What was I thinking?

A project can sound and look great in your head, and may even continue looking great once drawn up on paper. But sometimes your whole opinion changes when you actually build it.

I really identified with David DeCristoforo’s blog on how best-laid plans can change during the building process. An idea seems awesome, and can even look better on paper, but when you’re actually evolving those ideas from paper to wood, you can’t help but wonder, as David asks, what was I thinking?

Sometimes it’s a case of the materials simply not looking quite right in the final result. Sometimes it’s the dimensions, or maybe the joinery method you selected. Sometimes it’s the fact that a project that looked good in your head and on paper simply doesn’t quite come together once fleshed out on the assembly table in front of you. A real world analogy is how an excellent novel just somehow doesn’t work on the movie screen; no matter how good a job the actors and filmmakers do, sometimes it just doesn’t look right. (After three tries they still haven’t gotten “Dune” right.)

But there’s an even more maddening what-was-I-thinking moment. It’s when you realize that there was nothing at all wrong with those fantastic ideas from the planning stages, but once you see it evolving right in front of you during the building stage you suddenly see a better idea. Of course, at this point you want to start over and there’s nothing wrong with that. The better idea was probably the germ of your original plans, but required you to work through it a bit before seeing it. And that’s OK, because what you end up with is the better project.

Best of all, though, you still have that fantastic original idea that you can use another time.

A.J.

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