Publishing my books, while exciting and satisfying, has also been TERRIFYING! I have so many new skills to acquire all on top of writing to a schedule. And wondering, will people read these? Will they like them?
One of my common coping mechanisms when I am overwhelmed, or faced with a new task that I have no idea of how to tackle, is to procrastinate. Maybe it will all just go away if I don’t look at it!
But that doesn’t get things done!
A little more healthy activity is to look at something I have accomplished before. I love to quilt, and I know what I am doing when I quilt. There’s no worries. I have built my competencies, and even when there is a new challenge, I have all my past successes telling me ‘you got this.’ It makes the challenge fun, knowing I am likely to succeed.
So I pulled out this quilt today, when I was faced with updating my website. Would I remember all the techniques I had figured out two months ago? (Yes, it has been that long. Dang. I need to pop in more often. And no, I did not remember them all. I had to play around for a while.)
This quilt started out as an overwhelming project for my quilting group. One member had been gifted with some leftover strips from a friend’s project. A huge, jumbled pile, but not enough to really make quilt from. She thought, ‘I’ll just add a few extras, and have enough to make a quilt’. Well, when she was done, there were STILL leftovers. So she passed them on, and that person also thought ‘just need to add a few more to have enough for a quilt.”
Five people in our group went through this process, always adding what we thought were a reasonable amount of extra strips and always ending up with leftovers. It was an overwhelming pile of plaid strips. For all I know, these strips could still be going somewhere!
But I finished my quilt. I gifted it, it was loved to the end of my father-in-law’s life, and now it is back with us, with beautiful memories.
That’s what tackling something overwhelming can do for you.
Looking at it gives me confidence that I can do the same thing with my books. Adding a little, persisting, and coming up with something lovely.