Overcoming Decision and Analysis Paralysis: Make Up Your Mind!!

So many decisions. Which do I choose?!
So many decisions. Which do I choose?!

Have you ever had a week when there’s so many decisions you need to make – some of them kind of big decisions – that you end up so over-whelmed you can’t make any decisions? This week I can hardly decide which manuscript to work on (help the book that finaled in the contests with another in the series? or something completely different?), who  might be interested in my book (this agent? this editor?), what dress to purchase, and do I want an antique pipe organ that’s a family heirloom piece?*

Too many decisions = decision paralysis.

I’m not usually so overcome, pride myself on being quite decisive, so I decided I needed to do something. Hello Google search.

Here’s the general advice:

  • Sleep on it. In other words, give yourself time to mull it over, whether that’s just overnight or a week or so, time and distance sometimes changes our perspective.
  • Minimizing Regret (a term I borrowed from Boris Wertz). I like this idea, and this helps me make decisions:  which decision will you look back and regret not making the most? Read his great article over at: How to Overcome Decision Paralysis
  • Seek outside advice. Talk it over with someone else. Sometimes in explaining the options or talking to someone else you can make a decision, or realize when you’ve already made a decision and just hadn’t realized it yet.
  • Remember that not making a decision IS making a decision not to act. Fascinating article about Analysis Paralysis, in which you get so caught up in the Pros/Cons of making a decision that you don’t make the decision. The author wisely reminds us that we can’t make the right decision all the time, and that’s okay. We do the best we can at the time, and move on.
  • Go with your gut instinct. Sometimes we try to deny that we have a gut or instinctual feeling about something. The surest test is flipping a coin to decide – and you’ll either be relieved or disappointed depending on which side the coin lands on.
  • Remember that you’re not perfect, you might be wrong, but that’s okay. You make the best decision you can at the time, and hope it’s the right one. But often there’s no way to be certain and gather every piece of information you’d need. And who knows, maybe the “wrong” decision could turn into a happy accident and lead you places you didn’t know you could go. 🙂

Still can’t make up your mind?

As for me, I’m off to put into use all this advice, and start making decisions. First decision: what dress to buy for the RWA Gala Awards Night, and I think I know which one I’m going with, impractical as it is.

What about you? How do you make decisions? Ever feel like you’re stuck in decision paralysis?

Have a great week, and thanks for reading. Happy decision making. 🙂

*If you’re curious about the organ, that was the easiest decision: I said yes, though I’m not sure if it’s coming here or if someone else will provide a better home. But, it was important to my dad and I’ve inherited the feeling that a piece of family history shouldn’t be lost (evidently this came across in a wagon with his grandfather or great-grandfather). I’ll let you know the outcome when I know. 🙂

Choosing Perspective: First Person vs Third

The gobbledygook mess that is my current WIP is throwing more challenges my way. I had problems writing the heroine’s voice so I changed to first person and wrote the next 3/4 of

Still waiting to see if my primroses survived the winter.
Still waiting to see if my primroses survived the winter.

the novel that way … and now I think I’ve changed my mind. The question is why this is worth the extra work this will require (although why I keep changing my mind about everything is a good question too. However, no answer to that just now.)

The issue is first person vs third person perspective. And the limits and strengths of both.

An obvious strength of first person perspective is clearly allowing your reader to truly experience the story and experiences through your character. I also found it easier to get into their head when I was able to use the pronoun “I.” Even in works where I have written in third person, for some reason I sometimes find it easier to get into first person POV (point of view) to be able to literally get in my character’s head. This can allow for some very “in” jokes, and perhaps I was influenced to try out first person POV because I’ve been reading some great books (like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the Grave series by Darynda Jones, and the dragon books by Katie MacAlister.)

That said, the reason I’ll be changing to deep third person is because I’m finding first person rather limiting. And, even in those great books, especially when it comes to romance, I’m frustrated that the non-POV character (usually the male lead) becomes a bit “shadowed.” Even when you try to show their experience and have them share their story with the heroine in her perspective, it remains the heroine’s story. Frankly, this is a problem for me because I believe a romance should be about both of the characters, showcase both of their stories (even if one has greater obstacles and a more significant character development arch), and allow the reader to see how both characters find love.

The other problem: despite the many issues I’m having with this current WIP (work in progress), somehow or other this is my favorite hero I’ve created so far. In truth, I probably like him more than the heroine, and I can’t bear for his story to be neglected.

To me, the choice of perspective (even choosing which character’s perspective a particular scene is written in), always comes down to who has the most at stake. And in this case, while my heroine perhaps has the most at stake, my hero still has something to lose (and gain) as well, and I think it’s only fair he gets to share the stage equally.

Of course, I’ve frequently been known to be wrong (and change my mind). 😉

So, to you: Have you read a book written in first person perspective (written completely using the “I” pronoun like a confessional almost), where other characters came through extremely vividly? If so, would you mind sharing the titles?

Thanks for reading, and hope you’re all having a fantastic week out there. It looks like spring has finally decided to arrive. 🙂

There and Away: Perceiving changes in ourselves

There is something oddly unsettling about coming home after being away awhile and finding the house left in by your pre-vacation self. Not that I expect my week in Mexico was a soul-changing experience, but coming home, I had one week more of experiences than the self who left certain things scattered around the house, a particular mess in the craft room. Perhaps it’s that most of the time, we don’t notice ourselves changing, but when we are taken out of everyday life only to return, we can see how much even a short time changes us, how each new experience adds to and alters the person we are and will become.

The other place you can see this is in creative works. Like writing. What I wrote last week is different than what I’d write this week, because I’m different. And certainly, what I wrote three weeks ago is a vast time before … and which REALLY makes me wish I left myself notes or bread crumbs to somehow divine what my intentions were, and what I planned to write next. Sigh. I mean, I get where the zombies showed up (though I forgot I’d added them until I read the scene), but where do you go from there? I mean, really?

Anyway, just me being a bit philosophical, and putting off the writing I really need to do. So, wishing you a terrific week out there, and happy writing while I go off and try and figure out what I’m going to write next. 🙂