Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dum Dum Dum Da Da Dum Dum, Under Pressure

I think Queen (the band) had a bit of this in mind when they sang that song.
We all have pressures on us and our time. When we have something of real value the balance that exists in the universe will attempt to rob that from us.

The pressure is caused when we resist that change.  The building pressure or result of resisting the easy path to nothing is what makes us strong and produces things of value.  When I go the gym I quite frequently drag myself there.  All I want is to go take a nap or read a book or do anything but exercise, but it's the act of winning over my weakness that builds strength.  It's the same with writing.

I often wonder why my best writing comes from the smallest periods of time.   Those last few minutes before my writing time expires is when I get the most value.  The idea's and words flow.  It's not because those last thirty minutes are any better than the first ninety.  I believe it's because I have pressure to perform.  I have a deadline at 6:29am that says your time is up.  If I want something at that point I had better push hard and make progress.  The pressure of deadlines drive us and opens our potential. 

Most days on my breaks at work I try to rough draft some notes about the current story I'm writing or developing.  Not once in the past year I've been doing that have I ever sat down thinking I knew what I was going to write, but knowing I've got ten minutes makes it work.  The first seven minutes are sheer torture, the pressure builds and I fear not getting anywhere.  Then it breaks and for three minutes until I drag myself away from the burst dam of idea's I've gotten somewhere. 
A deadline, even if self imposed, gives us a road map.  We can see and plan out milestones to reach a bigger goal.  Without deadlines there is at best an ambiguous destination.  Essentially there is no path with check points.  Therefore no pressure.  No growth.  Anyone could walk a hundred miles if given an eternity.  But if you've been given 48 hours, you bet you could foot that distance, but you'd have to create specific goals and checks to ensure you don't miss your target.  What is the difference.  The latter provides growth.  If you take an eternity to get there and had no pressure you can't possibly grow.

If you're like me you have many things pulling on your time.  Work, family, religious duties, the growing need to eat or sleep soon.  Don't look at these as obstacles, but as blessed pressure builders.  Carve out your writing time and guard it jealously, but don't abandon your life.  You need those things to make this, your writing, worth while.  You need the pressure they'll give while you struggle to write. 

For me it took making sacrifices I didn't think I could before before I could write regularly.  Maybe it will for you also? 

When you're under pressure, don't give up.  When (not if) you're feeling pressure it's because you're on track.  It's what this life/world is about.  Push past your barriers and create new wider boundaries for yourself.  That's right.  Get your backside in the chair, put your fingers on the keyboard and push those keys.  Eventually you'll be making words, and soon those words will mean something.  Not likely until the last moment, but you'll have something you didn't have before.  And that is valuable.

Happy writing to you.

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