How Well Do You Work Under Pressure?

Writing samples: Parker 75
Image by churl via Flickr

People who want to get into the business of professional blogging sometimes have the wrong notion that it’s all easy work. They see blogging not as a serious activity, but more akin to diary or journal writing, where one just posts whatever thoughts, feelings and ideas he has, and that he will earn from these.

Well, in some cases this might be true. But blogging for income is not always a walk in the park. If you want to make a business out of it, it is serious business. It’s hard work. Sometimes you don’t even get compensated well enough for your efforts. It’s not just writing, hitting publish, and waiting for the cash register to ring. After all, blogging is not just about writing, but also about connecting as well.

One big factor here is the pressure–both the pressure to write and the pressure to earn. This is usually the case when you are facing deadlines and posting schedules. This might also be the case when you are assigned to cover a certain event or topic, and you are hard pressed to be the first to provide coverage.

A lot of bloggers, especially those who work for networks, have probably learned to adapt to this type of setting. But some of us–mostly those with more artistically inclined writing, or those who prefer op-ed column type postings–probably don’t feel productive or inspired enough when there are external pressures.

In my case, I’m more of the latter. I work best when I’m able to focus on just writing, and not thinking of deadlines, ToDo lists and other distractions. Give me 30 undisturbed minutes in front of the computer monitor, with only the WordPress New Post page on my browser, then I can probably come up with a (hopefully) informative or thought provoking post. But when I’m required to publish a post on a certain day at a certain time, then most probably I will have to linger around, looking for a topic to write about, trying to collect my thoughts, and looking for information to back up my article. It would take me hours to finish this kind of post.

I also feel most productive when my energy levels are high. I envy the bloggers who have the energy to write several quality posts in a short span of time. Usually, the moment I publish a feature type post, I’m drained. Perhaps I need to manage my energy better. Perhaps I should learn to outline and plan my writing better, so I don’t end up only writing when inspiration hits me.

Which type of blogger are you? How well do you perform under pressure? Are you better under schedule, or do you wait for the muse to come calling? Moreover, does external pressure energize you, or does it drain you?

4 thoughts on “How Well Do You Work Under Pressure?

  1. I find I don’t work very well under pressure. If I have a deadline to meet and things are not going the way I expected I get fidgety and my time in front of the screen is unproductive. When this happens I know it is time for a walk or a sit in the garden. To an outsider it might look like I am relaxing or wasting time, but I am actually re-energizing and get ready for another attempt. Honestly!

  2. Ahh, why didn’t I find this site when I was beginning my blog? I could have used just about every article three weeks ago!

    Thank you for the insight expressed in this particular piece, though, about the writing itself. Nothing thrills me more than the blank page, but filling it IS hard work. It’s good to know others feel the same way.

  3. It can be a bit difficult to make the switch from working around a schedule to being your own boss. Yes it’s great to manage the schedule around you and maybe even stick in a project or two more than you did before, but it can also be tempting to slack off and take a nap whenever you feel too tired.

    So I would say it is good to make a ToDo list big enoguh to keep you on your toes and and also take some time off to watch your favorite tv show if your are feeling too stressed.
    It’s all about balance, right?

  4. Yep, that is me… a ToDo list that just crested 600 items and 16 hour days at a minimum. I am at the point that I feel like if I had a week off, the Earth would cease rotation… BUT if I don’t have that kind of pressure, I don’t get things done.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have been doing this for better than 25 years, and I dearly love the computer field… but, what would it be like to have a solid week where I didn’t even see a computer? I am willing to try this, but there is a small problem: Who will keep the earth turning while I am gone? Anyone? 16 hour days? No? Darn. 😉

    Any advice on actually putting it all down and walking away? I was never good at that whole vaka-er-vacishun-hmmm-vackat-dangit, apparently I can’t even spell that whole time-off and road trip time period thingy National Lampoon made a bunch of movies about. 🙂

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