Writing Under Pressure · 8 September 2013

I am not sure why, but I am at my best when I am under pressure. At least when it comes to writing.

It seems like I have always written well when a deadline was looming. Way back in high school, I would wait until the last minute and pull out some great essay. Or at least one that got me a good grade. I often stayed up late just to get them done. (Mom was glad that I learned how to type early in high school because she stayed up with me to type a few of those late night papers. But I suppose she was still kept awake by my pounding of the keys on that old typewriter as I met my deadline.)

Nowadays, I only have my own self-imposed deadlines, but I still do well under that pressure. Even when I do not have anything to write about, I can come up with something when I know I need a piece in an hour. Or less. Today is one of those days.

In reality, I am writing this two days before it will be posted, but I know what my schedule is like. I will have little time to write and publish before the next MediocreMan post needs to go out to the world wide web. So I know I need to do it now. The deadline is out there, but it is looming. Getting closer by the minute.

Back in the old days when I was given an assignment on what to write, I actually started writing right away. I just did it in my head. I would write an essay over and over and over again. I would start and restart. I would edit and refine. But I never put pencil to paper or typed anything out until the night before it due. Then, I would madly scramble to write a rough draft, edit once, and type out the final paper. I only remember missing one deadline with that process. (I still got a decent grade despite the penalty for being late.)

I often have the same process today. I write once and edit once and then post my blog. The only difference is that I usually do not know what I am going to write until I write it. I have great intentions and sometimes I have early inspiration. But unfortunately, I rarely have a backlog of blogs to put out there. (I do however, have a file full of clutter. Starts, fragments, or even finished pieces that will probably never reach the world because they are not quite good enough. Unless of course, I am about to miss my deadline. Then, I might need to post something substandard. Even though my standard is not necessarily very high.)

The deadline is looming, but that is not why I am about to finish. I have said about all I can say about meeting deadlines and my writing process. Except for saying a thank you to a former high school teacher.

Ms. Reid was the only one of my teachers who ever validated my writing process. She said that even though most people need to physically write and edit many times, I could get away with my process because I went through all the steps. Just not on paper. It was great to know that I was not a failure just because I did not do things the way everybody else did. More importantly, it was great to have a teacher who let me use my own process. Thank you Ms. Reid.

I may only have self-imposed deadlines, but I really am good under pressure. At least when it comes to writing.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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