Are You a Forest or a Tree Person? by Susan Lute
The other day I was having a discussion with the Mr. about why folks approach their jobs differently. You see, he’s the person who sees the trees. I see the forest. Details. Big picture. I think by the end we came to an interesting understanding of our long-lived marriage, which I’m finding, I’m quite proud of, but that’s another topic altogether.
So there are people who see the trees. They love detail. It matters to them, being precise, having all their i’s dotted and t’s crossed. And then there are folks who languish in the big picture. Don’t bother them with details. It doesn’t matter how a thing gets done as long as it does. A favorite saying (of mine), there are many roads around the mulberry bush.
I got to thinking about this forest versus tree phenomenon in relation to writing. There are writers who plot. They are the ones who have to know the details (or trees) before they can start the story. There are the pantsers, those who just sit down and write, because they know all roads (the forest) lead to The End. And, of course, there are those in between, whose brains are most comfortable seeing the trees in the forest. That, unfortunately, would not be me.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big picture girl. I don’t need to know all the details. In fact, I don’t want to know the details. I just need to know what you want me to do. I’ll make sure it happens. My tech partner calls this being an implementer. There are times when it makes me a little crazy.
Last night Jessa Slade asked me, now that I have a few self-published books under my belt, what did I think about being an indie author. My immediate response was, I have a love/hate relationship with it. And it wasn’t until that moment I realized why. Writing the book, editing the book, polishing the book, creating the cover, writing the back cover blurb…I love it all. Absolutely love it all. For me, that’s the forest. It makes sense. In the end, I’m putting together a novel. How I get there is half the fun. So what if I have to go around the block occasionally to get on the right road.
But as an indie author, all of a sudden I’m also the one responsible for getting the word out, marketing, making sure readers hear about my novel. That’s the trees, details, I don’t want to have to deal with. There is a solution, of course, and that is to hire someone to do this part for me. There are certain aspects I, and you, dear authors out there, will always have to deal with. Facebook, Twitter, and those personal social gathering places that we find comfort in visiting. But it is true, the rest can be hired out.
So here I am on my publishing journey, discovering why I have a love/hate relationship with this exciting career. How about you? Are you a forest or a tree person?