Quote of the Day: Don’t Lose the Forest for the Trees

Iguazu National Park, Argentina

“Too much light often blinds gentlemen of this sort. They cannot see the forest for the trees.”

-Christoph Martin Wieland (1733-1813), Musarion [1768], Canto II

Driving through the middle of the Iguazu National Park in Iguazu, Argentina, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit underwhelmed.  It was my first time to a rainforest and let’s just say I had very high expectations.  I was hoping to see rare plants that blew my imagination and monkeys hanging from every branch.  Instead, I saw, well, trees and vines that looked less like my avatar-inspired dream and more like, well, the trees and vines I’ve seen at home in the States (just bigger, perhaps).

Let’s just say, I lost the forest for the trees.

To truly understand the magnitude of the Iguazu National Park, you have to keep an eye out the window when your plane descends into the city or departs from it.  From a higher elevation, you realize that this rainforest, one of the biggest in the world, is 212 square miles of pure, luscious green.  And though I didn’t see the monkeys, they are there, along with countless varieties of butterflies, jaguars, birds, insects and reptiles.  It is a breathtaking place (as long as you aren’t too shortsighted).

Instead of getting caught up in the minutia of what’s directly in front of you, take a step back and embrace the big picture.  When you write, don’t lose the whole of what you’re writing for a single word or sentence that doesn’t live to your expectations.  In other words, don’t lose the forest for the trees.  Keep writing, keep exploring, and when you’re done, take a step back and enjoy the view.

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2 Responses to Quote of the Day: Don’t Lose the Forest for the Trees

  1. Jonny says:

    This is something that’s been incredibly difficult for me to cope with as a filmmaker. It’s so easy to get lost in the details, in every small intricacy, and forget the big picture of what you’re going for. When telling a story it’s important to keep the goal of the story in mind, and let the plot points, characters, imagery, and words follow…. vice versa is dangerous.

  2. Diana says:

    This is really hard for me when I write, when I look at the big picture and the entire message I want to convey I get overwhelmed. Sometimes taking it a sentance at a time works better….

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