I have something of a confession to make. I’m really good in a crisis. Like really good. If you’re spurting blood in the middle of the woods, I’m the type of guy you want there. I can stitch you up, bandage the wounds, McGuyver a way to carry you out and make jokes the whole time. Blame it on bad television and too many action movies. Whatever.
That may not sound like much of a confession, but the problems start when I’m only kinda sorta under pressure. Like the deadline for that paper is coming up and I -should- get it done. It really -is- pretty important.
This is the time where I start to suck.
“Yeah, the deadline is coming up,” I say, “but I got time.” Or, “It’s not the end of the world if I miss it. It’s not that important.”
But then I get mad at myself. It -is- important. I need to get on it. Then I throw myself in front of the computer, or whatever else, and force myself to start working. And nothing happens.
F*cking nothing at all.
Then I get pissed at myself and the whole thing spirals into a complete pile of unproductive.
I am so good in a crisis and so crap when its only a mild deadline. This has confused me for so long. I try to push myself. I try to get myself going, but nothing works. It has been the source of depressive episodes, writer’s block, fights, and a lot of drunken singing.
But! I’ve figured it out! I get it now. The same thing that makes me good in a crisis -is the exact same reason I suck under pressure- see, I handle crises well because I stay calm, no matter what is going on. I have -literally- strolled through a burning room to get to the fire extinguisher on the far side. I -have- made jokes to a man who was spurting blood out of his leg while I bandaged the wound.
It’s about being calm. Not about being frantic.
When I stress about things, when I worry, when I try to browbeat myself into meeting a deadline, I am not calm. At all. I am anything but calm. My brain freezes up and I can’t think. I certainly can’t be creative or do analysis. And the more stressed I am, the worse it gets. It’s why I hated doing homework in school and always did so good on the tests.
So, no deadlines. No writing goals or objectives. Just writing. If I can get myself to relax and just do it, I’ll be great.