For the first time in just over a month I do not have any looming spectre of extra work looking over my shoulder, nudging me that I should be paying attention to it instead of looking at funny pictures of hairnets. I’ve actually done all of the huge amounts of freelance I took on.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be more to come in future I’m sure – unless I’ve spectacularly nadgered up somewhere – but right now, the here and now, I am done.
But I don’t feel like a weight has been lifted. I don’t feel glad that I don’t have to spend my time outside of work doing more work. It’s quite odd. In fact, it might be my brain demanding I get more ‘lance in to sate its desires for more future-money (which will instantly disappear on unquantifiable nonsense, like ‘bills’ and ‘interest’ I HAVE NO INTEREST IN INTEREST).
Maybe my brain has taken to freelance like a Mancunian to heroin, or a Scouser to car theft. Maybe it needs that buzz. I know I thrive on deadlines and tend to turn into a useless hunk of meat when there’s no pressure on me, but I didn’t realise I could get addicted to paid homework.
Apparently I can, though. I wonder what the equivalent of methadone is for this kind of situation. Blogging every day, probably. OHNOWAIT.
Maybe it’s nothing to do with work and I’m just massively depressed* because I’m not happy with any element of my life right now, and things I thought were out of my head actually aren’t out of my head at all and are actually really bothering – and saddening – me quite a lot.
That, or I’m just a bit tired and hungry. I’ll have a jam sandwich, see what that does for the ol’ mood.
* “Slightly miffed”, in a less hyperboleic sense.
I no longer remember a time when I didn’t have The Fear. Well, that’s a lie I’ve just made up for dramatic effect – I still remember being a child and having no responsibility whatsoever. That was great. I wrote things for fun then, and didn’t give a shit what people thought about them. Now I’m too wracked by self-doubt and lethargy that I don’t get anything done outside of work and here (this, of course, being used as an aid to keep my fingers nimble and my mind match fit). But that’s another topic for another time. What I want to talk about is something that’s been with me since I was 11 years old: The Fear.
Back in comprehensive school (hah! I’m poor!) we had homework. I would leave it until the night before – sometimes the morning – it had to be handed in before I would do it, and I would always get it done to a decent enough standard. Then came 6th form: same story. University was an interesting one, as while the fear was ever-present, I actually managed to go completely off the rails and nadger up my second year, actually missing deadlines and eventually dropping out. But that wasn’t the fault of The Fear: that was outside interference. No, The Fear has always been an ally; there to push me to get my finger out, to get the job done and to be more than just another failure working in a shop for the rest of my life. It’s what got me back on track when I re-enrolled at uni, and it’s what got me to write my 10,000 words of dissertation in under two days (the less said about the mark (I passed!) the better).
And then so came the Dark Years – unemployment, working in a shop, not doing anything of worth and generally being a bit shit. It took about a year of this before I felt the urge. I felt it picking away at the back of my neck, reminding me that I should get off my arse and… well, sit down and write some things. It was my old friend, back after around 12 months of travelling the world looking for more things to inflict itself on me with. Writing to deadlines again for freelance work, I was once more on the saddle riding The Fear. Since then it’s hardly been from my side.
I went from the Dark Years on to more schooling – again with homework, exams and portfolios to keep The Fear topped up. On finishing, I immersed myself in more of the things that had kept me tiding over before the course: daily work to be done, reviews, interviews and anything else to keep me writing. Then I got this job last year, and it’s so perfect for me it’s unreal. Yes, I get paid to play videogames and have opinions on them, yes it’s a magazine I read as a 14-year-old and yes I do enjoy it quite a lot. But the main thing that keeps me going; that keeps me happy?
This job is based almost entirely around The Fear.
I love The Fear.