Somewhere way back when, very early in the life of this blog, I wrote a post called Panning for gold. Based on a concept I found in an article, the post centered around the idea that if you absolutely fall in love with a particular sentence in your writing, you should take it out. Although that may seem counterintuitive, I continually find ways to prove this true.

Like today, for example. I was working on some ad copy alongside a graphic designer. When we finally put the whole thing together, we thought we had it nailed. It was pretty darned good, if I do say so myself.

Then we sent it around for approval.

Ignoring the fact that input by committee is a pretty frustrating endeavor in itself, one reviewer took issue with some of the wording in the body copy. I didn’t entirely agree, but I could see her point, so I set about making some changes. A few gyrations later, my designer and I sent it back for round two.

The funny thing is that I ended up liking the follow-up version better. The changes were subtle, but the ad finished stronger. And here I thought we had nailed it the first time.

This concept applies far beyond writing. My graphic designers do it all the time. They present a terrific design, but someone will nix a key element. They’ll have to go back and rethink it, and when they’ve gotten their creative juices challenged in this way, the final product is even better. And I’ve seen it happen in almost every walk of life.

Call them what you will–challenge, adversity, a wrench in the works–the curveballs life throws at us help bring out our best. It may not happen immediately (sometimes we have to get over ourselves first), but we’ll get there.

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