We all have our goals of scoring the dream job, writing the best book, landing a big business deal or creating the perfect piece of artwork.
We have our sights set and devoted to Plan A – that first idea, sketch, sentence or word being PERFECT. Maybe even when it comes to dating, eating at a restaurant, or buying a book to read on a plane. But what happens when Plan A falls through? Do you freak out? Cuss? Whine? Eat the Chips Ahoy you bought for Junior’s lunch box?
I’m here to tell you Plan B is the way to go. Here’s why.
A few years ago while working as an entertainment reporter, I had an editor who would always chop off the first sentence or paragraph of my stories. It used to drive me flippin’ crazy because I had spent so much time writing and rewriting that lede, slaving away to make it sizzle.
I wanted him to open my story, read the first sentence, and publicly admire my innovation! Instead, his fingers tap danced across his keyboard to highlight and delete. Can you say humbling?
Finally, one day I asked him why. He explained that most of the time, the gold is what comes after that first idea for the following reasons:
– The first try comes with the pressure or stress of trying too hard to be clever or cute.
– The first idea is just a warm up.
– If you think your first idea is brilliant, chances are someone else has already thought of it.
– Sometimes it just doesn’t click, kind of like that first pancake on the griddle. It’s always a little wonky.
– There is a good chance it is a cliché.
– Often, it is the universe working in your favor, shielding you from future trouble. (He didn’t tell me that one, but I’m telling you)
I stopped pouting and let it sink in. He was right! I started going through my past stories and had an Oprah “Ah-ha!” moment. It clicked in my brain that by the time you get past the stress and energy of going for Plan A, you’re relaxed and able to find a comfy groove. That’s when the best stuff happens!
When I used to interview celebrities, Plan A would be to ask them about their love lives. Duh! They weren’t about to discuss that! So I used to dig around their bios and come up with offbeat topics I knew other reporters wouldn’t ask about. That is how I found out that Kate Hudson loves to scrapbook with lots of glitter!
Sometimes it happens organically. Other times you have to push yourself to come up with (and embrace) the next round.
I eventually applied the concept to my craft designs. As with writing, it worked like magic! Even today, every project I think of, I’ll jot or sketch a few ideas. Even when I think I have a great list, I always, always, always whack off the first one or two. Sure enough, I’ve seen repeatedly those are the ones others have done first. This process forces us to think outside the obvious. Sometimes I don’t do it enough because I’ll see the work of other people who went to Plan K or P and the end result is killer – beyond anything I could have thought of!
It also works with marketing plans. Write that press release or pitch. Find a kernel of something catchy in it and then rewrite it with that as the focus. I guarantee it will be more exciting and fresh.
Try it with:
– blog headlines
– designing clothing
– making crafts
– naming your business/creating a logo
– choosing where to sell your artwork
– the way you put your jewelry or make up on
– using your art supplies
– the way you approach people
– personal or company mission statements
– color combinations
It is still important to unleash all your heart and soul into Plan A of course, but if it doesn’t pan out – be confident it’s because something more fitting is just around the corner.
Thank you, Scott, for inspiring this post!
NOTE: I didn’t even mean to do this, but look at the top of this blog post. You can easily remove that first graph!
Do you have a Plan B story or thought? Share it in the comments!!Love & light,