Have you ever had those times when you feel overwhelmed? Maybe you call it unmotivated, stressed, or burned out. I’m guessing every writer hits the wall at some point. I came upon an excellent video by Brittany Vasseur, a YouTube lifestyle influencer. Unlike her normal upbeat videos, she confessed that she suffers with regular down times–feeling overwhelmed–but she gave a three-step process that works to get her out of the slump. It was so good, so universal, I’m going to summarize some of what she said here, adding my own ideas.
The first thing she does is accept that it’s okay to be down or overwhelmed. So many of us write for years, hoping to become published authors. It’s no easy task to stay motivated when it takes so long to even get your toe in the door. Brittany quoted the saying, “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.” Right? Here are some things that help:
- Remember that you are human, and God gave you these emotions. Maybe it’s a sign you need to rest.
- Don’t analyze your life now. Stay in the moment.
- Don’t make any big changes or life decisions when you’re down. “I’m going to quit writing.” Or “I’ll never get this book in on time; I hate it.”
Step two, take baby steps to recharge. We all know that, when our battery is running low, we need to plug into power. Let’s look at some ways to do that:
- Find a cozy place alone and pour out your heart to God. He loves you and wants what is best for you.
- Open your Bible and meditate on His word. I love reading the Psalms when I am down. I start with David’s frustrated psalms and move into praise psalms. If that sounds like too much to do, go here and get some focused help from the Bible.
- Connect with God’s creation. “Grounding” is considered to be extremely healthy for all of us–bare feet on the earth, on grass, in water.
- When we need to recharge, our body craves sugar (or chocolate), which is the worst thing we can do. Eat fresh, wholesome foods.
- Breathe. Take time to breathe deeply and slowly.
- Stretch and move.
- Get out of your head and into the moment.
- Refresh yourself.
- Drink water.
- If your overwhelm has to do with your book and research is a joy to you, dig back into the subject.
Take baby steps to finding joy in life once again.
- Make one small goal, say, write one paragraph. When that’s done, reward yourself. A feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small, lifts the spirit.
- Repeat with one tiny goal after another. Don’t forget the rewards.
- If there are some non-taxing things you can accomplish that normally give you joy, like baking, gardening, or even scrubbing floors, do it!
- Don’t focus on any negative self-talk. Let your self-talk be purposefully true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8)
- Make a list of those things for which you feel grateful. It might only be a fluffy comforter at this point, but it’s a start.
And let me just say, as an agent, all of us in the publishing industry understand this. We, too, feel overwhelmed at times. If you wrote me to say you’ll be late with your proposal because you needed to recharge and regroup, I’d be the first to understand.