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.



  • Paul (@princejvstin) Posted September 7, 2011 4:30 am

    So, it seems to me that you came to the personal realization that playing with the map beyond a base level of functionality was really an attempt at procrastination.

    and you won around against the Procrastination Demon…

    • Patrick Hester Posted September 8, 2011 2:23 pm

      I don’t know that it was about procrastination so much as it’s about how my brain works and getting distracted. Just a few years ago, I would’ve seen the map project as a legitimate use of my time. Today, not so much. I have grown a little, and I recognize that having words on the page is a far better use of my time.


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