How to Avoid Writing Overload

Desk ClutterWriters experience overload when they do too many different writing tasks every day. This may be because they don’t have a concrete sense of their overall writing goals and/or because they constantly feel distracted.

There is one sure way to avoid overload, and that is to create “To Do List of First Things, First”. When you create this list, you will automatically know what to focus on, and you may even want to create your “NOT TO DO LIST”. I’ll share my “NOT TO DO LIST” with you towards the end of our chat to clarify your real goals.

But first, here are a few ways to make sure that you don’t experience writing overload.

1. Only do one or two things that will move one or two of your long-term writing goals forward. Don’t overload your desk with furious activity every day.

Many writers do so many different things every day when they get to their desk. They want to work on all of their writing goals simultaneously, and then on top of all that they do all kinds of secondary things too. This can lead writers to feel overwhelmed and uneasy.

It is absolutely essential for writers to plan to do no more than one or two things that will move them forward in their overall writing goals every day. Then they’ll be able focus on the most important things and not feel overloaded and overwhelmed by the small things that pollute their writing lives.

2. Eliminate all other secondary things until you complete your main writing goals for the day, and then only do one or two of the most important secondary things that you believe need to be done. I find that writing down my secondary goals helps me to prioritize them better.

Writers can spend a lot of time doing all kinds of things that they think they should be doing without actually doing what they MUST be doing to complete their goals and to become productive writers. This can lead to a lack of productivity and overall sense of well-being for writers.

3. Write for no more than 3 hours a day, if you can. Many writers are busy and not productive. Some writers that I know spend upwards of 6 to 8 hours a day at their desks. This is a long time, and very few of them have anything constructive to show for all of their hours at the desk.

If this is how your writing life is, take heart. Try to spend no more than the morning or early afternoon or evening writing. Set a consistent routine and stick to it. And when you’re at your desk and/or computer to write, don’t do anything but write.

Irene S. Roth


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