Monday, July 25, 2011

Too Many Minds...

So, a few weeks ago I was chatting with two of my favorite peeps (shocking I know!). I was frustrated with my progress - or lack of progress - on my new project and was venting. Both of my friends, at different times, and in different conversations, told me the same basic thing.

Don't Overthink.

See, I am a thinker. I think about every detail in my stories. I can see potential outcomes of particular situations many steps ahead. I can envision multiple outcomes to any situation. And my creative process tends to work in reverse of many people - from the finished product backwards to the first step.

While this is a great way of looking at things most of the time, there is one major hiccup...

I absolutely tend to overthink, overplan, overanticipate. And as I pursue my writerly dreams, that can be a HUGE stumbling block, preventing me from focusing on the moment at hand in favor of the possible outcomes down the road.

While I talked this issue through with one of my friends, I remembered one of my favorite movies - The Last Samurai. In particular, I remembered the too-many-minds scene. I tried to embed it, but suffered an epic fail...so click here to take a look.

Here's the quotes form the scene (taken from Wikiquote)-


Nobutada: Please forgive, too many mind.
Nathan Algren: Too many mind?
Nobutada: Hai. Mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind the enemy, too many mind... [pause] No mind.


Remembering this scene reminded me that at this stage of my revisions I really needed to focus on only one thing - finishing my project. Everything else will take care of itself later.

So, I am marching forward, trying to keep "one mind", one single focus for now. (And yes, my writerly BFFs are still reminding me of this...daily).

How about you? Do you sometimes struggle by getting too far ahead of yourself?

7 comments:

  1. Always :) which is why writerly BFFs are an absolute necessity ;-)

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  2. Oh honey, story of my life. I ALWAYS overthink, overplan, overeverything.
    Jen from Laughing at Chaos

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  3. Yes, and I think I overthought my last WIP, LOL. Great post!

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  4. My husband is down to formatting his debut novel, but getting to this point took FAR longer than he'd planned, both for all the edits it needed, and because he was busy planning out the next THREE books in the series. I kept on at him to concentrate on getting the first book right, or there wouldn't be anymore after it! Too many mind indeed!

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  5. Yes, absolutely! I've always been a pantser, so I used to just dive right in, but I always eventually get stuck. So I've been trying to add in some outlining/plotting, trying to think some things through before I begin. But now I think I've gone the other way where I'm thinking too much about the little details or things that could happen.

    So right now I'm trying to focus and just get with the writing.

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  6. This is timely for me (and a great post). I love that quote, particularly since it's perfect for the scene as well as what I'm currently dealing with. Trying to deal with it all, I need to focus. Thanks for the reminder, Christine!

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  7. I tend to zero in on something so much that, well, I can't see the forest for the trees, so to speak. I get so overwhelmed by the littlest thing and I hang there for awhile until someone (usually my husband) talks me down and walks me though it one step at a time. Boy, I'm lucky I found a very, very patient man. :D

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Thanks for your input!