Thursday, November 05, 2009


Posted by: Genene Valleau
Current Project: nine-book series

Status: Ideas leap-frogging!

Can you have too much of a good thing? Writing? Chocolate? Promo opportunities?

Ask an author on deadline who has gained twenty-five pounds and has a book coming out in two weeks and you'll get a different answer than if you talk to pretty much anyone else on the planet. DISCLAIMER: Said writer is a composite fictional character and any resemblance to a real person is simply coincidence. :)

Most of the time when we become overwhelmed, it's with negative events. We're chugging along pretty well with life and the kids get sick or the spouse needs emergency surgery or the washing machine dies or a variation of all these things happens in the same week. At least we can count on some sympathy from friends and family.

But what if your writing project is going so well that you want to work on it far into the night? Or some freelance jobs come in that will pay your property taxes and buy Christmas presents? Then a couple friends send e-mails about opportunities that will be perfect for the promotion you wanted to do with your books? And by the way, we get sunny weather for a few days in a row so you can squeeze in another yard project you thought would have to wait until spring. Is it sympathy or sarcasm when a friend or family member says, "You poor dear, your life is too wonderful"?

I hit Overwhelm Mode last year after my first three books were released within a ten-month period, promo was in full swing, and a number of other good things were happening. This year good things are hoppin' again. But I'm prepared for them! I read an article about how quantum physics says you can slow down time. I'm not sure that means I can sleep an hour longer and still get as much done, but it's worth a try. I've also had a year to practice focusing on priority projects and not become so distracted by shiny new ideas. And I'm headed into the end of the year with a Thanksgiving Attitude of being grateful all these good things--even if they are sometimes disguised as challenges.

How about you? Have you ever been overwhelmed by good things? If so, please share your survival suggestions. Chocolate and recommendations for good books are welcome--no sympathy needed!


Paty Jager said...

Interesting post, Genene.

Overwhelmed by good things- That would be me at the moment. I have the next two books in the Spirit trilogy to finish, the last Petticoat book to write, I need to revise the contemporary because an editor wants to contract it, and I'm writing my half of a book that Harlequin is interested in... Overwhelmed- Oh Yeah! Is it a good overwhelm? Oh Yeah! But I'm feeling a time crunch and wondering how I can get these written and still keep up an appearance on the web and at other commitments I've made.

When you figure out the more sleep and more work done, please let me in on the secret.

Alice Sharpe said...

Too many good things?

Nope. No help here. I'm not drowning in bad things like I was a year ago, but there are continuing worries about family members that keep me up nights and there's also the fact I'm finishing a contract with no new contract in sight, no book firmly in mind. Holidays look a little bleak -- so, nope, I can't say as that I feel terribly overwhelmed by good things right now.

On the other hand, I've lived through a lot worse and I'm looking forward to a slight hiatus.

I am not being a rain cloud! Life has ups and downs and lots of middles. I'm in the middle and that's okay, it happens.

But I am thrilled that you are so happy and productive, Genene!

Genene Valleau said...

Paty and Alice, my apologies for being slow in responding. It turned out to be a zoom-around kind of day.

Paty, you have so many wonderful projects going and are doing yeoman's work in promotion! Great things are sure to come back to you.

Alice, I'm glad your year has improved from last year, and it sounds like a holiday hiatus will be a welcome break. I think the middle--a balance-- is the best place to be. That's what I'm striving for. To keep the good things flowing, but to be realistic about what I can accomplish and negotiate longer deadlines if needed or simply say no thanks, even to what seems to be a great opportunity.

Oh yeah, Paty, the secret to stretching time is to complete a twenty-page mathematical formula that sells for three trillion dollars and you're all set. Or you can close your eyes, take a deep breath, and live in denial. :)

May good things keep flowing your way--enough to keep you contented, but not enough to capsize your sanity!

Bethany said...

I am also overwhelmed with good at the moment. And I am so, so, so blessed, but still something has to give because there is only 24 hours in the day. So the house looks exactly hurricane Tavy struck with no red cross in sight :)

Paty and Genene, you are both my heroes in learning to make the most of opportunities.

And Alice, I hope life sends you a little more good too. The holidays aren't looking much fun for us either this year--we were so hoping to go back to St. Louis for Christmas, and that isn't going to happen. We're going to find a way to make it good regardless.

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Bethany! Hurricane Tavy is definitely a blessing!

So sorry you won't be able to go to St. Louis for Christmas. But making new traditions is one of the ways to make the holidays special, isn't it?