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How much thinking is overthinking?

Writing overthinking ...

I was thinking about what to write for this prompt, but then …

Author: Matt Jackson

Overthinking ...

Sometimes all I can manage is my fluffy yellow dressing gown which makes me look like an oversize duck. I’m wearing it now because my brain is stuffed with overthinking and I find it somewhat comforting … the dressing gown, that is.

I have to be careful, though, not to pair the fluffy yellow dressing gown with the grey slippers that are too big for my feet and make a swish swish swish sound when I walk across the wooden floor, because that just makes me feel completely feeble.

Also be careful about the way the slippers spiral off my feet into oblivion when I try to walk down the stairs into the basement. I have to hold my feet up to keep the slippers on, and plod down the steps one at a time like an old clopping camel.

Hmm ... might the basement be the place to escape my overthinking?

But maybe the basement, like the back of the mind, holds all the thoughts that churn around and compel the overthinking.

Hmm, again ... now I’m overthinking again! Author: CK

An Analytical Approach

'How much thinking is overthinking?' is a difficult question. I think it depends on the context.

At work I try to overthink as little as possible. I think only the right amount to get things done. In my first few years of work, I would overthink things such as, Will they like this idea? What will the team or my boss think if I say this? Are people recognising how much effort I am making to achieve this goal?

Then I made a conscious effort to just get on with my work without much overthinking and self doubt. It’s a decision I make, and have to remind myself to make, every day.

When I am relating to other people, especially in close personal relationships, I allow myself to overthink a little. In trying to help someone, I ask myself, How can I give this advice in a way that empowers my friend, and doesn’t make them scared of taking action?

I use a certain level of overthinking in relationships with friends who I like very much and whose attention and company I crave. I try not to be too overbearing, so I make conscious decisions to leave them alone or take the initiative to chat and meet up.

The one space in which I allow myself to overthink a lot is in my own self reflections. But it’s a semi-controlled kind of overthinking. I know the purpose of unleashing the overthinking monster, but as with any monster, I only have so much control over where it ends up. When writing in a diary, or relating something very personal to someone, I think about the situation from as many angles as possible. How did others see it? How will I feel about it in a few years’ time? What did I learn from it? How would I do this differently?

Author: Clara Andrade

On second thoughts ...

A tiny piece of glitter glistened on the portrait hanging in the Archibald Prize exhibition. In front of the picture, dressed in a black jacket and skirt, stood a young enthusiastic gallery guide surrounded by a group of restless schoolchildren. She drew their attention to the piece of glitter, pointing out the importance of its placement and its relevance to the work.

I wondered if the fragment of glitter was even intentional. Perhaps a breeze blew into the artist’s studio and swept it up so that it fluttered in the air until it came to rest on the sticky, fresh-painted surface. Are they overthinking it? Of course, they are. This picture was a contender for the Archibald Prize.

The public has a prejudice against creative work that has not yet broached its perceived threshold of recognition. Artists and writers are nobody until they are somebody, and when they are somebody, they are everybody’s, and their work will be feted, analysed, dissected and speculated about, in some cases for generations.

People always overthink work that they love, respect and believe in. One of the delights of my writing group is that the participants are willing to set aside this prejudice and embrace new work.

I have now stopped writing this piece and I ask myself, is it finished? I would like it to be, but I have been studying writing for long enough to know that it isn’t. So I’ll read it aloud to myself.

Hmm … I repeated a word and I forgot to include the sense of smell again! Still, I find the idea appealing and the words seemed to pour out of me as I wrote it. I’d like to tighten it up, but I am on a deadline and time’s up.

Did I overthink it? That’s for others to decide.

Will you, the reader, overthink it? In my wildest dreams, I hope that you do.

Author: Robert Carrick

This SSOA blog showcases the work of emerging writers attending our weekly writers' meetups. You can make contact via if you'd like to join us.

Copyright: text - authors as shown above; photos - Wix.


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