BELA LAMPERT

Yoga Instructor
Optioned Screenwriter

Is overthinking your thing?

I don’t know a lot about cooking, but I can put together a decent meal that tastes okay and keeps me healthy (and from starving).

And in my experience cooking is much easier if you know what your next step is going to be and if you do the steps in a certain order.

You would never start peeling a potato and in the midst of that – just because you feel like it – put the steak in the frying pan, then start to put seasoning on other vegetables you haven’t even cut or cooked yet.

Sure, you will have SOMETHING to eat but if you compare its to a well–cooked meal the result will be far off.

Apply that to writing.

Many writers jump all over the place. They do a little character description here, a little dialogue there, here a funny detail, there a funny detail, and so on and so forth.

Then they end up with something they don’t like (obviously) and they don’t know how to fix that.

Creating a mess is perfectly fine, it’s one of the important creative steps. The difference is, you should do it on purpose. And you need to know how to clean up.

Try this:

  • Become clear on the next step that you want to work on: character, structure, big picture, dialogue polish,…
  • Work on the step you defined ON PURPOSE and WITHOUT DEVIATING FROM IT. This is the point where you create a mess on purpose. Don’t worry about the implications on other parts of your story at this point, whether you’ve already created them or not.
  • Now clean up the mess. Meaning, from all the things you’ve created in the previous step, choose which work for you and see what other parts of the story you need to change to make the new parts fit.
  • Decide on which part you want to work next and repeat the steps above.

The important thing here: once you’ve decided what your next step is, you keep working on that WITHOUT OVERTHINKING it. Just keep going and stay within the bounds of your defined next step!

To stop overthinking:
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