It can creep up on you without you ever knowing. Its toxic presence can lead to a sense of hopelessness, resignation, and defeat. We’ve all experienced it at one time or another, and it’s a problem that can easily affect anyone if they’re not careful.
It is Analysis Paralysis.
When we decide to take on a new project or endeavor, it is logical that we want to learn more about this new topic or interest. That’s 100% fine and makes total sense. If you want to write a screenplay and haven’t before, the logical next step is to learn how to write a screenplay. Sounds simple enough.
Until it becomes a problem.
The problem with learning how to write a screenplay is when you lead yourself down a rabbit hole of not just learning the basics of screenwriting but delving into the thousands of books, seminars, and YouTube videos about the process. So, instead of writing, you’re absorbing dozens of different processes about the right and wrong ways to write a script.
**SIDENOTE: You can learn a lot from books and videos on any topic, so I’m not discrediting them. However, these sources should be referenced once you start the endeavor instead of preventing you from beginning.**
Inevitably, this oversaturation of information can become overwhelming, and it can lead you from even starting to write your script to being afraid not only to start but the terror of doing it wrong.
This can happen so quickly to us, especially in the “information age,” that it can cause you to want to give up and walk away from what you wanted to do. I recently ran into this situation when I decided to market my new novel. Every marketing guru seems to have their best-seller formula, and many contradict each other on how to go about it.
This, of course, is frustrating and led me to write this post. So, let’s talk about ways to combat the evils of Analysis Paralysis.
If There Are Many Roads, Pick One
When it comes to anything you want to do or try in 2023, dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people believe they know the right way to do it. This can be intimidating and lead many to give up before they even start.
So, if you want to write a screenplay, find a book or website that provides the basics and use that as a means to an end: to get you writing more and reading about it less. While I do encourage you to read scripts and watch movies, you’ll be further along in your pursuit to write your screenplay if you begin the writing process yourself.
This can be with anything. Want to cook? Great! Find a cookbook you like and make the recipes inside. Want to take up distance running? Great! Find a book or website about it and try out the methodology presented.
If the first path doesn’t work, try another one. Keep working through the different methods until you find one that works. The key here is to try one method at a time instead of getting overwhelmed by many methods simultaneously.
Shut Out the Noise
Have you ever noticed that when you decide to do something, everyone around you is suddenly an expert in that thing? And, like real experts, all those people think their opinion and view is the best. And most of the time, these “helpful” friends and family have plenty to say, and it’s usually negative and counterproductive.
Listening to the opinions of those around you can also lead to Analysis Paralysis. They may have your best interest in mind, but their opinions should not influence your final decision.
If you want to write, paint, sculpt, start a podcast, learn to cook, or do something productive and fun, don’t allow others’ pessimism to impact your goals. It can be easy to overthink what friends and family might think of you if you try something that doesn’t work out initially, but that’s their problem, not yours.
If you want to do it and work at it and make it happen, then ignore the naysayers and keep working toward your goal.
Just Do It
This can be the hardest part of the process, but sometimes you need to get out of your own way and jump in feet first. Even if that first try doesn’t go well, you’ve tried it out and now know if it’s something you want to pursue going forward.
Imagine that you wanted to play the piano, read dozens of books about it, watched hours of video about it, and listened to people tell you about the good and bad of playing the piano. After months of not playing, you finally schedule a lesson, sit down…and hate it.
When you cut out the over-analysis, you can quickly see if what you’re interested in is something you genuinely want to pursue. This also reduces the fear of trying new things and can help you decide if this new endeavor is worth your time.
Analysis Paralysis and Fear
Fear of the unknown is a common factor that prevents us from trying new things. Our brains have this evil way of talking us out of pursuing new activities and goals, giving us doubts and worst-case scenarios instead of encouragement and excitement.
Most of the time, our mind stops us from doing things that aren’t dangerous, things that would probably make us happier and more productive if we did attempt them. This is why pushing aside this negative voice and doing the activity is the best action to take.
It’s easy to be intimidated from writing your first novel when you measure yourself against an author like Stephen King, but even King had to overcome his fears and keep writing. Allow yourself to accept the fear but pursue the creative goal anyway.
Everyone has creative goals. Whether or not they take the steps to achieve them is another story. It’s easy to get bogged down in learning about something we want to do instead of doing it. Allowing experts, our fears, and even the opinions of those closest to us to prevent us from moving forward.
While it’s easy to get trapped in the cycle of Analysis Paralysis, it’s crucial to find ways to fight against it, push through it, and get to the next step of actually doing what we want to do.
Happy Creating, and I’ll see you next time!