Other times, it halts whatever I'm trying to accomplish. There comes a point where the words get so worked over that they lose their flow, and I either have to backtrack or start over.
Here, half-asleep on a Monday evening, I'm almost afraid to look at my query letter. It's close—it's so close to being ready. But I'm hanging on that point of overthinking, where I could destroy the entire thing with a touch.
Apart from destroying query letters, the occasional blog-post, and possibly entire novels—that hasn't happened to me yet, but I can imagine it all too well—overthinking makes simple decisions ridiculously difficult, causes a number of stress-related health problems that I won't sport with your tolerance by describing, and creates burnout. I have been there. And won't go again, if I can help it.
If I'd found the miracle solution to overthinking, I'd be wealthier. Or a more popular blogger, anyway. But so far, here are the best things I've found to counteract the madness:
- Take a purely logical approach. List pros and cons of the decision, or ask a few questions about the problem.
- Try a fresh start. Write the section over again, referencing the old version as needed.
- Give it distance. Leave it alone till you've forgotten parts of the difficulty, or at least till you're more rested.
As for my query letter, it's had both distance and fresh starts these past months. Why I resort to logic last, well—that's a very different problem. Heh.