Hello fellow writerly friends! Are you in hyper-overdrive, too?
If so, you’re in the right place. We can commiserate. Or maybe just pull up our big-author-panties and get on with things. Either way, we’re in this together, so consider it a good thing. 😉
So here, the thing…Lately I’ve been a headless chicken as I prepare for the book launches of my 2nd and 3rd books (happening Oct 10 & Nov 21, 2017!!). Now, if that was the only thing I had to deal with, life would be so super stellar, I wouldn’t even be writing this blog post. Instead, I also have my day job (freelance writer/graphic designer/social media marketer), 3-5 kids home from summer vacation at any given time, and a house to run. It’s exhausting!
When I add on top all of the author publicity stuff a normal person would pay others to do…it’s an additional full-time job. No joke. If you haven’t heard me say it before, here it is again: Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, devotion, and a *teenie* bit of luck.
So with all this in mind, it’s important to take notice when we start to feel a tad bit on the crazy side. In order to avoid full-on meltdown, I do have a number of tips for overcoming overwhelm. Let’s check them out.
Carissa’s Tips for Overcoming Author Overwhelm
- Be mindful. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, it’s the first sign I heed as means to be mindful. Generally, a feeling of overwhelm happens through anxiety. You’re anxious for the future, or worried about the past. Taking time to be present, notice your thoughts, your feelings, and your body responses (fast pulse, fast breath, etc.) will help you be more in tune in the moment. Anxiety simply can’t exist where presence is. When you’re in the moment of right now–it’s literally all there is. If this kind of thought is new to you, I encourage you to check out Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now.
- Take a breather. This was never more true for me as it was the past few days. Nothing was working. Computers were being slow. My time has been cut short. I don’t feel as though I’m being as productive as I’d like… and yet, I’ve forced myself to take a time out. I’ve walked away from it all, and instead, tuned into my daily meditation practice. I’m loving Deepak Chopra’s Ananda meditation app. I can sit down, find a meditation I like, and set it to go for however long I have time for. I’ve done as little as 5 minutes, and as much as 45 (so far). It’s heavenly. I also like the 21 Day Meditation Experience Deepak does with Oprah (which is coincidentally going right now). Maybe for you, it’s going outside to walk in the woods. Or taking a break for a cup of tea. Listen to music. Whatever it is, get away from whatever’s freaking you out. Disengage you brain’s fight or flight and destress, for god sake!
- Workout. I talk about this a lot. To everyone. Many roll their eyes, but you know what? It’s true. Get your ass moving. Science is proving that not only are you improving your cardiovascular system, your muscle conditioning, etc. You’re also de-stressing (reducing cortisol levels in the body). Not to mention, you’re also spurring on neurogenesis (new brain cell growth) in the brain. Don’t believe me? Check out this article I wrote for the Canadian Pharmacy King and see for yourself. Then get you butt moving more.
- Drink more water. Again, it may be a health component, but it plays a HUGE roll in the way your body handles stress, manages fat stores, and keeps your brain healthy. Did you know, statistically speaking, up to 75% of Americans don’t get enough water? Check out this other article I wrote about the need for more water. Trust me, I know my stuff when it comes to a better mind and body. I’ve researched it all.
- Recap/Reset. Sometimes we need to see how far we’ve actually come before we appreciate where we’ve been. Or something like that. FFS, start by writing down accomplishments made. Even the small ones. Yeah, yeah… I suck at it to, but it puts things into perspective for me when I start spiraling. Then I refocus my goals and manage the things that are most important. Everything else can be set aside.
- Focus on the joy. I’ve said this in other blog posts, but I can’t stress it enough. If something isn’t bringing you happiness, why in the hell are you doing it? Our lives are far too precious, and far to etherial to waste on shit that doesn’t matter. Find a way to prioritize what brings you joy, and search for the joyousness in aspects of your day you can’t avoid. (Changing diapers on a 2 year old, for instance…) LOL! Attitude matters, and when you chance your outlook/perspective – you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find joy.
- Avoid alcohol and sodas. Okay, I’ll probably get hate mail over this, but I’m serious. Because I take notice of the way my mind is functioning (Consider it an occupational hazard. If you’re read the Pendomus Chronicles, you’ll understand.), I’ve noticed the detrimental impact even a single glass of wine can have on my brain’s capabilities the following day. Let me just tell you, it sucks. I want to to be as clear-headed and focused as possible because I have too much to do, and too damn much to say. Alcohol will impede your brain, increase stress, not to mention pack on pounds when it metabolizes into fat. So, sorry guys – avoid the booze if you want to be level-headed and more zen. Same goes for sodas. The sugar crash, high fructose corn syrup and other shit mess with your body in ways we are only beginning to comprehend. Ditch them and see for yourself how much better you think, feel, and even look.
- Avoid multipassion paralysis. You don’t want to get to the point where you stop doing anything and freeze. Forward momentum is the goal and it’s the reason so many authors, artists, and people in general get stuck. They see the workload… see the to-do list… realize how far they have yet to go and they GIVE UP! Whaaaaaat? You will never finish anything with that attitude. Everything takes time and as Jillian Michaels always says, “Transformation is not a future event, it’s a present activity.” Pull up your big girl (boy, whatever) panties and get ‘er done!
- Narrow your window. There are literally thousands of things you can be doing. Narrow your window down, so you don’t get overwhelmed. You won’t be able to do everything, so start with that joy tip. Next, figure out how much time you will allot your window. Then keep that window open for only book related activities. You’ll be surprised how much an hour a day can really make a difference! Plus, it sure as hell beats the person sitting on the couch, playing Candy Crush and ignoring their stack of to-do. 😉 (If that person sounds like you, don’t fret – jump back to tip#1 and you’re back on track.)
BONUS TIP: For Pete’s sake–ASK FOR HELP! If you’re truly getting overwhelmed, it’s time to reach out and ask for help. Maybe it’s your to your kids to clean up their own toys. Or your husband to change one of those diapers, or make dinner… Or asking your Mom to watch the kids for an afternoon… Okay, maybe this is my dream list. But it applies! These are the things that help me most. Find out what would help you, and ask the people who can deliver.
Whew, there you go. My thoughts on all the ways to overcome overwhelm. I hope they’ve been helpful. Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think, or go ahead and share the blog with those you love. 😉
PS: If you’re an auditory learner and you’d like to go over these tips again, I have discussed all of these tips on my weekly Facebook Live Event (episode 10).