Aphrodisia Authors

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Performance Anxiety

So you probably see that title and think this is going to be a post on erectile dysfunction or some such thing. While that would make for a fun and interesting post, that actually isn't what this one is about. I was thinking instead of the performance anxiety I feel whenever I have an approaching deadline. When I was employed with an engineering firm my job included just about everything from head cook to chief bottle washer (okay, not really those tasks, but ya know what I mean). I had deadlines and stress galore, but I never had performance anxiety. I think this is because I knew if I had one off day it wasn't liable to sink the entire ship (darned, euphinisms keep popping up--at least they stay out of my writing), or maybe it had to do with the fact that despite my various roles I'd performed them all enough I knew nothing too different was going to come through.

With writing each new novel is new--at least it had better be if I want to keep my readers turning the pages. And with each new novel that I know has a deadline my performance anxiety gets a little worse. I find myself paranoid the story isn't going to be good enoough and so I edit and re-edit/read and re-read, and this makes it very hard to get much of anything done. Not to mention probably steals from my natural voice and the story's pacing. It sure makes for a much longer writing experience. I used to be able to put 6 - 8 books a year or more easily. Now, I find myself lucky to get out 5 a year. That still isn't bad, but it isn't up to my personal par and I find it frustrating when I write slow.

Not having the set hours seems to just make the matter worse. It's so easy for me to say I don't think I could write today if I had to and so I don't. Now, when I was working at that engineering firm, I didn't have a choice. I had to go to work, I had to do the work. If I didn't feel like it, tough cookies. I just did it and eventually persevered.

So, am I alone in this? Do you others with deadlines suffer from performance anxiety? I don't think this pertains just to authors, but anyone who works either from their home or without set hours. How do you get over the performance anxiety hurdle?

Now, that I've said the above, I just had a thought on an erectile dysfunction post. Will have to put that one on my personal author blog today, as I am now eager to ask a Q to you all about a book I am getting ready to ship off to my agent.

Posted by Jodi Lynn Copeland :: 7:50 AM :: 6 comments

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