Over-Thinkers Anonymous (but it’s not really anonymous because you know my name…)

My name is Janna, and I’m an over-thinker.

Okay, for those who have visited my blog before, this may not be a shocking confession, but I’ve taken it to a new level.

Earlier this week someone left a nice comment on my blog, including the following:

“I would love it if one day you took one of my photos and wrote a story inspired by it.”

I was honored that someone would offer their art for me to write a story- that’s never happened before. I figured it would be a snap- I write flash fiction where I have to work in odd-ball words, references to media prompts, and/or a provided sentence. How hard could taking inspiration from a photo be?

I got the photo and that night, I started writing.

And writing.

And writing.

I’m at 3,450 words and I don’t have the ending completed. It’s much too long to post in its entirety. I looked at editing the story down but it loses too much. Then, I decided it was kind of a weird story so I’d be better off to just start over. When someone offers a beautiful photo to use as inspiration, it seems only right that a “nice” story should accompany it.

I started two other stories, but my heart was still with the first one. Oh, and they weren’t heartwarming either; one involved a dead person in the trunk and the dialogue on the other one bored me (I deleted it).

I went back to my first story and found a cut-off point that would work, making it about 1,040 words. The real weirdness doesn’t come into play until later, so it could still be a “nice” story. Except for the fact death has a lead role.

It occurs to me that I’m making this a bigger deal than it should be. My indecisiveness has me writing in circles.

If words were footsteps, my writing experience would look kind of like this...
If words were footsteps, my writing experience would look kind of like this…

I do this when I go shopping, too. Do I need this? Maybe it will go on sale. I don’t know, maybe the neckline is all wrong. Should I go with pink or blue? Or maybe I should get orange… I don’t have any orange. Oh, there’s a reason for that. Let me see if there’s another shirt I like better.

Forty-five minutes later, I leave the store with nothing.

My husband won’t go shopping with me. I won’t even go shopping with me anymore- I order online and wear it whether it fits right or not 😛

Do you over-think things? Or are you one of the lucky ones who can make a decision and stick with it?

Maybe I should delete this post…

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70 thoughts on “Over-Thinkers Anonymous (but it’s not really anonymous because you know my name…)

  1. Carl D'Agostino June 5, 2014 / 7:14 AM

    My father is an obsessive compulsive over thinker. If I am doing something he starts that “If it was up to me (eight different alternative suggestions)” stuff. I shut him off completely. He gets insulted but I am not listening to 20 minutes of this or that for a three minute task.

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 7:49 AM

      Haha, I’m not quite that bad, but I will say that when the kids are off to do something, I go away because it’s guaranteed they won’t be doing it my way and I’ll be compelled to say something 🙂 Glad you stopped by, Carl!

  2. Sean June 5, 2014 / 7:40 AM

    I know nothing of that over thinking stuff lol. I think I would probably get bored if I didn’t over think or over analyze a lot of things. I look at it this way, God created us to be who we are and how we are so there is a reason why we may over think things.

    As far as the story goes, I think you should continue on with it until you are satisfied with the outcome. You have a great gift for writing and it inspires many. Thanks

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:11 AM

      Thanks, Sean. I will definitely continue the story. Even though I can’t post it all here, there are other outlets I can send it to for consideration, if it’s at least 5,000 words…I’ll see how it turns out. At least for now I have the first part ready to go (well, I’ll read it a couple more times before posting to see if it still makes sense, but I *think* it’s done 🙂 )

  3. philosophermouseofthehedge June 5, 2014 / 9:24 AM

    You and my husband must be long lost twins….sometimes drives me nuts – but then I remember “hey, he does all the worrying, which frees up a lot of time for me.”
    No really, we’ve all been there – The perfect picture for this post!

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:14 AM

      Haha, I drive myself crazy sometimes, so I can relate to your reaction, Phil! Glad you liked the photo… at the time, I had taken it to capture a sapling in the snow. Who knew I’d ever be looking for a mess of footprints? 🙂

      • philosophermouseofthehedge June 6, 2014 / 8:23 AM

        seems like our pictures know more of what we want and need than we do. (hope the weekend is full of giggles)

        • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:48 AM

          In this case it worked out! I hope you have a nice weekend, too! I’m looking forward to the weekend… we are surprising our younger son with an activity tomorrow (his brother is at Lake Powell on a Boy Scout trip, so we wanted to do a little something special 🙂 )

  4. Michael June 5, 2014 / 11:12 AM

    I crazy over-think things. I can spend twenty minutes trying to sort out my Netflix queue, deciding what to watch, when, in what order, when to return them, whether it’s my parents or myself watching it, whether I should ignore the system and watch a Psych DVD when I should be watching a James Bond movie, how to integrate that with my movies at home….yeah. It’s sad.

