Tag Archives: performance

Performance Failure

(a three-minute read)

This post is a last-ditch effort by someone who sometimes makes the mistake of over-promising and under-delivering. It’s the online equivalent of push-starting a car after it has been left for dead, way too far from a safe parking spot.

I will admit to feeling unprepared, which can be bad for the stomach as well as the reputation.

Have you ever had projects like this? Where you were fighting a deadline, but inspiration wasn’t anywhere near the ring – not even waving a white towel?

I’m no stranger to writing deadlines. They were a constant presence for more than 20 years. In fact, they often spurred me on to great heights.

Too bad I’m afraid of heights.

My current crisis comes from the endless artificial need to provide you, Dear Reader, with what in the industry is called ‘fresh content.’ No problem. I have some experience pulling this together ‘on automatic’ you might say. But gosh, I’ve been busy. A day went by. Then two days and three, and suddenly I am up against it. But, gosh, I’ve been busy.

(At least give me credit for thinking of you as ‘Dear Reader’ instead of ‘just another set of eyeballs.’ After all, respectful relationships are important.)

The ticking of the deadline clock grows louder, like Poe’s Telltale Heart. Finally, there are only two choices, both poor. Either I tap dance through the bald faced lie when I ‘call in sick,’ or I shuffle you off to re-run land with something that’s been posted before.

How do you like my footwork so far?

I admitted earlier to feeling unprepared. I lied a bit. Unprepared is not entirely true, because I DO have a post, it IS entertaining, and it is now HALF DONE.

Failing to meet my own expectations, and the even more painful experience of failing to meet yours, are not new. But as always, the finger of blame can only point at the pointer.

So what do I do about that?

They say if you fall off a horse or a bike, you need to get right back on and keep riding, or you will lose your self-confidence.

Do you know what this is like? I am the actor who forgets his lines. Or the salesman who calls all day with no order sheets to show for it. Or the athlete who is in a horrible slump. Or the farmer who sees an entire crop wiped out by bad weather.

Or the writer who can’t make the words appear on command.

We must steel ourselves to start over and try again after we fail. Sometimes we come through in the clutch. More often, we manage something adequate, like this, just enough to keep going and show up, instead of being shown up.

Before I finish, because you are my Dear Reader and not an anonymous set of eyeballs being tabulated by an automatic counter, here’s a secret. This post was not actually made up from whole cloth. There is nothing new under the sun.

Because of all those years as a deadline writer, a hoarder of words, a pack rat of paragraphs, a collector of cogitations, I was actually able to resurrect some ideas from the last century and ask them to help me limp across the finish line.

I may not have made the grade, but at least I have made a grade. Now that I am finished, and have admitted my performance failure, I can move onto the next thing.

Logging off.