Monday, August 15, 2011

Fighting Overwhelmed

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 betcha!

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.


Terri Tiffany said...

So you are going to ACFW? HOw exciting!! I too try to think of the worst case scenario and realize I have lived through worse and survived. Have fun!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Terri, I hope you'll be there this year. I'd love to see you!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

My husband tells me I run down the path often. I build problems into huge James and the Giant Peach stressors when really they are as small as the pea under the mattress.

I once read that a mind that worries is really creative. HA! There's the positive side to that one.
~ Wendy

Margaret Metz said...

I needed to read this. I think I may need to print this and re-read it every so often. lol Unfortunately getting ready for conference isn't my source of stress. Maybe I can worry about that next year. {wink}

Loree Huebner said...

That picture cracked me up!

I hate to admit it but I work best under pressure. I learned it from my day job.

Sandra Orchard said...

Love the photo, Eileen, makes me feel good to realize I'm not as stressed as her
Looking forward to ACFW!

Katie Ganshert said...

Oh, you bet I have! I have such a tendency to get worked up about things that in the longer run, are very small. What a great reminder today Eileen!

Niki Turner said...

Ouch. Toe-stomper for me. I've been known to let worrying and fretting over the details of a trip, a project, or a party (all supposed to fun and satisfying) suck all the joy out of the event for myself and whoever gets in my way. It's wretched. This was a reminder I NEED to keep with me! Thank you!

Susan R. Mills said...

Hey there! You were gone forever. Then I was gone forever. Looks like we're both back now. I can't wait to catch up with you!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Wow, we are leading parallel lives I think! I'm trying to do the best I can without freaking out about the actual pitching part.

Thanks for the reminder to let go a little and relax!


Sarah Forgrave said...

You know all about how I've been overwhelmed recently. :) Sometimes the stress of being under pressure propels me to perform better and faster. But I always like coming up for air, too. :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Thanks all for stopping by. It would seem we are a mixed breed. Some needing stress to push them along and some feeling defeated with it.

My prayer is that whatever we need may God provide for His will to be done through us.

Linda Glaz said...

Yes, quite a few overwhelming moments, but mostly because of my change in work. I'm getting more organized, it's just taking a bit of brain strain to figure it all out.

Jaime Wright said...

I always realize my stress is a ridiculous waste of time. Namely, because it never helps, only makes a bad situation worse. Strangely though - I still don't stop stressing. What's with that?!

CatMom said...

I'm reading this post a week after you wrote it, but it's exactly what I needed to read TODAY! (Isn't that just like our Lord? Directing me to this particular post on the day I needed it!)~ Although I LOVE to keep busy, I'm starting to feel a wee bit "panicky" myself as I prepare for ACFW and my daughter's Wedding (not to mention our family "birthday season" is about to begin, and I'm giving a surprise birthday party for a Sunday School friend). ~ So I know I'll have to stay focused on whichever task I'm working on at the moment, and make certain I don't "skimp" on spending time in the Word--because during these "overwhelming" times I need that special time with the Lord MORE THAN EVER!! ~ Blessings, Patti Jo :)