Ineffective Panic Stations

This week I’m bringing the crazy in a big, big way. Not that I noticed, at first. It just crept up on me and mugged me while I wasn’t looking, and it wasn’t until I found myself re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom at two am on Monday morning that I realised what was really going on – uncertainty stress.

I tend not to think of myself as a control freak, but there’s an interesting pattern to the way I react to big ol’ globs of uncertainty. Stage one seems to revolve around a kind of mental explosion during which I start a series of low-reward, low-effort projects that serve very little purpose beyond shoring up my self-esteem. Stage two revolves around asserting control over my physical environment (or day-dreaming about it) – rearranging furniture or bookshelves is a big indicator, as is hitting real estate agent websites and researching the possibilities of making a big move interstate. Stage three usually comes once I realise what’s happening, upon which I take all the uncertainty out on my writing – projects are re-conceived and re-built from the ground up, small flaws in drafts become painful thorns in my side until they’re re-written, and I turn into an insane over-achiever who sets myself a dozen impossible career goals before breakfast.

Not that knowing this is keeping me from making any further screw-ball decisions about my working process, but it does give me a momentary respite when I step back and try to figure out why I’m awake at two am trying to transform 25000 words of Black Candy draft into third person.

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