What to do when you feel stuck in the weeds

Yogi Berra famously said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

I agree with that. You have to have a goal.

But that’s just the beginning. There’s more to it than that.

When I first started writing, all I knew was that I wanted to write a book. I thought I wanted to tell a particular story, but when I set out to write it, it turned into a different story, and that turned into something else, and then I wondered how I’d ever get it done when I was lost at the beginning.

It felt like I was in the weeds and it was frustrating and discouraging. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find my way out.

But I did.

Photo courtesy of Public Domain Pictures
Photo courtesy of Public Domain Pictures

Here are some things that helped me and they might help you too if you ever feel stuck in the weeds:

Stay flexible

My first plan didn’t work. Neither did my second. I don’t think my third did either. It was disappointing. At first I felt like I’d wasted time and energy on those first attempts. But then I realized they weren’t a waste at all. I learned from them. And I still have a lot of learning to do, but now I know better than to panic when things don’t work out like I thought they would. Now I know that a little flexibility goes a long way.

Connect with people who’ve been where you are

People want to help. Look for a book or blogpost, video or podcast from them. Find someone you resonate with. It may take a while. Keep looking. You’ll know when you find the person(s) whose message you need to hear. We all need encouragement to battle confusion and self-doubt. It helps to hear another person’s experience if only to boost your belief that if they did it, you can do it.

Find a process that works for you

Ask five different people how to do something – write a book, lose weight, get in shape, plan a trip, find a new job – you’re bound to get five different answers. Some writers outline every scene before writing a single word. Others start writing with a simple idea. Do your research to help you find a process that works for you.

Trust the process

Even when you have a roadmap to get where you’re going, you’re bound to face unexpected challenges along the way. Weeds. Don’t let them stop you. Make adjustments and regroup if necessary, then keep moving forward and don’t give up.

Once you know where you want to go and you’ve set your sights on a goal, keep these things in mind. Try one or more of these things to help you get out of the weeds and get back on course. You can do it!