthink.

    good Luck!


  21. Same reason I'm doing it--to just get the ball rolling. And just enjoy the process and fun of writing!

  22. I hear you on the overthinking. But now that I'm revising, I'm feeling better about my writing. Good luck with NaNo!

  23. I've never participated in NaNo but I've had a couple of NaNo-like experiences with writing first drafts and they resulted in strong manuscripts.

    Plenty of time to think during revisions.
    Good luck! I hope you get happily drawn into whatever world you create.

  24. K.M. - Yay! Glad you're doing NaNo too!

    Thanks Beth and Angie!

    Sorry you can do NaNo, Emily! But good luck with NaGrAppMo! Rock it!

    Yay Suzy!

    Glad to hear it worked for you Anna! Thanks!

    Love the attitude J.Tuttle!

    So glad you can relate Rebecca! Not that I'm glad you're overthinking... just glad I have good company!

    I hope your WIP's vacation goes well, Ann!

    Good for you, Dana! I try!

    Good luck subbing your book, Sherrie. I'm so glad your critique group has done wonders for you. You've got a couple of awesome gals, it seems!

    MG Higgins - YES! I just feel awful opening up my rewrite right now. It shouldn't be that way. I've got to get over this!

    You should give it a shot, Tricia. Nothing to lose (except time and sanity, perhaps)! And hey, I don't have anything outlined either.

    Tabitha! We seem so similar! I'm always relating to you. Glad you're doing NaNo as well. I'll definitely friend you.

    Yay VR! Another overthinker and NaNoer. Good luck!

    Good luck to you as well, Renee. Let's overcome out analytical sides until we need them!

    Thanks Shelley! I agree.

    Best to you London. Get that ball goin good and fast!

    Thanks PJ!

    Thanks Adam. It's a really great article!

    I hope so too, Paul. Thanks so much!

  25. I totally sympathize. When I get all dark and twisty, I blitz on reading awesome books in my genre (YA). Just for pleasure.

    I think it's fabulous that you're doing NaNo. I'd join you if I didn't have to work on my revisions for my WIP- I'm sure you'll find it inspiring. Good luck!

  26. I've been overthinking for weeks and it's driving me crazy. I'm sorry you're going through that as well, but I feel less isolated all of a sudden. :)

    AJA! *Fighting* We'll make it through. :-)

  27. Ugh. Do I not know it! One day I'm on a high and the next in the depths of despair. I'm thinking of doing Nano, but I havne't even finished my drafting yet. Hmmm...

  28. Thanks, M. I've got a new pile I've been working through. I feel the inspiration seeping into my veins already. Hopefully it'll get me through NaNo!

    We will make it, Nathalie! Never give up. Persistence is key in this business.

    I still have no idea what I'm going to write, Christina. It's driving me crazy. You should join us though - do NaNo!

  29. Good luck with NaNo, Casey.

    I've thought about it, but instead of starting a new project my goal will be to finish my current draft by the end of November.

    As for overthinking, yeah, I'm with you there. Very hard to silence the inner critic.