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Dang. Another Fork.

Remember in The Muppet Movie when Kermit and Fozzie are driving along and the map says there’s a fork in the road and they look up and there’s actually a huge fork sticking out of the ground? I frickin’ love that.

The frog and the bear were following directions, so they knew which way to go when they came upon this fork. But the rest of us aren’t always that lucky. Like me, today. I’m writing and everything’s going just fine and then I get to this place – it’s my fork in the writing road. And I have no map.

Suddenly, I have a choice. I’m writing about the importance of having community as a blogger – and I can focus on the virtues of the greater collective or I can highlight the benefits of having a few key people. There’s not room for both in my post, but the real issue for me is this: it’s hard to let go of either option. What if I pick the wrong one? How will I ever know what might have been? And, no, I do not have time to write it both ways and then pick. But, that’s a nice fantasy.

As I write this, I realize that the Zen take on this dilemma (Alisa – you’ve corrupted my conscience!) would be to embrace the fork not as a ‘split’ or an ‘either or’, but as a bastion of opportunity and abundance! “Wow – look at that,” I would say. “I can choose option A and then write another post about option B. Lucky me!” But, I don’t want two posts. I want one. The right one.

My July birthday makes me a Cancer, ruled by water and the moon and my emotions and passion. Apparently this means that:

  • I cling (you know, with my crab claws).
  • I have needs that want to be filled deeply and immediately.
  • I have an aversion to failure and opposition.
  • (Oh, and I don’t like to be told what to do. This has absolutely nothing to do with this my point in this post. I just like knowing that this isn’t a character flaw, but an astrological fact that is beyond my control. Can someone call my all of my teachers, K – 12, and let them know? Thanks.)

Back to my point, something happens to me psychologically (or metaphysically? or astrologically?) when I have to make a choice between two ideas. I clutch them both tightly – and when I finally choose option A, I feel like I’ve failed option B. I don’t like the disparity that is inherent in making the choice.

So, quite often I find myself staring at my computer screen – contemplating the death of a thread in a post. Interestingly enough, the Muppets give me a nudge out of this pothole at the end of the movie with their final song. It goes a little something like this:

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending…”

I think Kermit just told me to fake it till I make it. And I think Kermit just told me that I literally can’t get it wrong. I just need to choose…and keep driving.

How do you handle forks?

Image credit: Dcosand

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Bert Jackson says:

    Well, I seem to always be starting at a fork (like with this simple reply). Those of us with different brains zip around to an overwhelming array of ideas at once. Settling on one and following it through to an end is a challenge I”ll allocate an hour for a blog post-sometimes is takes three). I joke with others about being 99% inspiration and 1% perspiration. I’ve recently come to accept that my ideas are like sperm, all of them are swimming wildly, but only those that are strongest (and luckiest) will reach fruition.

    So, how do I choose? In writing or any creative endeavor I try to let go of my ego and little self (didn’t we just talk about this) and see what flows out. I usually don’t know what will happen. A friend of mine recently said “Any path you are on where you can see where you are going belongs to someone else.”

  • Ron Miller says:

    You’re blogger. You don’t have to make the choice. You can write a two-part series on the pros and cons of each approach, or you can reserve the right to change your mind and write from the opposite view another time.

    That’s the joy of owning the means of production. You’re in charge. You get to decide and there are no right or wrong answers here (even if you end up contradicting yourself down the road).

