Don’t Over Think It

Some of the best writing advice I ever received wasn’t actually writing advice. It was a handful of wise words from my mother, who often used them to calm down her daughter (that would be me) when she was dead center in a Type A maelstrom:

Don’t over think it.

“What do you mean, ‘Don’t over think it?’” I would moan. “My article is due in less than three hours, and I’ve started and stopped so many times I’ve lost count. Seriously, I’ve got nothing.”

Calmly, my mom would repeat her advice, and then follow with a suggestion to get up and do something else for awhile, which I always thought was crazy talk because my article was due in three hours! But, despite myself, I would listen, rise from behind my computer, pace around the room, do something menial like get a cup of water or straighten the photos on my wall, and, invariably, the words would come.

Anytime I’m blocked, whether the project is big or small, or the articulation just won’t come, I always hear my mom’s voice encouraging me to get out of my own way. Because, more often than not, the simplest approach is usually the most effective.

In the interest of honesty, the idea for this post came from just such an occasion. I’d been pondering for days what living wide lesson I’d recently encountered, and though I’ve had several, none of my ideas were working. Believe me, I got up from behind my computer quite a few times in hopes of inspiring clarity, but nothing seemed right. And then, I heard my mom’s voice.

Her encouragement to not over think things is the perfect synopsis of what it means to live wide. More often than not, we are our own worst enemy. We let our inner critic get the better of us, and we try to over complicate something that truly is very simple.

So get up, go wash a few dishes, shuffle a few papers or get out into the sunlight. I promise, the solution will surface so quickly, it will feel like it was always there.