"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, June 4, 2012

Do You Over Think Your Craft?

"Latte, please." Photo by Eric Huebner

Hi everyone! I’m back from a 3 week blog break where I was NOT on vacation, but held a captive in the revision cave. I thank all of you who sent chocolate, coffee, and blueberry scones. I have finished with the revisions, but just need to do the final read through. ANYHOO….good to be back!

Have you seen that AT&T commercial where the young woman, Alex, just got a part in a commercial as the number 4 coffee patron? I just love this commercial. It gives us a 30 second view of how we go from 0 to 55 in the matter of a few seconds, AND over think our craft.

This commercial is about Alex.

Alex is a normal every day person – waitress, dog walker, flyer hander-outer, and an aspiring actress, following her dream. “But mostly an actress.”

She lands a job in a commercial and calls her mom. “Hi mom! I got it!”

In less than 30 seconds we see Alex talking on the phone to everyone about her role. We see her dreams grow in her eyes.

Alex has one line in the commercial. “Latte, please.”

Next we see Alex wondering if she should play the role as a French woman. She speaks her line with a heavy French accent. “Latte, pleeze.

We wade through a barrage of images showing Alex excitedly talking on the phone about here new part. I’m so excited for her!

The last scene, we see Alex in bed, talking on the phone and she says, “I know I have to say, latte, but I feel my character would drink tea.”

BAM! I love this. I think at one time or another we over think our craft. Sometimes we just need to leave it and let it flow.

As a writer, I know I’m over thinking when Eric tells me to quit talking to my characters, or carrying on their conversations. Someone will think you’re crazy! Sometimes I talk about what it would be like to have a book signing…you know, dream a little. I’m not even close yet. We know it means the world to us, we get excited.

I adore Alex and root for her dream of becoming an actress to come true. There is so much truth in this 30 second commercial. I know. I’ve been there…over thinking. Do you sometimes over think your craft?

I would love to hear from you.

Between you, me and the gatepost,


If you haven’t seen this commercial, watch the YouTube of it below.

By the way, I learned a new portmanteau word –SPRICKET—Google it to see one. It’s like a cross between a spider and a cricket. Apparently, they have these all over southern Indiana. I saw one down at Indiana University in Bloomington. They are creepy! Ever seen a spricket?


Brandi said...

I adore that commercial! I also continue my characters' dialogue when I'm not writing. My husband has gotten used to me talking to myself. I haven't done it in public yet, but I have gotten some curious stares whenever my face twisted in a strange expression that mirrored my thoughts.

Welcome back, Loree :-)

Melissa Tagg said...

Great stuff, Loree! Yeah, I hit over-thinking mode now and then, too. Sometimes a girl just has to push aside the craft books, chug a glass of caffeine and then WRITE regardless of the other voices trying to creep in. Hope you had a wonderful break!

troutbirder said...

Neat! I'm not a TV watcher so I missed it before but now I know. Basically though at my advanced age I glad to be able to think at all... overdoing it or not. :)

Victoria Lindstrom said...

For some reason the theme from "Welcome Back, Kotter," is playing in my head! Good to hear from you Loree, and thanks for the ad link - I had not seen it. Ouch, it hurts. (The portmanteau word is awesome, too.)

Julie Jarnagin said...

Love that commercial. I've definitely been known to over think things when it comes to writing. My husband might even calling it "obsessing." :) I've found that it's better for me to read craft books between WIPs instead of while I'm working on them. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed.

Sandra Orchard said...

Glad you survived edits! Yup, can so relate to the girl in the commercial. LOL

J.L. Campbell said...

At some time or another, we do tend to go overboard in different areas, plotting, editing and planning all the stuff we have to do to get our baby at the place where we want it to be.

Melanie N. Brasher said...

Funny commercial! And thanks for the new word. I'll have to look for one in town now. :)

Glad to see you're back. :)

Charlotte Sannazzaro said...

I'm at a point in my MS where I'm studying my first act, trying to figure out whether I have developed the relationship journey beetween my H/H enough. Have I really shown them falling in love? What is it about each of them that draws in the other? In some romances I've been reading it seems one meeting with a physical attraction and some snappy dialogue fuels the entire thing, but I feel like I need it be more realistic... a slower, deeper burn.

And then I look at Act 1 and decided it's already bloating, and I need to stop analysing already!

Jessica R. Patch said...

I love this commercial! It's one of the few I've seen since I mostly DVR, Tivo, wtv!

Sometimes I can overthink when editing. When I'm writing the first draft, my peeps have much more freedom! :) Too much probably. Ha!

Glad you're back! Congrats on revisions!

Loree Huebner said...

Brandi: I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who talks to themselves (and their characters) haha. I do it on the back deck sometimes, and that's when Eric tells me that the neighbors will think I'm nuts...lol.

Melissa: Exactly! Sometimes we just need to write and stop analyzing. Chugging caffeine in any form is a must.

trout: LOL! I love your "thought" process. I also love your joke today. You got me. I had never heard that one before. Hope your tests go ok.

Victoria: I remember the Welcome Back theme song. Now it's stuck in my head...lol. The sprickets were scary.

Julie: Obsessing is a great word for it. Great tip on reading craft books between WIPS!

Sandra: Survived is a polite word...I even lost a few pounds - hey, the chocolate and blueberry scones were virtual...haha. I'm not a fan of commercials, but I can touch on her excitement to over board analysis when I watch it. So funny!

J.L.: It's funny how fast it hits us. Suddenly there is nothing else but that "one line" like in the commercial. Great point.

