Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are you a reacher or a settler?

On Monday night when I had just settled down to do some editing my son ran downstairs and told me he need my computer for his homework. Unfortunately that took precedent over my writing, so I went and watched "How I Meet Your Mother". During the first ten minutes an interesting theory popped up.

I can only find this crappy video that cuts the scene off, but if you interested it starts around 2:40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUv5yFxuyhQ&feature=related:

Anyway Marshall thought his wife would be jealous when she saw that he was working with a beautiful woman, but she wasn't.

Cut to scene:

Marshall: She wasn't jealous at all.

Ted: Of course she wasn't jealous. That's the whole dynamic of your relationship.

Marshall: What's that suppose to mean.

Robyn: It's like this my man. Every good relationship has a reacher and a settler.

Ted: Exactly one person who reaches for someone out of their league and the other one who settles before there's.

Marshall: I did not settle for Lily.

Awkward glances ensue.

Marshall: You think I'm the reacher!

What does this have to do with writing. Not a lot, but it sure was funny.

In a way writing is about reaching and settling. Except in this case being the reacher is a good thing. We are constantly reaching for that perfect word, sentence, paragraph. Wanting to do better than we did the day before.

Sometimes I'll think I can't write that scene any better. In my head I'm saying I know it's not the best, but it's still good. Then I leave it for a few days and lots of times when I come back to it better words seem to pop into my mind or I'm able to put the scene together better.

Does this ever happen to you?

I hope we all do a little reaching today and not settle for an okay scene or an alright sentence. Reach then reach some more and then reach a little higher.

20 comments:

Heidi Willis said...

Here here! well said!

I love how, when you're a writing, everything around you can be a metaphor for writing! :))

Jonathon Arntson said...

Uhuh! (to Heidi's comment)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Neat idea! I try to be a reacher, but I know I get lazy or frustrated or tired sometimes and end up settling.

lotusgirl said...

I always try to be a reacher, but some days I'm a settler. It ends up being about patience and perseverance.

Southpaw said...

It happens all the time. It's the learning to wait the few days that is so hard.

JKB said...

I'm with you, Patti. Have the same problem. But I'm learning to not give up until I'm 100 percent satisfied with the results.

T. Anne said...

This is great. There is no other way to write than to reach for excellence. Great analogy!

Melissa said...

I went back and read a chapter I wrote a few weeks ago in my WIP and found a lot of different ways to improve it. Funny, when I wrote the chapter I thought it were fine the way it was. So I hope this means I'm a reacher:)

Patti Lacy said...

Definitely a reacher. By the time I get the manuscripti ready for edit, other writers and the great authors I read and my critiquers have taught me a couple of new things about the craft, so I comb through the "old" version. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE how many changes I make.

Yes, I am doing an edit on Baby 3 right now. Have ONE CHAPTER LEFT!!!!!!!!!!!

The other Patti
www.pattilacy.com/blog

Shelli said...

you sound like my agent :) she's brilliant BTW

Jessica said...

Too funny! the show sounds hilarious too.

I like how you tied it into writing. I'm sure I settle way more often than I should. :-)

Carolyn V. said...

That does happen to me. But sometimes I have to remember that looking for the right word can sometimes give me the wrong word. But still love to reach!

Tina Lynn said...

I think most writers are reachers. It's just part of who we are. I can tell you, when I had to write papers for college courses. I was the one that had the paper finished right away so I could spend the next two weeks until it was due, editing it. If the paper I started 8 years ago never had a due date, I would probably still be tweaking it now:D

Tabitha Bird said...

Here's to all the reachers out there. May they lay their hands on what they want, hold and keep it. May it truly be what they want :)

Jessie Oliveros said...

I've never watched that show, and youtube took it away due to violation of terms. I guess I'll have to settle for your screenplay. Anyway, it's very funny. I think my husband and I would disagree on who was the reacher :) Good analogy.

Amber Lynae said...

I love that. I agree that as writers we tend to be reachers always looking for a better way of saying something. To settle it so say you have reached your fullest potential. I know and I know I can always improve as long as I keep trying.

random comment. my Word verification is pasta.

Elana Johnson said...

I settle in the beginning and reach while revising. And revising. And revising.

Jenn Johansson said...

Hehe! Great scene. I love that show. :) Hooray for the reachers!

Jenn's Blogdom :)

Kimberly Conway said...

I love that show! I'm pretty sure I'm a reacher. I try to be a settler from time to time, but the reacher part of me starts nagging until I give up and start reaching all over again. It's a vicious cycle, I guess.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Yes! This happens to me in my writing AND my dating life.