Friday, October 5, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Getting it just right

Have you ever written a scene-- one of those really pivotal ones where it has to be *just* right, because the whole story hinges on it, and you just can't seem to? So you try something different, and it's still not working, so you keep trying something different until you think the frustration just might kill you?

Well, there's this man who's pretty darn brilliant, and he had something to say about those kinds of scenes. (Or possibly he was saying it about something different... but I'll only believe that if he tells me so himself.) Anyway, so this guy says that all of that work-- all of those times that the scene came out wrong-- weren't wasted. All those times existed so that you could find out how to do it just right. So you should quit thinking that you stink, and quit getting down in the dumps, because if you have a more hopeful attitude about it, you'll get it right. Except he said it in a lot fewer words, because he's cool like that. Check it out:


"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

~Thomas Edison


Grab a cookie and let's raise it in a posthumous salute. Thanks, Edison! *sniff* We love you, man!

By Tamara Manning (orig. posted to Flickr as Shortbread Cookies) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

23 comments:

Cristina said...

he's one smart cookie :)
have an awesome weekend Peggy

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love this quote. Another of his is "you only fail when you quit trying".

Laura Marcella said...

Love that quote! It's so true. There are no failures, only minor setbacks that help us learn something on our way to success. Without those setbacks, we might not get where it is we want to go. It's difficult to remember that in the moment, though! It's much easier to understand it in hindsight after you've already accomplished your goal.

Mmm, cookies!!

JeffO said...

I have left so much writing 'on the cutting room floor' it's not funny. But it isn't wasted, not at all. A friend of mine used to say, "Every 'no' gets you one step closer to a 'yes.'" Like Edison, he wasn't talking about writing either, but it also applies. Each sentence, each deleted scene, each cut chapter, makes us better. I believe this, anyway. It's part of what keeps me going!

Angela Cothran said...

I needed that today :) And I've been so busy I didn't get to comment on your teachable post (which I 100% agree with :) Thanks for the virtual cookie. It goes right to my virtual hips.

Bea Sempere (Denise Baer) said...

A wonderful quote. I'll have to keep that in mind when I'm sighing and throwing out a lot of GRRRRs because I can't seem to get it right.

S.P. Bowers said...

So all those times I've rewritten the beginning were useful? Sigh, I need a cookie, but I think this calls for a chocolate one.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

That Edison, he was a smart cookie.

Jessie Humphries said...

Here, here! I toast an English Shortbread salute :)

Susan Francino said...

That is a PERFECT quote to apply to writing! One could also apply the sense of it to multiple revisions of a manuscript...though I'll be long dead before I get to 10,000. :)

Joshua said...

I could really use cookies right now.

Shallee said...

Perfect timing on this post, as I'm currently trying AGAIN to rewrite a scene I just can't seem to get right. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

Angela Brown said...

I'm going to dismiss that Thomas Edison was talking about inventions. After all, an invention is simply a physical manifestation of an idea...just like writing a novel is a manifestation of stretching an idea beyond its furthest boundaries, and beyond :-)

Nicole said...

A classic quote for sure!

Iain said...

How many ways did you find not to write this post?
Do you dish out pearls of wisdom like these outside of your blog too?

Tammy Theriault said...

Cheers (with cookie in hand held high) to that.

Tracy Campbell said...

Love Edison's quote. And your advice, inspiring!
Happy Thanksgiving

Livia said...

Edison is a smart cookie, alright! And yes, I love everything "just right" otherwise I'll keep going back to it and think "I should've done this and this..." It's so true..we don't fail and it does take a million times to make it perfect! Great post, Peggy!

Thanks for commenting and following my blog! Nice to meet you! *shake hands* :)

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Keep at it, Peggy - you'll get it! :) I know you will :)

BECKY said...

Love that guy, Mr. Edison! And Peggy, when will you invent a scratch 'n sniff laptop??!! We need 'em for those cookies you keep showing us!

Christina Farley said...

This is so true! I just finished a WIP and I've lost track of how many times I've rewritten the beginning.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Oh yes, I've felt like that before. It's a great quote isn't it?

The Golden Eagle said...

This is the second quote by Edison I've seen on a blog today. Both were quite good! :)