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:15 AM

      Oh my gosh, you’re funny, Michael! My Netflix queue is an absolute mess because my kids are in there more than me and have pretty much made it their own.

  5. vishalbheeroo June 5, 2014 / 11:19 AM

    Oh! That’s crazy and m such an over-thinker too..penning 3,000+ on someone and I so wanna read it! Btw, what does Janna means?

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:18 AM

      Well the story isn’t about the person, but rather it was inspired by the photo he selected. I’ll post the first 1000 words or so next week!

      Oh, I have no idea what my name means. My mom said she just liked the name so she picked it for me 🙂

  6. nrhatch June 5, 2014 / 1:17 PM

    I’m going to have to join you at the meetings, Janna. I can be decisive. Sometimes. Usually on Tuesdays. Other times, I go round and round in circles trying to make the “best” choice rather than moving on.

    That’s the real reason I moved to Florida . . . so no one would see my circular steps in the snow.

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:21 AM

      Haha! Love your reason for moving to Florida, Nancy! The weird thing about me (well, there’s many things…) is that I can make major decisions easier than I can the stupid little ones. Like I went to the store to get some pens because mine disappear (well probably in the kids’ room but they are good as gone.) I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t decide if I wanted gel or ball point, retractable or capped, fine, extra fine or medium point… then they added different colors to many of the choices. I wanted someone to just hand me a pack of pens and tell me it’s what I wanted. My experience buying plastic baggies was equally traumatic. Too. Many. Choices.

      • nrhatch June 6, 2014 / 6:10 PM

        You are not alone. Research has shown that people are less satisfied with choices they make when they have too many choices to choose from ~ they find it harder to ensure that they made the “best choice” from all the possibilities, so they second guess themselves. Or avoid making a choice.

      • nrhatch June 6, 2014 / 6:12 PM

        And often the major choices in life are “easier” to make . . . because fewer options present themselves.

        • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:49 PM

          You’ve got some good points, here, Nancy. Fewer choices would be nice sometimes. What’s really frustrating is when I stare at a plethora of choices and none of them are exactly what I want! Maybe I’m just that picky…

  7. diannegray June 5, 2014 / 1:31 PM

    I just love those steps in the snow and think they really suit my writing process as well! LOL

    Can I please join over-thinkers anonymous? I’ve got a millions reason why I need to join but can’t decide on just one 😉

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:23 AM

      🙂 I’m glad you can relate… seems I’m in good company, Dianne! Thankfully, you don’t have to pick just one reason to join… this frees our minds to ruminate over other things!

  8. Tessa June 5, 2014 / 3:06 PM

    I am a over-thinker for sure. I over-analyze everything. My finger hovers over the post button before I finally just hit it idiot. Then I wish for a unpost button LOL! Most of my stories are written quickly. What takes so long is convincing myself to actually post them.

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:26 AM

      I have the same hesitation, Tessa… nearly every time. And then when a couple hours go by and hardly anyone has commented, I think, “oh, it was bad… maybe I should delete it…”

      • Tessa June 6, 2014 / 3:29 PM

        I am glad that I am not the only person who thinks like that. 🙂

        • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:50 PM

          Nope! Best when I schedule posts to go up when I’m not around a computer so I don’t obsess over it, haha!

        • Tessa June 12, 2014 / 3:10 PM

          Now I never thought of that! 🙂

  9. Tessa June 5, 2014 / 3:07 PM

    Hmmm think I have a few typos in the last one. Should have stared at it rereading it a few more hours 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:27 AM

      Oh, don’t waste the time on comments… spend it obsessing over your stories, Tessa. I didn’t see any typos! 🙂

      • Tessa June 6, 2014 / 3:31 PM

        Good advice although I can still see 2 sections where I messed up and I am a perfectionist with OCD. 🙂

  10. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) June 5, 2014 / 5:20 PM

    I also tend to over analyze things. I simply can not write anything in that state. When I write, I just sit down and start typing away and the story flows from there. Whether it is good or not remains to be seen! HA HA I think it is only natural to fret and over think things we want desperately to do a really good job at. I wouldn’t delete that first story that flowed so well because it is probably really good, knowing you. Maybe walk away, do something else and see where your imagination takes you then. I have never known you to write anything that wasn’t exquisite but I do understand your worry. ♥

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:38 AM

      I couldn’t write anything either, Kathy! Normally, I obsess over certain word choices, not the general story idea. I’m definitely not deleting the first story (the long one.) I want to see if the length is long enough to submit anywhere. I did decide to post the first part of it with the photo, probably next week. Thanks for taking time to read my posts and share your thoughtful comments. I write lots of stuff that I think could be better, but I do appreciate your kind words 🙂

  11. Eric Alagan June 6, 2014 / 1:42 AM

    Well, most pictures say a thousands words – but some tend to lend more 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:39 AM

      So, I can just post five photos and I’ll have my 5000-word story? Huh… sounds good, Eric 🙂

  12. knotrune June 6, 2014 / 2:37 AM

    I think I’d join overthinkers anonymous. But then again, it would depend when and where it met. Would it really help me? I think nothing would actually make me stop overanalysing. My husband would want me to go for sure!

