Scheduled Stress

I am a very organized person. I thrive on efficiency. In fact, this sometimes leads to inefficient behavior. When I’m doing some activity (say washing dishes) and think of a better (more efficient) way to do the task, I’ll backtrack and start over. That’s just the way I roll.

My subconscious seems to work in a similar, highly organized way. The past two weeks have been a blur of activities. As a school teacher, I have final report cards and a sixth-grade promotion to plan and execute. The day after promotion (literally), I drove three hours up to Los Angeles for a conference on the new common core teaching standards. Then back at home, I picked up my new car from the dealer. Finally I shopped and decorated for my daughter’s fifth birthday party. All fun exciting activities, but quite draining.

The stress takes a toll on my body, yet it won’t show until the deadlines are completed. It’s as if my mind has a mental checklist. Until everything is ticked off, it will allow no sickness. Now that all my tasks are done and I’m officially on vacation, I get sick. My body collapses under the strain of so much to do in such a short time.

I don’t know if anyone else has this sort of condition. It might just be be. At least I can let my body relax. More deadlines are coming. Writerly ones. The kind I like.

Tim Kane

11 comments on “Scheduled Stress

  1. I tend to be a little like that, too. If I have a term position (I work as a substitue special needs EA), along with everything else I have to do, I can usually avoid getting sick until the term’s over. Then, I crash, like earlier this year. I’d worked for several months before Christmas. Holidays were hectic. I had two weeks booked to work for the middle of January and managed to stay healthy until I was done. By then, I was wiped. Although I accepted a couple of work days after that I had to cancel a couple I wound up with bronchitis. It’s almost as if my body said that’s enough! At least my major jobs were finished, so I could rest.

    Hope you recover quickly. 🙂

  2. I frequently come down with something after completing a stressful deadline. It’s like my body holds it off until I let down my defenses. I’ve stopped slighting and fighting and it’s time for staying and paying.

  3. Sorry you got sick! That stinks.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my writing style and I share a few similarities with you. I’m an all-or-nothing girl. I don’t know how to work on a project lightly. If I restrain my enthusiasm and excitement for something, trying to squeeze out just a little bit a a time, it usually goes dry and I stop working on it all together.

    My aim is to write two novels a year. If I was a normal, healthy writer I’d spread that count of approximately 130,000 – 160,000 words over months. But I don’t work that way. I prefer to write my first drafts in short bursts–utilizing NaNoWriMo and JuNoWriMo to keep me motivated and working hard. When those are over, though, I get pretty chill for the rest of the year, taking my time on edits and other things.

    It’s weird…this way that I work. But it seems to fit my personality and lifestyle. And even with that I’m still writing daily, whether it’s blog posts, short fiction, reviews, or rewrites.

    Fortunately my productivity swings haven’t directly resulted in sickness…yet. Hope it gets better for you!

    • Wow, that’s some intense writing. Glad you can keep it up. With a teaching job and a daughter, I can’t commit to long writing sessions like that. Don’t think they’d work for me. I often revise as I go, and shift the novel where it needs to be as I write. The process of working over months helps with that.

      • I’ve got you beat. I’m a homeschooling mother of three boys. 🙂 (I can’t imagine what I might be capable of producing if I was childless and single!)

        But, of course, different people work in different ways. I’m on my fifth novel now, so I’m sort of getting the groove down for what works for me. That’s a good feeling. Getting the first couple finished took a while, but this way seems to work well.

      • How can you manage such intense writing with three kids? Insane.

      • Umm…the jury’s still out on that one. But I put them to bed at 9pm which gives me three solid hours (9-midnight) a day of writing time. Sometimes I write some during naps, too. And on weekends… You get the picture. Pretty much any spare moment. I don’t watch TV. I’ve found that if I do word sprints I can get a lot more in a short time.

        Mostly, I think it’s just sheer determination. 🙂

      • I hardly watch any TV anymore. I’d rather be writing or reading.

Leave a Reply