|My schedule for the week|
Recently, I saw an announcement that Dave Barry, "Legendary Humorist", would be speaking/performing/signing a book somewhere. I appreciate Dave Barry (and his friend Carl Hiaasen) but I don't remember the details. I just thought: I would hate to be billed as a legendary humorist.
What pressure. What if you're tired? Or coming down with a cold? Or hungover? What if for any other reason, you just don't feel funny? What if you're scheduled to be funny on stage that night, but wake feeling anxious and can't shake it? What if you're just having an insecure day? We all have insecure days.
I'm sensitive to this. I fret if there's high expectation attached to something I said I'd do, or if I'm rushed to produce something without adequate time to prepare, or, apparently, if I have just enough time to prepare, because as of last night, Sunday, after I literally had a week to prepare today's post, well...
It's not performance-anxiety as much as time-management anxiety. I'm not preoccupied with doing something well enough, I'm preoccupied with not doing it on time which makes no sense, because I have complete control over my schedule. And yet, it seems the way I manage deadlines best is to give myself plenty of time in advance, and almost no time right before a deadline so that I can strike a comfortably pressing environment without creating a pressured one. You know who else does this? Children who are potty training, and every college freshman I ever knew.
Am I on my own nerves with this behavior? Yes, I am. But I understand it. As I've said before, the magic thing about fifties is that you figure things out quickly and take action. All that staring out the window, thinking about why, who and what we "are" is what they're doing over at the kid table.
I love writing - book, blog or whatever - but I love it most when I have plenty of time to delete and start over and delete and start over again. For example, in addition to finishing my novel, I post to this blog on Mondays. The minute I hit "send," I start writing for the following Monday. It's my fun day. When I-don't-have-to-run day. It's what I call the "paint on the page day". I write, write, write, knowing most of it is crap, but also knowing I have days to slice and dice, and lots of time for
distractions discoveries: Facebook updates, Google searching, blog
trotting. Then, as the stretch between
Mondays shortens, by Sunday, I have the
basic post and I finish it off by becoming that twenty-five-year old who says
in interviews, "I thrive on
pressure" (spare me) when what they really mean is "I procrastinate
like crazy, but know how to pull my ass
out of the fire at the last minute every time," (a far more impressive skill) and
that's what I do. I meet my Monday
deadline and have interesting discoveries to bring up at dinner .
Last week, however, after being pulled repeatedly from my writing schedule for one reason or another I was left with only time for last minute writing, and no time at all for discoveries. And yet, on that abbreviated schedule, didn't I have to look up why Yanni divorced Linda Evans, what the expression "Come to Jesus" really means, where I would find the mother-of-the-bride dress of my dreams, why the chat list on Facebook changes so often, and pictures of Chopin so I could ask my violist daughter if she ever noticed how much he looks like Al Pacino? ("No," she said, "But I will now. Thanks.")
Early last night, when I would usually be picking a good graphic to go with my post, and discussing where to go for dinner with Larry, I was still in my socks and ponytail, looking at a post that had six or seven different points embedded in it.
Give it up, I thought, and so I fixed myself up and went for dinner.
So I apologize for offering only a post about not posting this week, but I'll bet some of you can relate. And, even as you read, I am splashing about in my stream of consciousness and eyeing my editorial calendar, in preparation for next Monday's post.
Because it's Monday, my fun day. I'll be ready for Sunday, which is another story.
P.S. The line "I-don't-have-to-run-day" comes from The Bangles "Manic Monday" a song that was probably written in it's entirety on a late Sunday evening and yet performed very well on the charts.