Even when I was deciding on a color for the entryway of my house, I had this problem. I put fourteen (not exaggerating) different paint swatches on the wall before I could pick one, and we’re not talking about a huge space here. But the real kicker…they were all beige.
I wish I were more decisive. I wish I were the kind of person who makes a choice without hesitation, sticks with it and doesn’t look back. Unfortunately, second-guessing is in my nature. I always wonder about the path not taken.
Surprisingly, I had no trouble committing when I started writing At This Stage. I knew the basic premise from the start and never strayed from it. But, inevitably, I came to a roadblock where I just couldn’t bring myself to make a decision. I was working on a scene between Kaitlyn and her current boyfriend, and I didn’t know which way I wanted this piece of the story to go. I wrote it two ways in the draft, leaving both versions in there until I was entirely finished. I knew if I went with choice B, I’d have to rework a number of other things, too. I only took choice B out right before I gave the draft to a couple of people to read. Even then, I was uncomfortable committing to it and asked them to read it both ways. They unanimously picked the same version I did, so I was able to breathe a little bit easier.
I know doubt is normal, and there were many times I reworked scenes over and over. However, that was more for overall improvement than to determine which direction I wanted to take. And there were times when the story took me places I didn’t expect, but I knew they felt right. This particular time, though, I just couldn’t pull the plug one way or the other until the very last second. I almost wished it was a Choose Your Own Adventure story and I could leave both options in there for readers to make their own selections.
But that’s not how life works. I had to choose a scene, just like I had to choose one of many beiges and last night’s dinner. And even though I may always wonder how almond bisque might have looked on my walls instead of sandalwood, it doesn’t mean I love sandalwood any less.