The other day I shopped at Costco, pushing my flat bed cart throughout the store. It teetered with, among other things, six gallons of milk, two cases of bottled water, and four boxes of cereal. Three bunches of bananas precariously perched on top. We have three growing sons, and my Costco bill is frightening. I'm the lady you don't want to stand behind in the checkout line (I'm not cruel...I've let plenty of people go before me).
Anyway, as I maneuvered around a tight corner, I passed an elderly couple with--count 'em--three items in their small cart. They smiled when they saw my pile, and I envied their tiny bill. But here's the thing--there's always more than one way to view a cart, or a character, or a journey, and this helps us as writers.
One way: Elderly couple thinks Poor dear has to feed those kids.
Another way: Elderly couple thinks Do you remember when our kids were home? I miss those days. The bustle, the activities, the noise. The laughter around the dinner table. I'd give up our small Costco bill in a flash just to have those days back.
One way: My character is too mean/nice/pretty/flawed. And I'm not sure how they should respond to certain situations.
Another way: Characters should be multi-dimensional. Like real people, they should react to situations based on who they are at the time. We have an entire story for their arc to run its course. And if the characters still aren't quite right? Luckily we can revise until they are.
One way: I'm a new writer with no publishing credits. Who am I fooling?
Another way: I have passion, desire, determination. I'll work hard, learn, fail, and try again. I'll play with characterization, genres, and techniques. There are so many opportunities, and it's wide open for me.
One way: I'm published. I've achieved the dream. Now what?
Another way: I'm published! I've achieved the dream! I'm grateful, and looking for the next mountain to climb.
Have you ever analyzed a situation from two completely different viewpoints? What were the results? And is your grocery bill enviable or frightening? And isn't Costco's food court the best?