What Else Can I Do? H/T Encanto

Y’all my kids have been singing Encanto on repeat. But I never dreamed it was going to help me with my creative endeavors.

Lo and behold, about 2 weeks ago, I was deep in research because I had paused my writing when I thought maybe, just maybe, I was bullshitting too much and depriving my reader. So I spent pretty much two months reading and highlighting textbooks on one of the main subjects (I know I’m aging myself a la Miranda in And Just Like That), and I realized I was going to have to make a significant pivot on the inciting conflict of my novel.

Unfortunately, I’ve already written 1/3rd of the first draft of the second version of my first book (le sigh…), and now I was going to have to edit with a heavy hand, the first four chapters, and with a lighter touch on the following four chapters after that, which I’d already drafted.

Considering I’m already rewriting from scratch a book I’ve already written once, it was more than a little disheartening of a discovery.

First, I had to figure out how to make this pivot. That’s where my accountability partner comes in. God bless him, but he had been saying, and saying, and saying to me that if I ever needed to talk anything through, just to call him. No big deal. All casual like that. It has been a long hard road for me to learn to make that call and realize I can actually brainstorm with people.

I’d done it once this year with my mentor Lori, and she helped me greatly improve my black moment, and once with my good friend who went on the writing retreat with me Keely, when I was trying to solve I can’t remember what. So this was the third time.

I don’t know why this concept is so hard to get through the head of a #1 strength Self-Assurance person like myself, to call for help.

But I rang up Gabriel, and honestly, we went down a couple avenues, but finally together found the right answer, and in less than an hour! I now accept that when I hit a roadblock, external processing with a friend can save me literally DAYS of time sweating what turn my writing and plot need to take.

So great and dandy, and the next day I go to sit in front of the computer, and I froze up. The idea of editing again, when I’d been editing for YEARS made me sick. I was not excited. I was intimidated.


I knew I needed a song to help me get in the mood to tackle this obstacle. That was when this Encanto song, “What Else Can I Do?” popped into my head. You see, this character Isabel is perceived as the perfect sister, and is singing about how she has the magic power to make roses, but when she accidentally makes a cactus she is thrilled. The beginning lyrics of the song are:

“I just made something unexpected

Something sharp, something new

It’s not symmetrical or perfect

But it’s beautiful and it’s mine

What else can I do?”

They just hit me so dead on. And I started editing, and I was loving it, and having fun!

My story had taken a turn I didn’t expect, but I could feel how much better it was, how much better it would be, for me going through the pain of making this change.

So if you need this sort of change and inspiration–I highly recommend calling a friend and listening to this song. 🙂 Here’s the video of this part of the movie–enjoy!

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