You know that feeling when just thinking about your creative project stresses you out? Where there's just so much to do, and you don't know where to start? So you put it out of your mind for a while, compounding the stress?
Well, that's creative overwhelm.
It's a common experience, and it's an indication that you care deeply about your creative work. If the work didn't matter to you, and didn't have a place of importance in your life, it wouldn't weigh quite so heavily.
And even though the overwhelm can feel as daunting as the tasks in front of you, there are ways to move through it.
1. Make a big ol' list
Get some paper and do a brain dump. It can take the form of a list, a mind map, or whatever feels good to you.
Getting the information that's rattling around in your head down on paper is a great first step in decreasing overwhelm. Just seeing it all in front of you helps clarify it, and frees up space in your mind.
2. Break your actions down
For every action that needs to be taken, break it down. Now break it down even smaller than that. Now smaller.
You might have to do this a bunch of times, but if you break an action down into tiny, do-able steps, you relieve yourself of a lot of pressure.
Not only that, but if you break steps down small enough, it seems almost silly not to do at least one. So you might as well. And once you do, well, now you've started!
This deceptively simple trick creates momentum, and before you know it, you'll have done more than you'd ever have anticipated.
3. Do the fun stuff first
We're taught to get the hard stuff out of the way. To just buckle down and do it, and then move on to the stuff we like.
Trouble is, when you're overwhelmed, trying to do the tough stuff first often leads to procrastination and an increase of stress.
So pick the part of this process you enjoy the most, and do something there. Feeling any flicker joy in your process leads to increased motivation and drive. Plus, it's way easier to do the stuff you want to do. Once you've gotten back into the swing of things, getting to the hard stuff will feel much less daunting.
4. Take part in a creative community
Have you ever noticed how many tasks are easier with company? Creative community helps you realize that your experience is common among creative people, and that you're far from alone in it.
That's part of why we have twice-weekly Co-Creation Time sessions. Not only do we get to cheer each other on and lift each other up, we also begin to feel that the tasks we have in front of us are manageable.
As a bonus, the momentum you pick up when you work alongside gathers steam through the rest of your week as well.
Sessions are free, and our community is kind, supportive, and fun. Come check it out, and see how it can impact your sense of overwhelm.
Visual Journaling classes are another great form of creative community, where we work together on journaling via images before ever using words. The insight that emerges is profound and satisfying. You're welcome to come join us for one of those sessions as well!
Above all, overwhelm is proof that your creative project matters to you. Taking these steps will help you come back into alignment with your work, and reconnect with it.
Let me know how these tricks work for you! And if you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media, or forward it to a friend!