Don’t Over Analyze

In life, it so easy to over analyze–your writing, your life, everything really.

So often I’m at a coffee shop, and what I really want is a cheese Danish.  The analytical part of me, however, is tabulating every crumb, every calorie I will consume in addition to the rest of the calories I’ll go on to consume later that day.  And depending on the caloric content of my planned lunch and dinner, I’ll go with the damned dry, low-fat, muffin.  The whole time I’m eating the muffin, I’m thinking about the Danish, like a cheating lover; and then when I’m finished with the muffin, all I can think about for the rest of the day is how fulfilling the muffin was, when what I really wanted all along was the Danish–a stupid swap in the first place because *gasp* the “low-fat” muffin only had 200 calories less than the Danish in the fist place.  Damn.  Or take a latte for example.  I can’t tell you how many times I’m set on getting a latte until my waist line guilt’s me into getting a regular coffee instead.  By the time I leave the coffee shop, I’m already pissed at my decision about over analyzing whether I should have spent the calories on a latte, since I had planned on having french fries for lunch.  Meanwhile, I doctor my coffee with so much damn sugar and cream, the caloric content is probably equal to that of a latte anyway.

Many times, I’ll stop and think, “but what would my mother say?”  Ahem, college spring break (or lack thereof).  And guess what?  I didn’t go to the beach with my boyfriend (now husband) and our friends, when all along that’s what I really wanted.

So often, I find myself when writing or editing, reading sentences and re-reading them until I convince myself that they need changed, when I loved them in the first place, when deep down, a part of me was telling myself they should stay.  I change the sentence, mutilating it until it no longer resembles its former self.  I go back to the sentence a day or two later, re-read it, re-evaluate, and I hate it.  By then, usually the original sentence in its exact form has vanished from my mind, and I have to re-write, settling with a poor replicate of the former one, when all along I loved the original sentence, but only changed it because I thought it too wordy, poor form, it started with a conjunction–oh lordy!  (Wait, did I really just say Oh Lordy?)

So what’s my point?  My point is, stop second guessing yourself when you know what you want or like.  Stop over analyzing every damn thing, especially in your writing.  Because if you do, you’re going to inhibit yourself.  Don’t second guess the latte or the Danish.  Don’t second guess the use of a taboo word, a conjunction at the beginning of your sentence, a one word sentence when it fits–obviously this is within reason.  You can’t throw all caution to the wind and go buck wild, or you’ll end up five hundred pounds and with writing that’s loose and a pile of crap.  But the point is, if you over analyze every damn thing, life will be far less enjoyable and your writing will be less creative and will fall flat, when what you really should’ve said all along was, “Fuck it.  I’m getting the triple chocolate brownie.”  Or “That’s a good fucking sentence.  It’s staying.”  (And right now, I’m over analyzing whether I should’ve of used the f-word and cussed so much, but it fits.  It felt right.  It’s staying, sorry mom.)

Trust you instincts.  Analyze, but don’t over analyze.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Over Analyze

  1. I can’t agree with you more. Something I’ve learned in my revision addiction is that, by the time I’m finally “happy” with the revision of a scene that I loved, and fixed every minuscule thing I could find, I’ve sucked the life and soul out of the sentence, paragraph, scene, book, ect, and I discover that in the end I hate it’s guts and want the whole thing to die!

    So what do I do? I bloody well start over! I write a brand new scene that I love when I write it, but the moment I turn my back… Revision Addiction strikes again!

    So I’m working on a promise to myself that I will only revise once before my betas/editors see it. I will listen to my gut when it’s telling me that what I’ve written is crap (like the last 2000 words I just wrote.) Likewise, I will listen when it’s telling my that what I’ve written is gold. ^_^

    Live with Joy, and remember Love is Everything.

    • I totally agree. It is so hard to stop yourself from changing at least something every single time you pick up your writing. Learning to trust my instincts has been a difficult lesson for me, as I’m sure it is for all writers. Sometimes I edit and change things that never needed touched in the first place, and so often I don’t change something that deep down I know doesn’t work, only to find out later that, yes, I should’ve change it like I thought.

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