The Ever Present Edit Anxiety

How my nephew first assignment, took him for a ride around the land of anxiety.

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Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

I just give a feedback to my nephew on his first assignment in university and had a bit mixed feeling about it.

He sent me a message stating: “Hey check out my assignment.” I thought okay I’ll check it later. It was a new experience for him not only from the well I am on university and this is my first work but also that he wrote it not in his mother tongue.

We sat I’ve read it and wrote notes of what happened within me after each paragraph. “You know how feedback is right?” Probably said some advice stuff about listening that’s not important here for the story. “You know the defending that comes, yeah don’t do that!” Some shit like that.

While I was finished he was full of tension to defend what he wanted to say and… Like it was eating him. You could see all the sentences wanting to be expressed. “My intention was to…” he went for a longer rant. I went along and wanted to see what’s there.

We arrived at the point where he was unsure, defending against the thoughts of whether or not to rewrite it or change it. He still could, but this was already a second iteration. For example, I just did multiple iterations on this article and erased it all. I’m back with the original one. See?

And the more we talked the more I saw how this anxiety is eating him alive. This possibility to republish to rewrite it just consumed him. He wasn’t sure at all anymore about it at the moment. It was an opinion piece, and he kept repeating: “I was trying and I put everything into it, I think is good.”

Now, I wanted to somehow give him this experience that the more you rewrite in this anxiety grab, the more anxious and not good it can get. You start meddling with the initial flow. Put too many explanations, just horrible stuff. There isn’t really ever end to writing. Each read you can find something to rewrite.

But, I didn’t want to. I can’t. Only he can go through this experience and deal with it.

I tried to go and say: “Hey my most viewed articles were the one least rewrite, and also I enjoyed them the most.” But he just held his head in his hand and was consumed by his mind. “Stop don’t” said out loud, he didn’t even want to hear more of stories.

And here is the thing. I finished 100th article here today, and the more I write the more I see how the panic monster can destroy the experience when it got out of hand. Sometimes I feel it’s almost not about what I’ve written but how I felt doing it. Which is strange, that the feeling while creation is the thing that I more care.

Maybe the point of this article was, if you find yourself being hijacked by your brain. Sit and wait till it gets quiet. Or go and try my way.

Publish it and republish it, share it on Facebook delete it, edit the fuck out of Title, Subtitle to the point your hand has a memory where the buttons to edit are. Maybe then you’ll find, what’s really happening. “Am I just fucking it all more?” You shouldn’t eat the cake, that’s what is making all the anxiety. Go poop! No really. It’s almost like till I didn’t burn your hand you want to click the edit button.

Now when this whole wheel of anxiety starts I just keep myself from it. Most of the time I don’t need to. When I know I was honest while writing, that’s what is important. And all the perfectionism and stuff. Well you don’t expect to be great at golf after one hit. No not the one on computer. Come on, it’s not that hard to understand right?

Just like yourself, and make fun of the mistakes, they are there whether you want them or not. Don’t fuck with it. At least few minutes after the publish. Then maybe with fresh head read it and edit here and there.

Bye,

Luke

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Just writing.

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