I don’t know about you,
but I thought summer was supposed to be easier.
As in sips of lemonade and lounging in the sun.
Beach days and sleeping in.
All of a sudden, the pressure’s on. Why?
I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines.
I hate deadlines. Because it’s as if a tiny little man with a tiny little pickaxe is chip-chip-chipping away at something in my head, morning to night (and sometimes showing up at 3 or 4 AM). As he chips, the story (or nonfiction work) unfolds. Sometimes in pieces. Most of the time in stops and starts. And often when it’s inconvenient to get out the computer (or notebook), to capture that thought.
(Authors, you’ll get this.)
I live inside the story that the little man sculpts. And on the outside, real life whirls and whizzes with its own noise and intensity, like papers caught in stormy gusts.
(The little man and the wind compete for my attention. All. The. Time. Which can be really. really. irritating. Like having a gaggle of people talk to you at once. I don’t need that. I have lots of kids who’ve been doing that to me for years. oy. Got kids? You know what I mean, then.)
But then, I love deadlines. (Bust out the smile, here.) Because deadlines thrust me forward … which means that stuff is actually getting done and coming to fruition. As in end result. Accomplished. Completed. And that feels glorious. Ideas have downloaded out of my head, cascading over the falls and into the pool of finished. And I look at the result and feel relief.
(Little man has, for a moment, stopped. He’s actually sitting on a rock, polishing his little pickaxe with a smile on his face.)
Problem is, when the little man does his work
and too many outside pieces whirl in the wind around my head,
Big Bad Overwhelm threatens to jump in the picture and taser me into something frozen.
(Please don’t sing Let it Go, here. Thanks.)
Overwhelm = the worst response to deadlines.
Because overwhelm stops me cold.
Staring at the page. Or at the calendar. Or at the wall.
Not sure which pressing problem to turn to, first
(which only increases deadline pressure).
Anyone else feel this?
I thought so.
So when the pressure’s on, it’s time to
take a breath,
organize the rampage of thoughts into little lines
(“take a number”),
listen to each one’s plea,
(Just start on one thing.)
Do you have a deadline looking at you, right now?
Something happening soon that needs attention?
Something that you need to take care of?
Something you’ve been putting off?
Time to stop blogging and start doing.
(Time to stop reading and start doing.)
(See you later.)