I do not work well under stress, I know this well. Stress for me (like fear for Dune) is the mindkiller. Stress does not make me fight to overcome, it does not drive me to produce, it does not build my will into tempered steel. No, instead stress freezes me into place. When stress begins to build I stop moving, not for lack of wanting and trying but more because I cannot decide what to do first to relieve the strain.
I have memories (a lot of memories) of myself sitting somewhere totally frozen to the spot because I don’t have a clue what to do first. My brain screams, “I can’t do this!” or alternately, “What do I do?” and all the while I sit there, my hands clenched and my heart pounding. It does not last long, and if the stress has gotten bad enough to merit a frozen spell I am usually just a step away from buckling down and plowing through as many stressors as I can…still, building up to that point is horrible for me.
I can see myself getting slower and slower and I don’t know how to stop it. I try to attack the things bothering me but I am like an ostrich. I run at it head on until right before I hit it and then serve. I’m sure all of us do this to a point…avoid the things we don’t really want to do in favor of the things we do want to do and be damned the consequences…but for me it has to build to a mountain AND avalanche all over me before I will address it.
Now here is where things get crazy!
Deadlines are not a stressor for me. Deadlines are a goal, an achievement…they are something I am working toward, steadily. Thus the pressure of producing is always being worn down. I’ve got 10,000 words to catch up on…well look I’ve gotten 4 thousand done over the weekend. Deadlines are the carrot at the end of a very long stick…and I don’t mind inching up that stick to get to the dangly veggie because that’s what I’m doing, inching forward a bit at a time. Besides, if it gets to be too much I can always take a break and hit it again later.
Unlike so many other things that have to be done or not writing is a work in progress and because of that I feel like I can face it without fear.
Now if I can only make the rest of my life work that way.