I have a confession to make. A very public admission of my worst weakness and a clear flaw in my already rather dented and badly scratched personality. A quirk in my make up that not only drives those around me completely bonkers, but also irritates me as well. When I notice. It is a little like those who bite their finger nails, and cannot figure out why they only notice what they have done when their quicks start to bleed.
My sin is that I am a habitual fiddler. I just cannot leave anything be. Nothing seems to escape my incessant need to modify, improve, add, subtract, duplicate, polish, append, neaten, tidy or edit. A good example is my website which is now some stupidly huge number of pages. I just do not realise what I am doing when I add yet another damn widget, another page of stupidity or yet another link. This morning I stupidly decided to change the texture of the website’s template background. Just a little for aesthetic value.
Needless to say, my little 30 second tweak became a 3 hour travesty in locking up, losing, destroying, searching for back ups and finally restoration to the exact point before my brain went numb and decided to change the colour, just a little bit!
When I write, I can’t help myself. Before patting myself on the back at the completion of a chapter, I start a re-read and stop being a writer and become a fanatical editor. I lose the plot completely and start wondering if it might be better to change an adjective into an adverb, or maybe just modify the adjective with an adverb. Or maybe a compound noun would be more appropriate. Even though I have multiple copies of my novel’s file, I still find the necessity to print every single page. Just in case of what I don’t really know.
Cooking finds me at my peak of fiddling. A little extra stir here, there and there again. A little more salt, pepper. A fiddle with the heat knobs. A brilliant idea to add Tasmanian pepper which takes an hour to find. And to save time I just have to divide my limited concentration by washing up as I go to save time later which I probably need to do some more finicky editing.
However the absolute worst manifestation of my fiddling prowess is what I do to my poor little Macbook. I just can’t help updating programs, changing desktop images, screen savers, synced files to my desktop iMac, backing up to multiple locations in case of fire or other impending travesty. Cleaning the poor little thing incessantly. It is a wonder it hasn’t drowned in window cleaner! I love creating multiple files because of my ‘just in case’ and ‘you never know’ manias that creep up on me and strike without warning.
I won’t even go near the subject of my iPhone applications. I’m too embarrassed to tell you about that.
In conclusion I would like to tell you that being aware of one’s frailties is the first step to one’s self-improvement. So towards that end, I have only re-read this article a number of times and have resisted all the urges I had to modify the opening paragraph. I lost my way by the third paragraph though and had a compulsive re-edit, but regained my composure through to this point in the article which fortunately is the end.
And it’s time to clean my Macbook!