When the jitters, rushing heart rate, sinking gut, or maybe it comes in the form of shortness of breath to you, hits, does it spell OVERWHELMED?
Think last minute wedding glitches in the midst of everything else, preparing for arrival of baby in the midst of everything else, career milestone on the verge of success or failure in the midst of everything else. When I recall any of those incidents my stomach immediately aches and feels like it's dropped with a big ol' ugly thud to the pit of despair.
Is there any way out?
You can take comfort in recalling all those previous pits of despair and realizing that feeling didn't last forever. You survived. You found focus. By chopping and whittling away at everything crashing in, you cut them down to achievable increments. One little task at a time, you moved forward. And if you acknowledged each mini accomplishment along the way, instead of the bundle of unimaginable to-do's stealing your good senses, you got through it with only short panic attacks seeping in.
Just remember, the most important thing is to achieve the goal. How long it takes you to get to that goal is...well, it's really irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The world will not end if the bride is a few minutes late. The world will not end if your project has to be implemented in stages--give 'em something new and that will placate them for the next big release. Think about where the baby's coming from--all they really need is You.
And if you're walking the overwhelming road of trying to prepare for a writer's conference now, like me, do your best at what you can accomplish before taking flight. Get that one-sheet done. Get the initial chapters polished like a shiny new engine. But don't stress if your whole series isn't polished. Don't even stress if you haven't got one novel fully primed and ready to your liking (in my experience, since writer's are always learning, there's always room for improvement, anyway), because conference is a time to learn and learn more, to socialize and network, and even if you did have all those novels ready and waiting for representation, there's no guarantee you'll find an editor or agent there that's looking for exactly what you're offering.
In fact, I've not heard of one writer who acquired their agent or sold their book at conference alone (even the special announcement sale at conference came as a result of their book being in the hands of the editor long before then). Writer's make contacts at conference, yes. But they don't sell on site. So stop stressing. Do what you can. Work hard and work smart and plan for conference to be a time of getting questions answered, feeling out prospective agents and editors, and letting them assess you, in return. Don't waste time worrying what you HAVEN'T got time to get done. Just do what you can!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed only to get through it and realize the stress was a big waste of time? Does stress hinder or boost your productivity? Is there such a thing as a healthy dose of stress? Or is it determination and self-discipline that keeps you motivated?
May we all work smarter and healthier this week onward!
Surrendering to Him,
*image courtesy of Google.