Lucy, my fourteen year old, needs to pack for her dance trip to Austria. She is lying on the couch with her long list of the things to do crumpled on the floor. I can see the dark cloud of overwhelm forming as she stares at her phone in a death grip of procrastination.
“I can’t do it.”
“There’s too much to think about.”
“It’s going to take forever.”
“It’s not going to be any fun.”
“I don’t want to go.”
I have watched this scenario play out countless times when my kids face daunting homework, a difficult test, or a trip they’re reluctant to go on.
I have become an expert on managing meltdowns and the tumult of teen emotions. Well, maybe not an expert exactly, but the homework gets done and they get on the planes.
I use a combination of coaxing and coaching. But don’t forget. This is with teenagers and everything I say is wrong. I know nothing. I should just stop talking. Stop talking now. But I don’t:
“You can do it.”
“You’ve felt like this before and you’ve gotten through it.”
“Just get started and you’ll feel better.”
“Try replacing the thought that it won’t be any fun with: I might have at least one fun moment.”
“You’re going.” (Okay. I’m not always patiently coaching. I sometimes throw up my hands and walk away muttering to myself about the cost of the trip).
Eventually she gets up and we slowly make headway. Get the suitcase, put it in the living room. Start with a pile of costumes. Then makeup. Then shoes. Finally her mood shifts, and she is packed, laughing, and looking forward to her adventure.
I have written Blog Post in green pen on the oversize desk calendar I bought in the giddy glee of creating an organized content schedule. The blank squares are filled in with color-coded prompts: Newsletter, Instagram Post, Facebook Stories. The bright colors mock me.
If I could, I would crumple it in a ball and lie on the coach watching Tan from ‘Queer Eye’ do a French tuck on a female comedienne; my adult form of a meltdown.
The dark cloud of overwhelm is familiar. The urge to procrastinate also has me in its death grip. “I can’t do it. There’s too much to think about. It’s going to take me forever. It’s not going to be any fun. I don’t want to.”
I decide to take my Mom for a BLT for lunch. As I am telling her about Lucy and her trip, it suddenly dawns on me that I’m acting just like my teenage daughter. I pop back a couple of doughnut holes and head home to finish writing.
Five Thoughts to Override Overwhelm in Content Creation
1) You can do it.
2) You have felt like this before and gotten through it.
3) Just get started and the anxiety will lessen.
4) Try a replacement thought: “It will be fun to press Publish”.
5) You’re doing it.
And I add in a couple of extra ones for good measure:
6) Everyone is scared before going on a big adventure.