the two “P” words….

Can you think of two words that start with “p” and fit together perfectly?

And no, all you innately sexual creatures, once again, I am not thinking of “that”. Remember, I told you before, this is not the place for sexually wanton writing, yet somehow ever since I said that, innuendo continues to appear.

The two seldom verbalized or admitted, but often practiced words, are the reason I have been away from my blog the last seventeen days. Of course I’m referring to procrastination and perfectionism. Usually when I am away from my blog for awhile it is because of one or the other, or both.

Recently I wrote a 2500 word short story for a timed international writing contest, NYC Midnight. One of my Underground Writing Cohort friends had tempted me to give it a whirl. I had a week to complete and submit the story after being assigned a genre, character, and a specific subject to be included.

Thanks to doing the story for the contest I became more self-aware. I discovered I can procrastinate perfectly. I never considered myself a perfectionist before. I now realized I was obviously wrong.

To be fair, the first three days I did have a migraine headache. Apparently people who have Sjogren’s are also prone to migraines at a more frequent rate than other migraine sufferers; hooray for us. Mine start by feeling like a vague sinus headache then build up to full frontal facial pain for three days. Needless to say pain encompassing my entire face is not conducive to my creative pursuits. So, right off the get go I was down to four days.

While I wasn’t sitting at my computer typing out my story I WAS doing what I do best – writing the story in my head. I told Mr. Wanton it would be extremely helpful to me if he, of technological expertise and mechanical invention, could possibly come up with something that could transcribe my thoughts automatically into a word document on my computer. You know, like verbal word transcription, but for my thoughts. He said “that is a bad, bad, idea.” What does he know? Oh yah, I usually tell him what I am thinking. Perhaps his opinion is of value in this instance.

Upon the end of the headache I should have been ready to type up my story, right? Wrong. For the next few days I proceeded to attack my long lost to-do list with a vengeance – the one that sits permanently on my desk, with items dating back to 1999, not all of which are crossed off yet.

Wow – more self-awareness – if I wanted to finally accomplish my least appealing tasks, the long overdue “leftovers” on my to-do list, all I had to do is commit myself to something I wanted to do even less, in this case the short story.

Perfect. I could put off the short story writing, not feeling guilty whatsoever, because I was getting lots of other stuff done. You know, important stuff – like organize my panties and socks, look up random symptoms via Google, watch Adele and Bruno Mars “Careoke” videos on YouTube repeatedly (okay, admittedly that wasn’t on my to-do list but in hindsight it should have been). I accidentally discovered the most seriously underrated motivational technique for overcoming procrastination ever.

So that brings me to this moment. How did I get over my procrastination to write a blog post today? Easy answer, the alternative was the now top priority item on my to-do list – personal income tax. Uh-huh, I definitely found what I can do perfectly every time.

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P.S. In case you are curious, I did complete the short story in eight hours on the seventh day, well before the midnight deadline.

WP Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/daily-prompt-fight-flig

Given my own battles with an anxious mind, I could not resist today’s “Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight”. Much is written in medical literature and layman’s self-help books about how the “flight or flight” response served us well in the cave man era. Fortunately most of us no longer have to worry about being eaten alive by any sort of large mammal. Unfortunately, now the biggest stalking predator we have to face is our own mind.

Serendipitously,  today a friend posted the following on Facebook: “FEAR = Forget Everything and Run or FEAR= Face Everything and Rise. The choice is yours.”

Although I appreciate the thought, the use of the word “everything” in those acronyms is not at all practical. It is not always the best choice to run, nor is it always the best choice to fight. Life is not usually that black and white. And the grey matter between our ears complicates it even more!

When fear is generated internally, in ones’ own mind, therein lies the problem. Dealing with an external fear, the choice is usually easy if one wants to survive. But what of all those  anxious,  fearful, ruminative thoughts? Nothing much more scary than that.

In my experience, the more you try to avoid or take flight from those thoughts the worse off you will be. If you fight them, you create even more stress. What seems to work best is neither fight nor flight, but to just “ride the wave”, let the thoughts come,  acknowledge them for what they are, and ride the wave to calmer waters. Realize all they are is just strange thoughts in a tired mind.

As I write about fight or flight issues, I cannot help but think of my blog title. I want to write with wanton abandon, but I also have the fear that if I do so I may be flirting with disaster. Okay maybe not disaster, perhaps just some embarrassment. So far, I am glad I “felt the fear and did it anyway”. I am hanging on and riding the wave!