I've always been a great proponent of thinking. Now, you might be thinking, of course she is; why wouldn't she be? Everyone thinks. Yes, most everyone literally does think, but there are times when we don't. Our actions depict our thoughts and sometimes, we do things without thinking. Then again, some of us are guilty of thinking too much. I place myself in that group. Again, a thought, or rather, a question, might be dancing around in your mind: what the hell does it mean to think too much?
I've supplied a snippet of video from my all-time favourite baseball movie, Bull Durham. It wasn't always my favourite baseball movie, but as I've gotten older, I've come to better understand the cerebral value of many of the messages in it. The one message that's hit home for me, especially in recent years, is, "Don't think Meat, just throw." That was the sage bit of advice Kevin Costner's "Crash Davis" character gave to Tim Robbins' "Nuke LaLoosh" when he was trying too hard to throw perfect pitches. Unfortunately, I could not find a snippet containing the exact line of dialogue, but the scene I chose depicts Nuke's refusal to listen to Crash by throwing the pitch he wants, rather than the one Crash asks for. Fans of the movie know what happens next; the rest of you can watch the clip and learn a valuable lesson.
Thinking too much is a difficult habit to break, especially for someone like myself who does nothing but think all day long. Thinking is a byproduct of writing, obviously, and if you don't think about what you are doing, you'll inevitably look at your screen and find nothing but gibberish staring back at you.
When you write for a living, it's very easy to think yourself into oblivion; and it's very hard to stop thinking, even when your assignments are completed. Once the wheels start turning, it's almost impossible to get them to stop. Instead of mulling over the work, you move on to mulling over the thoughts in your head. That's when the trouble begins - work is something you need to do - even writers need to differentiate the "need" to write. We write to earn a living, and we write because to not do so would be tantamount to not breathing.
Some people who are "over-thinkers" need to find ways to distract themselves. I am one of those who welcomes the distractions. My favourite distraction from thinking too much is writing. That might be a tad counterproductive, but it helps; and it's the writing I don't get paid for that gets me over the hurdle of letting my thoughts get the better of me. Music may soothe the savage beast, but for the writer who thinks too much, the appropriate solution is to write some more.
The Gods may not have blessed me with a "thunderbolt" for an arm, like they did Nuke LaLoosh, but I can understand how thinking too much could lead someone with that particular talent to lose control of a hundred- mile-an-hour fastball. There are times when excess thoughts on a page can be just as destructive.
My advice to others who tend to think too much is to repeat Crash Davis' mantra of "Don't think Meat, just throw." The beauty of the Church of Baseball is that it provides practical advice for many of life's stickier situations. If you don't believe me, it's time to watch Bull Durham immediately if not sooner.