I live in an old house. A very old, lovingly semi-restored (we're working on it! :-)) house. What that means is this: lots of problems pop up with little or no warning and there are often few solutions. It is what it is: OLD.
My house is bordered on three sides with agricultural land. When the farmers harvested their peanuts this year, a contigent of homeless mice decided to move into my house. Mr Husband and I searched out and repaired dozens of holes, cracks and other places where a mouse could potentially slip through undetected. We screened all the vents, put that weird foam around all the pipes, and still the little boogers got into the house. My paranoia and frustration increased exponentially every twenty-four hours.
After about a week of this, I started saying, "I wish I could just line them up and hit them with a hammer."
I should NOT have said that. Carrie told me I should NOT say that. But I did. Repeatedly.
On Sunday afternoon I dropped a two-pound hammer, from counter height, on my foot. I was barefoot. OUCH. In all likelihood, Mr Husband learned some new vocabulary words.
It occured to me, sometime late Sunday night, when my foot was roughly the size of watermelon, and I was swearing the injury hurt more than childbirth, that we have to be careful what we say and what we visualize. I jinxed myself. I saw one solution to the rodent problem: paranoia-driven violence.
Here's how it applies to writing:
If you have a hole in your manuscript a mile wide, and you say, "There's only one way to fix it." You don't listen to anyone else's input. You don't give your brain time to sift through possibillities. Instead you rush to fix it your way and you end up making things much worse.
On the other hand, if you say, "I know I have this hole, and it needs to be fixed. What are the possible solutions?" The solutions will begin to trickle into your brain. You listen to others, read books that are similar to yours and assimilate all the ideas. Then, after careful consideration, you fix it and it's perfect.
I should have listened to Mr Husband who said, "Let's shore up all the holes, trap them with those humane traps and release them in the woods where they'll have food and cover." (Did I mention he has some genius moments?) But I didn't. The reason the hammer fell on my foot was because I left it on the counter, just in case, instead of in the cabinet where it belongs.
So here's my advice: Think smart. Be careful what images you load into your brain. And be careful where you leave your hammer.
BTW, the foot is going to be fine. There are no longer any mice in my house. And none of them came to a violent end via hammer.