Under Pressure

You know that feeling you get when someone is watching over your shoulder? Or, you say you can sink a basket from the free-throw line? No pressure, right? Oh the deadline is Friday? For all of the discomfort it brings, pressure also can bring out the best in us. I’ve found the best way to motivate myself is to set a deadline. Even better is to tell someone about my deadline. If I can line up my goal with this type of pressure, I will almost always complete the task.

Here are my steps,

  • I have a thought or an idea.
  • I write it out either in Google Drive or in a personal notebook.
  • I decide what effort is needed, money or time.
  • I let it percolate inside of me for however long it’s necessary.
  • When the idea has built enough inside of me I usually get follow up ideas and at that moment I can plunge into the project.
  • I find tweeting my progress helps

My pitfalls

It’s easy for me to get lost in researching my ideas so, I try as best as I can to write everything out from the top of my head. Ad Lib if you will. Afterwards since the idea is written out I can edit as needed and add more details.

It took me a while to get comfortable with announcing my plans. Stating aloud “I’m writing a novel,” can lead to all types of feedback. Some think you’re bragging, but you’re not. Mostly I avoided it because seemed like too much pressure. It created that mind numbing turmoil in my head. Now if I don’t finish I am shamed. No one wants to look like a braggart or a fool, but people really have short memories. And they have their own lives to live. A week from now, their troubles will make them forget about the silly thing you stated. And when you actually finish the novel, run the marathon, or lose the weight, you feel the satisfaction. Isn’t that what you wanted?

Run for yourself, not anyone else. – runner’s world

suggested read:

 

Can’t Stop Running And Can’t Keep Up

I had someone tell me once that they had difficulty writing because they were always correcting their mistakes. I tried to explain the crazy and insane process of most writers but I don’t think I got the idea across. Like most people writers are nit-picky perfectionists. We want to cross all our T’s and dot our I’s also. We care about how everything looks just as much as anyone but your perfect first draft doesn’t impress me.

Writing is a craft. the correct usage of words and the perfect timing of sentences, these are the work of someone who has over many years developed the ability to hear the flow. To be able to develop a paragraph of fiction that sets you on the edge of your seat doesn’t happen in one writing. Writers have learned. First you take all the chaos of a story or whatever it is you want to say and you DUMP it in the middle of the paper. It’s a mess but it feels good to get it all out there. Then you walk away. Leave it there. Kinda like my picture of God in Genesis. BOOM, BANG! That’s where I want to hang the universe.

English: running

After some time later you start combing through all that crap on your page. Reorder here, cut there and add some more in to rephrase to the n’th degree until it reads exactly the way you want it. And it’s not finished until it’s perfect. Writers rarely sit down at a typewriter and start from the beginning Chapter 1. Never have. That’s why we have pencils and paper.

Sometimes I get myself into the frenzy of fixing everything. Those pants need hemmed. That filter is dirty. Ugh, the toilet needs cleaned. And the list goes on. If I’m not careful, I’m the frenzied lady who snaps at people in the grocery store because I still have laundry to do. Stop. Wait. Halt. It will get done. There’s no need to trip. I have to remember to enjoy this moment.

Here’s a quote from a blog I read,

WE ARE BECOMING ADDICTED TO CHAOS AND FRENZY

In talking with a bunch of MBA students at Brigham Young University the other night, I was asked whether blogging was really going to die soon. I replied, naturally, that radio died shortly after TV started, so yes, that was likely. (I wish there were a sarcasm font, but you get it). I did say, however, that we are the problem.

We are addicted to next. When we read our inbox, we’re always thinking about the next mail. When we browse the web, we are calibrated to scan quickly, skim often, and barely register what we see. It’s neither good nor bad. But it definitely is.

YOU CAN’T KEEP UP

A woman three days ago said, “I don’t like Twitter. I can’t keep up.” I said, “You don’t have to keep up. It’s a stream. Dip in. Say hi. Read what you want. Leave.”

But we think we have to keep up. We believe we have to read Mashable and TechCrunch and all those sites to know what’s new or who’s being acquired.

Hint: nearly none of us have to do that. Nearly none.

PUT. THE. PHONE. DOWN.

https://rt947.infusionsoft.com/app/linkClick/8791/7d2248d5748c4b8a/2521807/aad05136721d9f6d

Another writer I enjoy is Seth Godin. I and many others quote him a lot, because he “gets it.”

At the same time…

The lizard brain is on high alert to make sure that everything is okay. The lizard brain can’t rest until it knows that everyone likes us, that no one is offended, that all graphs are ticking up and to the right and the future is assured. But of course, the future (and the present) isn’t perfect. It can’t be.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/03/fomo-joy-jealousy-and-the-lizard.html
To craft a beautiful life takes effort. It takes focus on the most important things. These usually aren’t the urgent things. These are the moments you sit and read to your child. A kiss goodbye. Having coffee with a friend. Watching a storm come in. So the next time you find yourself running around like a crazy person, remember, you can never catch up. And sometimes we get so caught up in the running that we forget to enjoy the things that matter most.