Donna Everhart


Every day my inbox fills with information I’ve requested.  Writing blogs I’ve subscribed to, online writing or publishing magazines, and a variety of other writing how to material.  I’ll stare at some of it for days, all good intentions of reading the material, only to get tired of seeing it stack up.  Eventually, I just hit delete, delete, delete.  Lately, I’ve started to classify much of it as clutter as in I’m beginning to feel a bit overloaded with the need to keep my inbox somewhat organized while “feeling” like I’m not wasting time by doing so

I realize there are some deliveries into my inbox very worthy of reading.  I ran across a post yesterday I felt was extremely helpful, but, mostly, staring at a full inbox just makes me feel like I’m always behind somehow.  I’m sure I’m going about it all wrong, as in I don’t have a defined process for how I work.  I don’t say I’m going to read the inbox from 8:00 – 9:00, then work on writing from 9:00 to 1:00, and then finish up with more reading to end the day.

Pffft!  If only I were THAT disciplined.

In addition to the email influx, I’m not counting the two magazines I get, Poets & Writers and Writer’s Digest.  I’m a year behind in those – at least.  I have them chronologically stacked on my night stand along with the ever growing stack of books I’m reading, because I paid for them and I can’t bring myself to de-clutter by throwing them out.  What if I miss THE article that makes ALL the difference in my writing???

And then, there’s the notorious TBR pile.  What I can’t seem to stop doing is buying books.  Right now, I think I have 75+ books to read.  I just bought three MORE this week. But, let’s be real.  I won’t ever stop buying books.  I won’t ever stop reading them.  As I’ve said before, I only read at night and by the time I get to bed I’m usually so tired I only get a few pages in. One thing I do think I could do less with is the influx into my inbox, and that general feeling of guilt I have when I don’t read everything sent.  I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do.  And, in thinking about it, if I’m simply going to delete them, then why bother having them delivered?

Therefore, I’ve been thinking about reducing the load. I’ve been thinking about unsubscribing to some of the sites I’ve been receiving emails from for years.  I’ve been thinking about trying to follow that “sensible” daily plan for when I’ll read, and when I’ll write.  My hope would be to have a feeling like I’ve actually accomplished something – mainly towards my writing goals – and have enough time to sit down and read that ever growing stack of magazines and books in the afternoon.

Books in the middle - only part of that huge TBR pile.
Books in the middle – only part of that huge TBR pile.

Sure, I’ll miss seeing some of those articles, but I can always visit sites at will.  I’ll have them bookmarked, I just won’t get the daily automatic dump into my inbox.

Wow, I feel better already!

10 thoughts on “Overload”

  1. Decluttering eases the mind and rests the soul.
    When I saw all that stuff arrive I felt like a slacker-writer because I simply did not have time to get to it. Letting it go is freeing. You won’t be a better writer because you spent all your time reading about writing, you’ll be a better writer (you’re a damn good one already) by writing .

    1. As usual you’ve hit the nail on the head. Writing and writing and writing some more is what makes us better, not reading. Now, why didn’t I think of that?


    1. My inbox was so quiet today, I kept hitting send/receive! Ha! I’m pressing on too, between one project and the next, it’s more than enough!

  2. I totally get this. I unsubscribed to a few places as well. I usualy sit and go through my boxes every couple days, but have been letting that slip because I just have too much that I won’t sit and read anyway.

    1. I’ve stared at items delivered to my inbox for days -even weeks, thinking I’ll read that later, I’ll read that later, and then I never do. It was doing nothing more than making me feel pressured as I saw it begin to pile up. This morning? Hardly anything. 🙂

  3. I’ve been unsubscribing left and right (and I really think the word should be “desubscribing”), and while my mental life feels less cluttered, it’s still not helping me get the writing done.

    1. I call it “unsubscribe” since that’s the terminology I’ve seen on all those sites where I did just that. 🙂

      Like you, I’m not going to say it’s instantly helped me establish the timeline I mentioned above. Baby steps. Glad to “see” you!

  4. Definitely unsubscribe from all but three of the most important ones.

    About five years ago for Very Good Reasons, I chose to go completely dark on the Internet. This meant unsubscribing from every single mailing list, blog and newsletter I had been subscribed to.

    Yes, the change was radical and would have been terrifying except under this circumstance. This was a major change in my life.

    I figured a year later I’d resubscribe and get back into the groove. However, as time went on, I discovered that I didn’t miss the noise at all. Also, not only did my writing career not suffer, but it blossomed simply because I had more time to devote to writing, than “studying”.

    You don’t have to unsubscribe cold turkey like I did, but do not fear relieving your burden. You may find yourself better for it.

    1. Here’s what I keep coming back to as I considered this; the summer of 2012, I was still getting into the swing of writing full time and my focus each and every day was the manuscript, and only the manuscript. I miss that. And recently, with an increased amount of family obligations, I’ve got even less time. It’s the easiest place to start, and likely gives me hours back to the day. Which, when I think about it, is astounding. Me? Spending HOURS reading (and commenting elsewhere)???

      I might miss it at first, but once I’m into a project – and I’m actually working on one I’m excited about, I also know that’s what will overtake my thoughts, not the idea I might be “missing” something.

      The idea someone else has been there, done that (albeit maybe a little more drastic than my plan) makes me want to try it even more.

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