Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Incremental anxiety

I've returned from vacation with a slowly mounting sense of panic at how many deadlines I have this month. I said 'yes' to one, if not two too many projects. What I mean by "too many" is more than one article due per week, and yes, I've been here before, and yes, I will get them all done. In fact, if I look at the history of my article writing over the past five years, I think there have been only a handful or maybe fewer, that I have ever written NOT in a state of panic. There have been a couple exceptions where I needed to ask for an extension--particularly when I was finishing my book Make a Scene--but really, I have always, always gotten them done. I like to think this anxiety is akin to what performers feel before they go on stage--part fear, part hope that you will get it right, even if you've already set the precedent for yourself.

So my deal with myself now is this: I am only allowed to panic about one project per week. The one whose deadline is most pressing. And by "panic" I mean, worry over, focus on, and think a bit obsessively about. Last night, this actually worked for me. As I lay awake, unable to fall asleep and therefore thinking about my article, the lede of the article came to me, which always helps me structure the rest of the article. That led to a feeling of competency: "I can do this! I have written articles before!" (only several hundred, Jordan, in case you've forgotten).

Strangely, that's helping. When I start to look ahead to "the next" thing I just tell myself, "you can worry over that next week" and it works! I recommend it.


At 2:45 PM, Blogger tracer said...

Expectations from others always puts me in a panic, but I like this idea of thinking of it as intense focus instead of fear. Ah, yes, that's better.

And talk about YOWZA! I love your new pic.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Trushka said...

Yes, I love your new pic too! (and I want the original by e-mail, please).

I completely relate to what you are saying in this post. Last 'night' I woke up at 2 am to do what I had to do, and finished it by 5:30 am. I must have been in panic to wake up at that time.

Good luck with your next deadline.
And thanks for the previous post. I re-sent it to my friends in the hope of making them smile.


At 11:22 AM, Blogger Ms. Theologian said...

Like your new font too!

this sounds like wise time management.


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