November 21

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Odds Are…Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

I saw Barenaked Ladies for the first time in 2001. They were awesome live. I remember singing along to “If I Had A Million Dollars” and “The Old Apartment” at the top of my lungs, and loving every minute of it. I remember being VERY close to one of the speakers (my husband and I were near the front), and given that I was pregnant with my second son, worrying that the noise was bad for the baby. (#worrier #guilty ;D) My husband said, odds are, he’ll be fine. (Okay, actually he said, “He’ll be fine. I love you. Don’t worry.” Then he kissed my forehead. But go with me here for the sake of the post.:D)

Anyway, my husband was right. My son’s totally fine.:) Now 11, my son loves music as much as I do. And it turns out he’s a BNL fan too. (Go figure!) 

Anyway, in 2009, BNL hit a crossroads. One of the founding members and lead singers, Steven Page, left the band. Now considering he shared vocals duties with Ed Robertson, BNL no doubt was reeling. (Page is the iconic voice behind hits like “Brian Wilson.”) BNL had a choice: break-up, or retool. Regroup, and redefine themselves, without Page. BNL chose the latter, and man, am I grateful. They recently released a new album, Grinning Streak, highlighting their retooled sound. Robertson delivers solo, playing on his–and BNL’s–strengths. And live? Well, they still rock, with all the fun and humor they’re known for. They played to a packed house in St. Augustine two weeks ago, still bringing the riffs, the off-the-cuff lyrics, and all the awesome. While the new Page-free album took center stage in the setlist, BNL played plenty of old BNL faves, flexing their new sound without Page. Old songs, new interpretations. And it’s all good. I can’t help thinking that the current album–its success and message–is a direct result of that 2009 tough choice.

As writers, we often get to a crossroads with a manuscript. We get frustrated. Plot points aren’t working, the pacing is off, or a character is flat. Ugh. Being a writer is HARD. (I mean, it’s AWESOME…all rainbows and unicorns. 😉  #PinkySwear #lies) And when we’re SO CRAZY FRUSTRATED, we stare at our Word document and think: Shelve it? Jump into the NaNo fray and write that shiny new idea? Or just retool, taking this manuscript in a new direction?

Only you know what to do. 🙂

Listen to your critiques, your feedback, but most of all, listen to your writer’s gut. Sometimes your MS isn’t done . . . you just need to regroup. Redefine. Reinterpret. Look at the plot/character/pacing–the whole tamale–from a fresh angle. A different angle. Maybe huge chunks need to go, maybe you need to say good-bye to a character you love. Maybe the MS will turn into something different, something that makes you scream “YES! It works!” And still makes you smile.

So today, breathe. Choose your path–move on, or retool. But whatever you choose, odds are, it’ll be alright. BECAUSE THE BARENAKED LADIES SAY SO. See for yourself.*

*FTR, there are no actual naked ladies in this video. But if you’ve read this far, you knew that, right?:)