    .-= Ron Miller´s last blog ..Google Buzz Not Getting Much Love =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    YES! You and me both, Bert – our ideas are like sperm!! I love that image. Ha!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Ron – that’s the problem, I get that. I get that I can write more than one post and cover it all – and I said that above. But the point is: what about this one post! The idea will be splintered, cheapened, lost – the point is that I’m standing on a cliff and I have to make a decision for this moment.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    I’m good at making decisions. Is that a Leo trait? Dunno. But whenever I have a situation like this, I honestly just do a mental eeny meany miney mo. I pick one and go with it, and I don’t allow myself to think about what could have been. It’s sort of like walking into a room and closing and locking the door behind you. Once you are inside, you don’t think about being outside. It helps to know that there are no bad decisions. There really aren’t. We stress over things and we hem and haw and worry. In the end, it’s all good in one way or another. If the decision results in a negative consequence, Good! You can learn from that. More important, you can blog about it! If the decision results in a positive consequence, Good! You can savor that. See? All good.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..The Oddest Communication Advice You’ll Ever Read =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Ha! Yes! All good, Alisa – thank you!

    The funny thing is that I’m VERY, VERY good at making decisions for other people (friends, clients, etc.)…hmmmm….interesting.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    Oh, and I have to say: Just love Bert’s sperm analogy.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..The Oddest Communication Advice You’ll Ever Read =-.

  • Lorraine says:

    Thanks, Julie, for exploring this copywriters’ dilemma.

    I recognize my discomfort facing forks as unhealthy perfectionism.

    Sure, high standards have a place in copywriting–they drive you to refine work, finish projects on time and more.

    But perfectionism also paralyzes.

    Brava for Alisa, and her level-headed decisiveness.

    There’s really not one right way to approach a lede, structure a marketing tool or finish a piece with punch.

    I need to make a choice, trust it’s good enough and move on.
    .-= Lorraine´s last blog ..Copywriters: When Do You Walk Away From a Copy Job? =-.

  • My life has been full of so many forks that I have pokey little fork marks all over my body. However, they heal. I handle forks with humor but most of the time I just cry until I can’t stand my fishbowl eyes anymore.

    Once I’m done sulking, I move on…forks are meant to make you strong. They’ve given me backbone and sometimes the fork leads you into a much better direction.

    Trust me, two ex-husbands and a couple or weird short-term relationships later, I’m at my happiest point doing what I LOVE instead of listening to everyone else.

    Forks rock.

  • Julie says:

    Oooohhh. I SO identify with this, and I’m a Leo.
    I HATE to let go of a choice. I like them all and want to see where they all lead. And this so gets in the way of my work. I like the comment above from The Daily Blonde, that Forks Rock. I may have to live into that one.
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..A Valentine to You, Dear Woman, Dear Friend =-.

  • Andi says:

    I am not good at forks because I make really quick decisions. I hate having too many options. When I do have them, I choose something and look forward, accepting that I must live with the path I have selected, I am not the type to dwell on the path not taken. If I slowed down when forced with multiple options I might make better decisions from time to time, but I hate the pressure of an open decision over my head. I need to make a choice, check it off my list and move on.
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Valentine’s 2010 =-.

  • Todd Jordan says:

    I love having multiple good ideas. i’m less afraid of writing down the wrong one than I am forgetting the other. Ha.

    I wish I had more forks to worry over these days. Ha.

    Good post. Fun and it made me smile on a Monday. Cheers to that.

    Todd aka @tojosan

  • Amanda says:

    Fork? Meet mouth. NOM.

    The forks are the most fun. You’ve got all these great ideas. How I handle the forks is to balance ’em all at once. Great idea for writing RIGHT NOW? Write it down. Then write down the next. Then the first. Then the second. Then the everything else.

    Might just be the scanner in me that makes me a little crazy for my circus acts.

    I say we turn the forks into bouncy balls and juggle.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Vive le revolution émotionnel =-.

  • Mary says:

    I think we get in the most trouble when we consider forks in the road as either or propositions and that we can win or lose. Sometimes that is true and that is what causes our fear and trepidation. On the other hand, most of our forks are either intellectual or philosophical and unless we choose something that is against our own beliefs and ethics we can’t really lose.

    As a few other Leos have noted, making decisions isn’t always hard for us but sometimes we jump too quickly. Somewhere is that perfect spot between decision and waffling….and when you find it, you’ll be rich ;-)
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Monday’s Wonderful Recycled Finds =-.

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