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:41 AM

      It meets in our heads, since we’re already wandering circles there anyway 🙂 My husband is really patient with me, but sometimes I swear I can hear the scream from inside his head! Glad to have you join in, Knotrune!

  13. Debbie June 6, 2014 / 7:36 AM

    Janna, by any chance are you a Libra?? Poor dears, they have soooo much trouble making their minds up (that’s because they can clearly see BOTH sides of most issues!).

    It seems to me that you need to follow your heart when writing, especially if you’re getting involved in what could be a l-o-n-g project. If you’re not passionate about it, your readers won’t be either. As for chopping a 3,000-word piece down to 1,000 words — well, perhaps, if you had a bunch of excess. But are you SURE you’re not writing more of a novel-length thing this time??

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2014 / 8:46 AM

      Good guess, Debbie, but nope – I’m a Cancer… by most accounts stubborn, but I refuse to accept that 🙂

      I don’t think this story is novel material (geez, I already have three ideas backing up in the queue that I can’t seem to finish.) I would like to get it between 5K and 30K so maybe I could submit it as a Kindle single. My problem is going to be genre…I have no idea what it would be. As for the story I’ll post, I’m leaving the first part pretty much in tact, I won’t condense the entire story line down… it would feel too rushed. It will read more like a scene than a story with a beginning, middle and end…

  14. Joe Ormerod June 6, 2014 / 9:00 AM

    Dear Lord Janna, you sound like my wife…except she’ll think about it for a few days, decides she MUST have it! But by the time she gets back to the store, it’s gone….and she’s PISSED!!!!
    I keep telling her “If you like it and it fits, buy it! You can always return it if you decide later you don’t want it.” Seems a simple solution…she hasn’t done it in 27 years now, perhaps I should just give up…Lol

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:53 PM

      I’ve had the missed opportunities, but choose to look at it that it wasn’t meant to be. There’s no winning here, because buying it doesn’t end the obsessing over it 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your over-thinker experience 🙂

  15. anotherday2paradise June 6, 2014 / 11:27 AM

    Well, I think you’re right to go to town on this pic, Janna. I would imagine that a whole mystery novel could be based on it. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:54 PM

      Thanks, Anotherday2paradise! But the picture with this post is actually one of mine. The “good” photo will be posted with the story, probably on Wednesday this week 🙂

  16. Imelda June 6, 2014 / 3:29 PM

    I think one of the reasons why your stories are good is that they are well-thought of. 🙂 Will we see your story here, posted in a series like you did with Darlene’s and Ellie’s stories?

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:57 PM

      I settled on posting the first part of it here. When I finish I may shop for publication outlets (I’d love to do Amazon Kindle Single) but I’ll have to wait and see. If curiosity is killing you, I could always email you the ending, haha!

  17. Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr. June 7, 2014 / 5:44 PM

    Interesting Janna! On the one hand, your over thinking, over analysis, over evaluating, etc. is the person God made you to be. From the little I know about you, that’s a good thing. A wise person is a thinker. Any fool can impulsively jump into things. Just be sure your over thinking does not hold you back from doing what God tells you to do. God bless! 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:58 PM

      That’s where I can’t be sure, Pastor Joe. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my thoughts/details that I can’t see beyond that. Thankfully, new days are good for some clarity.

  18. Carol Ann Hoel June 7, 2014 / 5:48 PM

    I’ll join the over-thinkers anonymous. I’m an over-thinker and I know I’ll always be an over-thinker. Over-thinkers are people, too, you know. Give us a little room to think. Blessings…

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 3:59 PM

      Haha, seems I’m in great company, Carol Ann. Like leopards can’t change their spots, I guess 🙂

  19. Eleni June 8, 2014 / 1:50 AM

    I used to be an ‘overthinker’ but I have learnt to embrace spontaneity and simple thinking. Actually, I have found that thinking simply involves significant risk, but it is also greatly liberating.

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 4:00 PM

      Spontaneity is a casual acquaintance of mine. I should get to know it better 🙂 Glad you were able to break free, Eleni!

  20. agjorgenson June 8, 2014 / 5:14 PM

    That is very generous of you to offer a story in response to a photo. I’m not sure you over-think things, but I think you can give yourself a break on the story needing to be nice. Too much nice makes for a dull story, I think.

