Doing what you’re good at sucks.

Reasons Laurie Sucks at Blogging On Time:
1. She was being mauled by rabid zoo animals.
2. She hates you.
3. She was developing an app that makes your phone know to mark all your texts and emails as unread if you look at them with one eye closed first thing in the morning.

The real reason is that despite my poker face exterior, I’m a nervous wreck when it comes to doing the things I deem important. I constantly stare at the digital clock in my car, as if arriving to an appointment two minutes late will have me drawn and quartered. I’ve taken ibuprofen before Algebra tests to calm my psychosomatic headaches. I’ve had dreams haunted by misplaced commas. Before I owned a laptop, I actually got out of bed on more than one occasion, maneuvered my way through the dark to the family computer, and squinted my half-sleeping eyes open in order to check for imagined punctuation errors on essays I wrote for school.

I know that people get nervous from time to time, but when I feel the pressure to prove my adequacy or responsibility or talent, I slip into a borderline anxiety disorder. What if I find out that I’m not as good as the Noir Bards? What if I learn that all these years of reading books about sentence structure and covering the back pages of class notebooks with interesting quotes and phrases was all in vain? What if the world tells me, “Go back to Happy Candy Bear Island; you’re terrible at this!” and I promptly implode?

It’s irrational, but I have two opposing mindsets. One voice is telling me to stick with the light humor security blanket style of writing that comes naturally to me, and the other is telling me to push myself to write something more powerful. I don’t always want to produce a quirky-life-lessons-learned-blah-blah-cotton-candy-blah anecdote, because sometimes you have to subscribe to the deep-dark-despair-and-black-Sharpie style in order to be taken seriously.

But what better way to overcome anxiety than to dip your whole head into a freezing cold bucket of it?

In order to write daily, I have to let go of the fact that it’s never going to be the perfect, error-free, interesting variety that I want it to be. Most of it will be an incoherent mess. I’m trying to judge myself less harshly when it comes to first drafts and valiant efforts, because failure is far more useful than success. With failure, there are forensics. There’s a dead body on the floor with all kinds of information to inspect and learn from. Trust me, I’ve seen every episode of Dexter. I know how bloodstain spatter pattern analysis works.

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