Melanie: They like dark and damp places. My son has them in the basement of the house where he lives down there. The sprickets are scary looking!

Charlotte: That is so true. We just get into analyzing mode instead of allowing it to flow. We know it's there, but we must think it over again for the umpteenth time. I'm glad yours is moving along now.

Jessica: So true about the freedom on the 1st draft. I think it's true that we're more likely to over think the edits and revisions.

Brandi, Melissa, trout, Victoria, Julie, Sandra, J.L., Melanie, Charlotte, and Jess, thanks for stopping in. Love reading your comments!

Julie Musil said...

That commercial totally cracks me up! Yes, I've seen it, and yes, I can relate. I do tend to over-think things, but sometimes that can be a good thing!

Great job on your revisions!

Lynda R Young said...

I'm always overthinking my craft, but I think a little* bit of crazy is good for a writer's soul ;)

*emphasis on 'a little bit'

Loree Huebner said...

Julie: I agree, sometimes over thinking can be a good thing.

Lynda: It is part of the artist's soul to over think. A little bit? I have a healthy dose of a lotta bit sometimes...haha!

Julie and Lynda, so nice that you took the time to pop in. Love your comments!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I never heard of a spricket before this post. :)

If anything, I'm guilty of under thinking my writing. As a SOTP writer, I go with the flow and deal with the fallout in the edits.

I do ask some what-if questions, but it's usually as I'm writing. One of my characters loves chocolate, so I threw that in the mix.


Rhonda Schrock said...

We saw this just recently. Had to laugh. We take ourselves so seriously sometimes, don't we?

Hope the revisions went well and you're coffeed up, my friend.


Beth K. Vogt said...

Welcome back!
Haven't seen a spricket--don't want to see a spricket!
And yes, I overthink my craft.
It's part of the process, don't you think?

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Great post, Loree, we should always be considering our characters' preferences, speech, etc. I've even started reading some of Jonathan Swifts' works to get a sense of how an 18th century Irishman talked. :-)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Somehow I've missed this commercial, but it sounds like a perfect and hilarious illustration of overthinking. As for me, sometimes I actually overthink whether I am overthinking. *sighs*

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

I laugh every time I see that commercial, Loree! A great reminder to not do the "over-thinking" thing!

Hope your writing times went well for you.

Aloha! --Cheryl

Loree Huebner said...

Susan: Well, they have these sprickets in the southern part of our state. I'm in the northern part of the state and had never seen one before. I screamed when I saw one!

Rhonda: We do really take ourselves seriously sometimes. I could so relate to Alex in this. Revisions went well. In the final read through now.

Beth: Sprickets freak me out! I do think that over thinking is all part of the process. Now was I over thinking that? te he he

Gwen: I agree, Gwen. It is so important to consider who our characters really are. Fun stuff.

Cynthia: Haha! Now that is funny, Cynthia! "Am I over thinking this?"

Cheryl: My writing time went very well. A lot of over thinking...lol. No seriously, got through it. Can't you just relate to Alex sometimes in that commercial? Too funny.

Susan, Rhonda, Beth, Gwen, Cynthia, and Cheryl, thanks for popping by and chiming in!

Stacy Henrie said...

That's an awesome commercial! Yes, to over-thinking the craft. :) Fun post. Glad you're back , Loree!

Loree Huebner said...

Stacy: I just love that commercial. Hey, great to be back! Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Congrats on finishing your revisions, Loree! I'm still in the editing cave, so I know exactly what you mean about needing a latte. :)

Jayne said...

Loree, so good to see you back! You must feel a sense of relief and joy to have gotten beyond those revisions. So glad for you!

Amazingly, I know the commercial of which you speak. I rarely watch TV, and when I do, it's taped so we skip commercials. But we recently watched the Hafields and McCoys on the History channel, and I think that's where I saw it. (Or on another channel that my hubby flipped to when he grew impatient of the History channels commercials.) Ok, yup, I think I'm over thinking that one.

Anyway, very humorous and true commercial. I do have a tendency to over think, and as soon as I am conscious of doing so, I try to calm myself right down. Whew.

Wishing you continued success with your story! :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I love that commercial!! It's so me. :) We get all dreamy-eyed and overdo things!

Congrats on finishing the revisions--woo-hoo!

Loree Huebner said...

Sarah: It's funny how we run endlessly on caffeine!

Jayne: It's great to be back. We recorded the Hatfields and McCoys. I started watching the third episode but fell asleep. I'm going to try to finish it this weekend.

I think that commercial really speaks to me because there is so much truth about how we get excited and over think things.

I loved your story about Lu and the "spoiled" conversation. So awesome, Jayne!

Jill: Dreamy-eyed is the perfect term, Jill! So true. Hey, congrats again on the nomination! Woot!

Sarah, Jayne, and Jill, I'm so glad you stopped by!

Jessica Nelson said...

Ah yes...overthinking is what keeps me from writing. Blech. Sometimes we need to just go with it. Sounds like a cute commercial. Congrats on finishing your revisions! ;-)

MTeacress said...

That's so cute. I've never seen it. Yes, I overthink everything, which can be good - but mostly bad. When bad happens, I have to "take a break" as my yoga video instructor would say in her deep Indian accent. ;)

Loree Huebner said...

Jessica: I tend to go along with it. Sometimes I must work it out over and over in my head before I can move forward. Then my brain is fried.

Michelle: haha. I agree to "take a break" when we over think is soooo necessary.

Jessica and Michelle, so great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping in!