A Glimpse into the Life of an Over-analyzing Writer

by | Nov 12, 2015 | Writing Tips | 0 comments

There is a good reason why I haven’t contributed to the BKA blog until now. I simply don’t have time to sit down and come up with an interesting and entertaining blog post for others to read. No, I don’t have a plethora of kids or five different jobs that I am trying to juggle. I just have two great jobs, one adorable little 5-month-old, a low-maintenance Miniature American Eskimo and a husband who is an amazing cook and is more than willing to help out around the house.

So, why don’t I have enough leisure time to write a simple blog? Here’s why: I over-analyze. Everything. You may be scratching your head and wondering how over-analyzing things can make it difficult for me to sit down and write a blog post, but let me explain…

Let’s imagine for a moment that I am writing about a very simple and straightforward situation, like a man named Jeff going to the store to buy an apple. Now take a moment to follow me through my maddening thought process as I try to capture this simple action on paper. This is how I might begin:

Jeff went to the store to buy an apple.

It’s straightforward, accurate, and captures the action perfectly, right? Wrong! In my mind it is not good enough. I will inevitably stare at the sentence while my brain kicks into over-analyzing mode. The sentence is much too short. It’s boring. I must fix it! After taking a moment to think, I settle on the following revision:

Jeff walked to the nearby store to purchase an apple.

Still boring. Maybe I should describe the apple?

Jeff walked to the nearby store to purchase a shiny red apple.

But everyone buys red apples. Jeff needs to be different and interesting!

Jeff walked hastily to the nearby store to purchase a rare heritage apple because he was ravished.

Well, now the sentence is too long! I have to shorten it without making it boring, and I don’t even know why Jeff is walking hastily anyway.

Jeff walked calmly to the store to purchase an apple to satisfy his hunger.

I hate that the word “to” is used three times in this sentence. It makes it sound redundant! I hate Jeff! If he’s really hungry he should be purchasing a real meal instead of a tiny apple anyway!

I typically end up with a sentence that clearly shows my frustration and is probably a little bit violent.

Jeff stomped into the grocery store because he was starving, grabbed a stupid apple, and threw it at the checker.

I know, it doesn’t make sense that Jeff would throw his apple at the checker if he was really starving, but at this point my mind doesn’t care. Once I have let out some of my frustration and giggled at my childish antics, I can then erase my rant and start over again with a sentence that is something like this:

Jeff went to the store to buy an apple.

Yes, I realize it is the sentence I started with. It is short, it is a tiny bit boring, and it isn’t unique. But I have to convince myself that sometimes people really do go to the store just to buy an apple. That’s it.

Now, you are probably thinking that this whole scenario is just a big exaggeration, but it really isn’t far from the truth. I will read, re-read, revise and re-revise (apparently that’s actually a word) every sentence in an attempt to make it better, and I almost always end up with my original sentence anyway. Maddening, isn’t it?

So you see, I really don’t have time to sit down and contribute to the blog on a regular basis or I would never finish my articles! Thankfully, I have a fantastic job that I love and incredibly understanding employers that give their writers plenty of time to get their articles done.

By the way, if you’re wondering how long it took me to write this, I will never tell.

Do you over think the writing process like I do?  What have you found that helps?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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