Monday, September 19, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

I have two day planners. One was given to me, and the other I bought. I love them both, and herein lay my dilemma. I wanted to use them both. Both have great features unique to each - the dates even extend to the end of 2012.

I spent a good couple hours of this weekend ripping both planners apart and shuffling things around (and this was no easy feat, mind you--the pages are completely different with the holes in varying places). I then put the whole thing back together to my liking.

The result?

The PERFECT planner. MY perfect planner.

Sure, it would have been easier to just go with one, and suck it up, or even just buy a new one. But I'm very particular - I know what I want - and I found it in both.

And it got me thinking. This is the same approach we take with our writing.

We hear it time and time again: the easy way isn't always the best way. By taking the easy way, you may end up cheating yourself out of what you deserve.

You deserve the best. But it will be hard work. You may have to rip those pages out and put them back together time and time again. Then do it all over from the beginning. Until you have the perfect work of art. YOUR perfect work of art.

Yes, it will take longer, but it will be worth it. It's always worth it in the end.

And just remember, you should never, ever have to settle. Reach high and reach far. Use what you've got and turn it into gold. And never give up.

So tell me, how many times have you reconstructed your MS until it was perfect to you? Did you ever take the difficult road with something when the easy road was right in front of you?

26 comments:

Kristina Fugate said...

Love this post :)

I ripped my first book apart and put it back together at least a dozen times over the years. Hopefully, the next time I start reconstructing it, I'll come out with my perfect work of art :)

Miranda Hardy said...

I always take the difficult road. I'm revising my MS now, for the 100th time it seems like. lol

Theresa Milstein said...

Glad you got the perfect planner and created an excellent analogy at the same time. Big rewrites and changes to a manuscript may seem daunting. But we need to go with our gut when something isn't right. Or best work is the goal.

Al said...

Too many times.
I don't think there is perfect when it comes to MS.
But fortunately there is good enough

Joanne said...

I've always thought that anything worthwhile involves hard work. And it's ALWAYS worth the work in the end, in some way.

Raquel.Somatra said...

Long-time follower, first time commenting, here.

This post describes all my fears before I dive into editing my manuscript. But you're right, we must not settle, even though it make take "the road less traveled"-- and even though, for me, it feels as though this road has grown in so thick that I must hack away at it with a machete.

Thanks for the great post.

--R.S.

Rosalind Adam said...

A lot of my writing is short children's stories and sometimes I've reworked them so many times it's impossible to count. Thanks for making me feel better about this! ;-)

Tracy Z. said...

I am never completely satisfied with my work for long. If I keep going back to it looking for changes to make, I'll find them, each time.

You're right about it never being easy and that everyone has their own system that works for them. I can never edit, line by line. I have to rewrite everything in a new document, from the first page to the last page. I hate that, but I don't feel productive any other way.

Steph Sinkhorn said...

Oh, yes. I finished a first draft and, after some feedback, essentially tore the entire thing down and rebuilt from scratch. I changed the POV, I changed the beginning, I added scenes and characters, I took others away. It was hard, but it was so worth it.

Cassie said...

How I hope that I can write about my MS some day. I haven't written enough to call it that, and it haunts me to think about it...

Thanks for the inspiration.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Um, still ripping. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's funny you tore them up and put them together!

Lynda R Young said...

Great analogy. I've lost count of how many times I've gone through my manuscript.

Alleged Author said...

*nods* Oh, the easy way is never really easy. You might get instant gratification but never lasting success. Great post!

Tara said...

So true! I've ripped mine apart and pieced it back together 5-6 times, at least. I've finally reached my Happy Place with it. :-)

Jolene Perry said...

I get to the point ALL THE TIME, when I know I could get it done, but I also know I could make it better.

It's almost never the easy way . . .

Aubrie said...

Boy, having two planners you like is a problem. But it sounds like you solved it!

I like monthly planners where you can see the entire month in review.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL More times than I care to admit. I swear with my next book, it won't be so bad. Of course, I said that with my WIP too. ;)

Congrats on getting the perfect planner.

J. A. Bennett said...

I still have yet to reach that "perfect" stage, but right now I am on reconstruction #4. Lol, I guess I have a ways to go!

Medeia Sharif said...

I rewrote a manuscript over the summer. It was difficult and I almost gave up, but I had a burning need to keep going and make it better.

Christa said...

I have ripped my manuscript apart so many times, it's almost embarrassing. The road to this one might have been easier if I could have skipped over that whole "first novel" thing.

Maeve Frazier said...

I am still ripping my latest manuscript. I thought I was finished and then took another look at it. Arggh! I think it still needs to be tweeked.

I did the same thing with my planner. I made up several pages on my computer and hole punched them to get what I needed that didn't come with the average planner. Works for me!

Krispy said...

Love the metaphor, and I'm super curious to see this monster planner now. ;)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm ripping away now (and have been since the summer) *sigh* But it does need to be perfect. :-)

Janet Johnson said...

Love this!

And I love that you did that, because I would have done the SAME THING!

My current WIP is a utter and total rewrite of my very first ever book. I always loved those characters . . . they just needed a plot. And good writing. And voice. (well, you get the idea).

Lydia Kang said...

I used to take my mss apart and put them back together--now I plan my Planners, so to speak, and there is less to move around.