Why "Plan B" rocks

We all have our goals of scoring the dream job, writing the best book, landing a big business deal or creating the perfect piece of artwork.

We have our sights set and devoted to Plan A – that first idea, sketch, sentence or word being PERFECT. Maybe even when it comes to dating, eating at a restaurant, or buying a book to read on a plane. But what happens when Plan A falls through? Do you freak out? Cuss? Whine? Eat the Chips Ahoy you bought for Junior’s lunch box?

I’m here to tell you Plan B is the way to go. Here’s why.

A few years ago while working as an entertainment reporter, I had an editor who would always chop off the first sentence or paragraph of my stories. It used to drive me flippin’ crazy because I had spent so much time writing and rewriting that lede, slaving away to make it sizzle.

I wanted him to open my story, read the first sentence, and publicly admire my innovation! Instead, his fingers tap danced across his keyboard to highlight and delete. Can you say humbling?

Finally, one day I asked him why. He explained that most of the time, the gold is what comes after that first idea for the following reasons:

– The first try comes with the pressure or stress of trying too hard to be clever or cute.

– The first idea is just a warm up.

– If you think your first idea is brilliant, chances are someone else has already thought of it.

– Sometimes it just doesn’t click, kind of like that first pancake on the griddle. It’s always a little wonky.

– There is a good chance it is a cliché.

– Often, it is the universe working in your favor, shielding you from future trouble. (He didn’t tell me that one, but I’m telling you)

I stopped pouting and let it sink in. He was right! I started going through my past stories and had an Oprah “Ah-ha!” moment. It clicked in my brain that by the time you get past the stress and energy of going for Plan A, you’re relaxed and able to find a comfy groove. That’s when the best stuff happens!

When I used to interview celebrities, Plan A would be to ask them about their love lives. Duh! They weren’t about to discuss that! So I used to dig around their bios and come up with offbeat topics I knew other reporters wouldn’t ask about. That is how I found out that Kate Hudson loves to scrapbook with lots of glitter!

Sometimes it happens organically. Other times you have to push yourself to come up with (and embrace) the next round.

I eventually applied the concept to my craft designs. As with writing, it worked like magic! Even today, every project I think of, I’ll jot or sketch a few ideas. Even when I think I have a great list, I always, always, always whack off the first one or two. Sure enough, I’ve seen repeatedly those are the ones others have done first. This process forces us to think outside the obvious. Sometimes I don’t do it enough because I’ll see the work of other people who went to Plan K or P and the end result is killer – beyond anything I could have thought of!

It also works with marketing plans. Write that press release or pitch. Find a kernel of something catchy in it and then rewrite it with that as the focus. I guarantee it will be more exciting and fresh.

Try it with:
– shopping
– blog headlines
– designing clothing
– making crafts
– naming your business/creating a logo
– choosing where to sell your artwork
– the way you put your jewelry or make up on
– using your art supplies
– the way you approach people
– slogans
– personal or company mission statements
– color combinations

It is still important to unleash all your heart and soul into Plan A of course, but if it doesn’t pan out – be confident it’s because something more fitting is just around the corner.

Thank you, Scott, for inspiring this post!

NOTE: I didn’t even mean to do this, but look at the top of this blog post. You can easily remove that first graph!

Do you have a Plan B story or thought? Share it in the comments!!

Love & light,

12 Responses

  1. I like your inspirational thoughts. I’m at that point in my life that I need to start applying my plan b goals. This blog was perfect timing. Thanks~Meg

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! Most days I feel like most of my life is a big Plan B (or C). My business for example: I was going to handdye yarn (but everyone was doing that) and then I focused eco-friendly yarn (this was 2 years ago) but I could hardly find any, so I went even MORE eco-friendly and started sourcing my stuff locally or from people who were recycling mill-ends. Voila! A niche that suits me perfectly, drives my passion and inspires me to keep digging for more sources, which introduces me to new farmers, which has led me to the conclusion that I want my own farm.

  3. Wow, good one! I have thought of this concept somewhat (in terms of filmmaking, Robert Rodriguez, director of Sin City advises filmmakers to make as many films as they can so they can get the crap out of their system before going on to the really good stuff), but this article goes much more in depth with the topic! Love it! Thanks for being such an inspiring person!


    p.s. I submitted this article to DIGG.

  4. First, thanks for all the great information.. and, yes, Plan B always is better! I often use this when things go wrong when my kids are working on something and they get frustrated when it gets ruined or they lose something maybe. I always tell them not to be discouraged, just do it again because they will find that often times the second time around is always even better then the first time! One of our family mottos around here is “a happy accident.” Often times when we redo stuff because of an accidental error of some sort(broken, lost, done wrong, put in the wrong place, whatever it may be), it almost always always always turns into some sort of “happy accident” and the next time around, no matter what this has ever applied to, has always been better and made someone happier, and is often referred to as our “happy accident!” It really curbs the frustration, I think, and really makes a person shift direction in a positive light.

    Thanks for all the inspiration! Have a wonderful day!

  5. Hi Kathy,
    It was such a pleasure meeting you at Michaels last week! I really loved this post! You are right on when you talk about us using Plan B or C and rarely Plan A. When it really comes down to it, 90% of my life usually ends up being a Plan E or F. Ha Ha. Thanks for the inspiration and a huge thanks for mentioning Cowgirls and Cupcakes on your Twitter! Thanks again!

  6. Skelekitty was my Plan B.

    I wanted to be a “great” fiber artist, creating stunningly colorful quilts that made you want to cry and laugh at the same time. Occasionally, I’d hit on one, like Hot Flash Rising, but mostly I just heard people crying out, “where’s Skelekitty?!” My mind kept telling me that bony cat wasn’t ‘art’ and it felt like a waste of my time and resources to make $300 quilts featuring what amounted to a a cartoon. Still, my friends and clients wanted her…

    First I reacted by instituting a moratorium – no more skeleton creatures jumpin’ on my quilts! Soon, though, I realized just how short sighted I was being, and relaxed a litle. I decided to let that adorable cat take care of me. Now she’s on prints, greeting cards, custom gifts for my friends and this Fall, on rubber stamps!

    Plan B truly rocks.

  7. Excellent post and it couldn’t be more perfect timing as I’ve just been sitting down today and trying to come up with a list of ways I could use my artwork for gifts. The most obvious – a painting. But what else is there?

  8. lmao. I thought this was going to be a blog about why the morning after pill is so awesome. I was really confused as to how this relates to crafting, until I started reading.

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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