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 4:03 PM

      Haha, it’s not too nice then, Allen! (I was quite surprised when the direction turned to a current-day struggle between angels- not what I initially had in mind. That aspect won’t be apparent in the part I post, though.)

  21. GodGirl June 8, 2014 / 10:27 PM

    Haha – I can definitely relate. I am the opposite of an impulsive shopper. I rationalize my way out of most of my clothes purchases due to the cost, or doubts about the style – my husband loves the effect this doesn’t have on our bank balance 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 4:04 PM

      I bet your husband IS thrilled about that, GodGirl! I buy much less now that I mostly work from home. Can’t justify as many clothes, which is okay with me 🙂

  22. Lance June 9, 2014 / 11:06 AM

    I’ll bring donuts to our next meeting. This is me, too.

    • jannatwrites June 9, 2014 / 4:05 PM

      Haha, welcome, Lance! We’re becoming a large group 🙂

  23. imab00kworm June 10, 2014 / 1:51 PM

    I don’t necessarily over think writing, that either comes or it doesn’t, but I tend to over think people, like their reactions, sometimes I can spend at least a day worrying about what someone said and if they really meant it or what they could have meant and an entire day is long for that because I’m a very distracted and forgetful person and often I realise that there was no point in fretting so much and it gets me nowhere.
    Good night, if it is night where you are that is 😉

    • jannatwrites June 10, 2014 / 10:48 PM

      I over-think people and interactions, too. Usually when I’m trying to fall asleep… I often dwell on something stupid I’ve said and toss and turn all night worrying that I may have offended them. True, that it gets us nowhere (except a terrible night’s sleep.)

      Now it’s nighttime where I’m at… soon I should be caught up enough to sleep without worrying, haha!

      • imab00kworm June 10, 2014 / 11:36 PM

        It’s exactly the same for me!
        Besides now it’s morning haha I’m one step ahead of you 😉

        • jannatwrites June 10, 2014 / 11:44 PM

          That, you are… for now 🙂 (It’s a continuous cycle, you know!)

        • imab00kworm June 10, 2014 / 11:51 PM

          Meaning I’ll always be one step ahead! Or is it two steps behind?

        • imab00kworm June 12, 2014 / 5:55 AM

          Oh :p
          I don’t know why it wouldn’t show on the app

  24. pattyabr June 10, 2014 / 8:16 PM

    I can relate to the writing and the shopping.

    First with shopping. Nowadays I window shop, or I go to the mall and look at what other people are wearing, or I look in magazines at the styling of clothes. Then I go home and think about what I want or need before I go out shopping for the actual purchase. That way I had time to think about what I saw and what I liked.

    When I “force” myself to shop to buy something for a special occasion or event, I usually go back home and find something to wear in my closet. Come home empty handed.

    Now with writing. I guess the same principles for shopping apply. After you have researched it, wrote it, read it, then its’ time to leave it alone for awhile and then go back to the writing. I guess the other choice would be to give it back to the person with the picture and ask them which story they would prefer. Another option would be to give it to a trusted writer/editor and and have them decide.

    Good luck.

    • jannatwrites June 10, 2014 / 10:54 PM

      I used to enjoy shopping more than I do now. It’s great for the bank account to not enjoy it anymore, though. (Although I’ve moved on to shopping for the house, which can get pricey, too 🙂 )

      I like your ideas about the story. I ended up going with my gut and doing the first part of the longer story. I did send the story to preview and it went over well. It will post tomorrow so I’ll see if I get any other feedback on it. Glad you stopped by tonight, Patty!

  25. Sarah Ann June 30, 2014 / 12:14 PM

    Thank you for not deleting or I would never have read (look how late I am getting here).
    After reading I think I’d like to join you in the over-thinkers club. What day do we meet? Do we have to meet? Is there a subscription fee? What do we talk about? What don’t we? I think I’m over – thinking now to stop me doing anything more useful.
    Looking forward to reading your story. I don’t think 3000+ is too long as long as you tell readers at the outset, and weird can be good – for you to stretch yourself and us to see what else you can do. (But you’ve probably already posted it and I’ve missed it.)

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2014 / 10:40 PM

      Haha, you’re in! No meetings, no fees – we just think about meeting. We don’t talk about anything because no one can decide which topic to cover 🙂

      No you haven’t missed the post, Sarah Ann…. shoot, I’m still writing the story (my progress is pathetic!) I’m up to 4700 words and counting now.

  26. pattisj July 14, 2014 / 6:16 PM

    You described me on some shopping trips. I’d rather not be with me, either! It’s really frustrating to go home empty-handed. I like the photo representing your writing experience. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 15, 2014 / 5:42 PM

      Circles… yes, that’s my process all right 🙂 Glad you can relate, Patti!

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