We’re delighted to welcome Diane Vallere back to the blog! Diane writes several series, is currently the President of Sisters in Crime, and is one of the best dressers around.
Putting The Cart Before the Horse | Diane Vallere
I had a birthday a few weeks ago, and one of my friends pointed out that I was born in the year of the horse. Which I quickly pushed to the back of my brain, because, outside of my Jordache jeans in Junior High, I’ve never been much of a horse person.
It wasn’t until later when I was emailing a writer friend about an idea I’d had for a new series that the subject of horses returned. I told her how I’d spent the morning mocking up covers for the as-yet-unwritten-series, and I wrote, “there is a cart, and there is a horse, but I am often confused by which one goes in the front…” which led to an amusing conversation about motivation.
She wrote: “On the cart and the horse and the barn door that’s slamming closed somewhere (I’m mixing my horse metaphors—is the barn door even relevant?). My opinion is that sometimes you need to make sure you have the cart in place first. This is important because when the horse eventually comes out of the barn(?) it will know where to stand.”
Frankly, this is so true that now I’m thinking anybody who doesn’t put the cart before the horse is wasting valuable time. Because here’s the thing: we all have ideas, goals, aspirations, objectives. We all want more. We all have projects on the back burner, projects that might not be more than the tickle of a thought at the part of the brain that other people use for long division (because our creative brain is already so full that our ideas are now spilling over onto the math side). And a lot of us have a plan to achieve some of those ideas/goals/aspirations/objectives. But in an increasingly busy world where our time is already split among countless obligations, our projects get scheduled when we have the time. And our ideas? They stay on the back burner.
It is known among successful people that if you can visualize the outcome of a project, you have a much better chance of completing the project. Seeing a cover for an as-yet-unwritten project isn’t counterproductive. The cover is simply a visual prompt that solidifies a concept: it’s not just an abstract thought. It’s real. This project can happen. This project will happen.
I say put the cart before the horse. Heck, push the cart off a hill and race to catch up. Unbridle your ideas! Let your passion—not your schedule–inspire your creativity. You’ll be amazed at how freeing it is to chase after that runaway cart. And when you catch up to it? You’ll be amazed at how much you accomplished when you weren’t even looking.