This weekend, I was working on the secret novel project (the one that is only secret because I don’t want to talk about it yet), and in it, I’m revisiting something that I worked on years ago – including a map. (take from that statement what you will.) I did a Spotlight search for the map in question, and couldn’t find it – which wasn’t surprising given that I was on the laptop at the time, and I keep the laptop lean and mean hd-wise.
So I moved to the iMac, searched and couldn’t find the map. The next step was to pull out the external drives I have used in the past and see if I could find the file – but then I thought, you know, I could just redraw it from memory.
Sure as shit, I could. Grabbing pen and paper, I quickly sketched out this map so I would have it as a reference. To get it on the laptop, I scanned it (scanner is attached to the iMac), then pushed it over to the laptop and added it to the Scrivener Project. Staring at it, I thought to myself, “Self – you could make that map a lot nicer. You already scanned it, just drop it into Photoshop.”
So I did.
Then I started looking at some of the maps I have liked, making notes, and started planning out this major Photoshop project to ‘enhance’ this map and make it something better than my little hand-drawn reference piece.
“Wait,” said my brain. “What are we doing?”
Okay, so, maybe my brain didn’t actually say that, but you get the gist. I had a moment where I stopped what I was doing because it wasn’t important.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should.
Is it more important for me to spend hours tricking out a map that, sure, could end up on this site, but probably won’t ever end up being used in any actual publication (unless I do it myself)? OR, is it more important to put words to page? I have the reference piece, which is what I wanted in the first place. Is it perfect? No. Does it work? Yes.
So why waste all that time that would better be spent writing?
Just a couple of years ago, I would have pushed through and killed myself to make that perfect map. Today? Not so much.
Today, I’d rather be writing.