Popping our precious bubble of reality

Gollum bit off the hobbit’s finger and danced about, shouting the words:

Precious, precious, my precious, oh precious.

But in his elation to be reunited with the one true ring, teetered on the edge of the great pit, blundered into the crack of doom and burned in the molten lava. 

This is what can happen if we are too precious. About anything. 

From sentences on the page, to strategies for closing the sale, to beliefs about what constitutes success, hanging on too tightly makes anything disappear. 

We must practice a healthy sense of separation and detachment. 

Reminds me of my album from few years ago. Halfway through our recording session, something occurred to me. There was one song that didn’t feel true. It sounded rushed and forced. It didn’t fully belong to the family of music we came to record. It was taking forever to track properly. And from a thematic perspective, the lyrics interrupted the narrative arc of the record. 

And so, we trashed it. Deleted the file forever right there at the soundboard. 

It physically caused me pain in the moment. Which is normal. Anytime we pop our precious bubble of reality, there is a feeling of sadness and loss. 

Ultimately, however, it was the right choice to make, and the album came out better in its absence. 

It also taught me not to be so damn fastidious about my songs. They are not fragile vases that are going to shatter. They are not the most important pieces of art in the history of the universe. They are not the truth itself, they are my current judgment of the truth. And there’s no use throwing a temper tantrum every time one of them doesn’t pass my precious little purity test. 

Couch, the great writer and literary critic, coined a phrase a hundred years ago called murder your darlings. He said that whenever we feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, we should obey it whole heartedly, and then delete it before sending our manuscript to press. 

Are you willing to abandon your beliefs on a moment’s notice? 

If not, notice that. Because the more precious we are about our work, the harder it will be to make the tough choices that will resolve its problems. 

We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbits. Wicked, tricksy, false


Are you so precious that you won’t be able to do the hard things to help your ideas survive? 

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  



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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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