Thursday, June 16, 2016


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I worked in a factory. We had a PA/Intercom system that we used to request various things, such as a supervisor or assistance or maintenance. My supervisor would love to irk his workers by calling for "main-tain-ents" when he would page maintenance--which never failed to irritate me (and as a young woman, I could not allow an irritating occurrence pass me by without letting others know that I was irritated by said occurrence. During this era, I earned the title of "Buck of the Night" because I was very "bucky." It came with a carefully crafted plaque made from duct tape, clear plastic sheets and Sharpie markers and I may or may not still have.) and to this day when I think of maintenance, I hear "main-tain-ents" in my head.

And apparently, I'm not too far removed from letting it be known that I'm irritated by something because, well... here I am.

Except this time it's me that's irritating me. I've recently come to the conclusion that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who do well with maintenance projects and those who do well with deadlines.

And I know for sure that I am no fan of maintenance.

This applies to all areas & aspects of my life--I would so much rather tackle a project with a specific goal and ending in sight than something that has to be done repeatedly, Groundhog Day fashion, until the end of time.

Having worked as an editor within a monthly deadline environment, I was exposed to both of these realities. Every month—often, every week—a deadline was necessary to ensure that we produced the product (in this case, a magazine) and the existence of the maintenance work that needed to be done with that was eclipsed by the monthly and weekly deadlines that just kept coming. Though that repetition obviously wore me down as I burned out on it.

But now, I've become something of a homemaker. I've taken on the majority of the domestic responsibility as my professional life is flexible and less demanding, but I'm faced with the grinding reality that I'm not a fan of the maintenance.

Example: I love to cook. Bake. Knit. Crochet. Paint. I hate laundry. Sweeping. Dusting. Dishes. Getting my hair cut. This is why freelancing is perfect for me—every month is something different, new projects to write, edit, promote. See, it's not just the drudgery of the work, because I have no problem getting shit done, it's those projects that just need to get done again once I've completed them. 

Oh; the horror.

But, there's a third type of doer, beyond maintenance or deadlines—it's pantsing. I heard this term at a writer's conference last month—are you a planner or a pantser?—and I realized I'm a total pantser. Where writing is concerned, it's the difference between the people who outline their projects versus those who just sit and write. That's a bit simplified, but you get the gist.

In life, pantsing is more of a last-minute planning thing. And I do love to plan ahead; if I know I'm going to have a deadline, I've got a folder made, labeled and stuffed with notes and research points to follow up on. If I know we're taking a trip, I've got a breakdown of what we need to bring, outfits, snacks and toiletries that I pack and repack for weeks ahead of time. I love the idea of planning and scheduling and I do well with a deadline but when things don't require a deadline, I'm a total in the heat of the moment pantser.

I blog in real time. I usually decide what's for dinner when I still need a few things to make it.

And speaking of planners, I've also recently heard of this movement called "bullet journaling"—which I'm a little pissed off that I didn't write about that a long time ago since I've been doing it for a while now. I'm thinking that if I wasn't such a pantser, you'd have seen it first here. But, that's a post for another day (literally).

Bottom line, with maintenance or planning or pantsing—it's all about the balance. I'll continue with my hybrid process of planning and pantsing—plantsing, if you will—mixing up my approach to keep it interesting.

And yes, if you were wondering, it's currently 8:49 a.m., Thursday June 16, and after I do a quick spell check I'll be clicking publish. Because, #plantsing.

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