Eat the Meat, Leave the Bone

If you haven’t noticed already, I am a very literal person. If someone gives me instructions, I follow them to the T. Well, I used to. Now I realize that there are exceptions to rules and the only thing that matters is what works for you, no matter how vehemently someone else might state otherwise.

I was thinking about this as I was going through a craft course I bought a long time ago. I figured to take my – I’m gonna approach writing like I would approach learning a new program – seriously. In one of the lessons, the author talks about how worthless time tracking programs are, that they have internal motiviation.

It reminds me of professional writers who hate National Novel Writing Month. Some have good points as in – what’s the point of writing 50,000 disjointed words in a month. I can see that point because I’ve made that mistake in the past. Some blithly acknowledge that they write 50,000 words every month, to which I say – um, good for you? But the last group do not like that suddenly a bunch of regular people are going around calling themselves writers.

But when do you become a writer? Because it can be years from typing “The End” before anyone sees that piece of work. I find such argument disengentious.

Anyway, back to my point (I tend to ramble), the author didn’t need trackers. I, on the other hand, do. I find them useful. For now. Everything runs out. My done calendars with stickers is working for me now. When I reach a different level in my writing career, that will probably change. I’ll have external deadlines and possibly bills as motivation.

Except for this rant, I’m finding value in the course and can see it becoming a valuable resource. It’s an excellent starting point for the subject where I can build my own processes and templates. I am, however, not going to stop doing what works for me – done calendars.

And that is the difference between me now and the me of years ago. It would be all or nothing and I would stick to the plan outlined by the course instructor instead of testing it and seeing what works.

Sewing patterns were never meant to be used without adjusting. Anyone who cooks or bakes knows that recipes are just guidelines – all recipes will be adjusted according to the taste of the person making it. As a baker, I know that. The first time I bake something new, I follow the recipe exactly. After that, I start making changes according to my taste like making my own version of lemon sugar cookies from a recipe that was originally just sugar cookies or when I just started adding toasted pecans to every recipe that called for regular pecans because the toasted ones just taste so doggone good.

In other words, eat the meat and leave the bone.

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About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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