Sunday, October 23, 2011

Under Pressure by Choice

Ever have the feeling that sometimes you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?  I’m sure you have.  I’ve done it numerous times, and still, haven’t learned my lesson.

I’m a sucker for punishment.  To date, not only am I juggling my day job while attempting to write a new work in progress (two, to be honest), but also accepted a manuscript for beta reading (which I have to say is very engrossing), and the author wishes it back by the end of the month.  Admittedly, the beta reading is taking up more of my time than anything else — mostly because of the looming deadline.  On top of that, another writer sent me his published book and asked me to review it.  Wow, for realz?  That left me feeling quite chuffed that he’d want my opinion.  But wait, there’s more.  Just the other day, I decided to submit a short story to a fellow SF writer’s anthology collection.  I know, for realz.  And to think I’m more worried about the fact that I have to write a short story than the actual writing of it.  You see, I’m not very good at writing shorts.  So the most worrying part is trying to make it concise, compact, and still keep details intact and not make it sound like a police incident report.

And then someone asked me if I was planning on participating in the NaNo write thingy.  Until a year ago, I had no idea of what that meant, other than it being an iPod.  But my answer was an emphatic “NO.”  While I find real joy in writing, creating worlds to fall into, and bringing to life characters (who I think are unforgettable), I have no desire to be pressured into writing.  Deadlines, I appreciate, but NaNo write to me feels like an ultimatum.  For me, writing is a passion, not a job — I got one of those already and it sucks.  The moment it starts to feel like a job, where I have to clock in and shoot out so many words a day, that’s when all my creative energies exit stage left.  Don’t get me wrong; I can appreciate the purpose of the competition; it hones your skills and offers motivation to write, with pep talks and forums, and so forth.  But, it’s just not for me.  Generally, I’m not the most competitive person out there.  And with all the other stuff going on, the last thing I need is the pressure of: I have to write.

So, as I whittle down my to-do list (not likely to happen since it keeps growing), November will see me diving into my WIP (Oh, yah, and the short story), keeping to my own pace and my own deadlines…and playing with my new puppy, Jax, who is most entertaining between breaks for air.

So, I am "pleasantly" under pressure by choice.  Hmm, now I can’t seem to shake that song by Queen out of my head.

T.K. Toppin


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I agree, Just say no to NaNo. We are published now we don't need to teach ourselves to be sloppy writers, letting out unperfected literature. Hone the craft before you release it.

TK Toppin said...

Thanks Julie. I've never been one to compete, generally speaking. I love my own pace just fine.

Cynthia Sax said...

I never thought of NaNo as a competition. I consider it a month-long word sprint, and I find word sprints very helpful for getting that first draft on paper.

Accountability (even to a bunch of online people we don't know) is a powerful weapon in getting goals accomplished.

January Bain said...

I have been working lately at trying to see my day job in a better light after going to a Wellness Seminar where they mentioned that teaching is in the top 5 most stressful jobs. (My husband says that it's best to see all the little darlings like . . . It helps, but still I resent the energy the day chews up.
You have a lot on your plate and probably feel overwhelmed in getting it all done. And sounds like you're too kind which adds to the sense of fustration when you cannot say "NO".
Well, I'm adding that word to my vocabulary this year and taking more time for me to do what I love most: writing!!!!!