My two devils aren’t that brilliant pair: Satan and Scumspawn from BBC Radio 4’s wonderful comedy Old Harry’s Game.
I’m cursed with Procrastination and Perfectionism. They’re out in force, hand in hand as usual, as I write this at 6.30am despite promising myself that this week I would post early. Today I’m going to try to give them a good kicking.
It’s not the best start. WordPress is playing up and won’t upload the picture I saved for this post. Perfectionism means that every fibre of my being shrieks: ‘Stop writing until that is in place. It’s utterly vital for illustrating your point.’ So Perfectionism can go to Hell.
I’ve gone back to that last sentence to rewrite its ending about ten times. I’m not going to tell you how many times I have rewritten this paragraph: you would either not believe me or call the appropriate emergency services. Despite my best efforts, I’ve also wasted more time trying to upload the picture. Kick me if I say that again.
Someone told me recently that they found it frustrating having to manage perfectionists at work. After feeling offended, I can see the point. I hit the ground running and make an awesome start of things. Completing them is different. A deadline is pretty much the only way that I can ever finish any project and nothing that I do ever seems good enough.
My mother told me not so long ago that my parents decided not to praise me as a child. They were concerned that my brother, severely mentally ill from a young age, might feel upset by my doing well at school. He left education at about the age of eight. I wonder sometimes if that has contributed to those ‘should do better’ feelings: my constant striving to get more qualifications and take on new roles.
As a parent myself, these demons are a constant horror. The idea of being a ‘good enough’ mother is hard but something I try to bear in mind. I have had to take out the word ‘just’ before ‘good enough’ several times there.
Earlier this week I read a terrific blog piece on procrastination which crippled me into further inactivity: I was furious at not having written it myself. It’s by Morna Piper in women’s writing magazine MsLexia. When I get round to it, I will leave a comment on her post as I can relate to almost every line.
I’ll do it later: really, I will. As I have a novel to complete and edit, this post has to go now *closes eyes to hit ‘publish’ button. Changes ‘shuts’ to ‘closes’. Only a few times back and forth though.*