A Wicked Welcome to Diane Vallere

cart-horse-vallereWe’re delighted to welcome Diane Vallere back to the blog! Diane writes several series, is currently the President of Sisters in Crime, and is one of the best dressers around.

Putting The Cart Before the Horse | Diane Vallere

I had a birthday a few weeks ago, and one of my friends pointed out that I was born in the year of the horse. Which I quickly pushed to the back of my brain, because, outside of my Jordache jeans in Junior High, I’ve never been much of a horse person.

It wasn’t until later when I was emailing a writer friend about an idea I’d had for a new series that the subject of horses returned. I told her how I’d spent the morning mocking up covers for the as-yet-unwritten-series, and I wrote, “there is a cart, and there is a horse, but I am often confused by which one goes in the front…” which led to an amusing conversation about motivation.

She wrote: “On the cart and the horse and the barn door that’s slamming closed somewhere (I’m mixing my horse metaphors—is the barn door even relevant?). My opinion is that sometimes you need to make sure you have the cart in place first. This is important because when the horse eventually comes out of the barn(?) it will know where to stand.”

Frankly, this is so true that now I’m thinking anybody who doesn’t put the cart before the horse is wasting valuable time. Because here’s the thing: we all have ideas, goals, aspirations, objectives. We all want more. We all have projects on the back burner, projects that might not be more than the tickle of a thought at the part of the brain that other people use for long division (because our creative brain is already so full that our ideas are now spilling over onto the math side). And a lot of us have a plan to achieve some of those ideas/goals/aspirations/objectives. But in an increasingly busy world where our time is already split among countless obligations, our projects get scheduled when we have the time. And our ideas? They stay on the back burner.

It is known among successful people that if you can visualize the outcome of a project, you have a much better chance of completing the project. Seeing a cover for an as-yet-unwritten project isn’t counterproductive. The cover is simply a visual prompt that solidifies a concept: it’s not just an abstract thought. It’s real. This project can happen. This project will happen.

I say put the cart before the horse. Heck, push the cart off a hill and race to catch up. Unbridle your ideas! Let your passion—not your schedule–inspire your creativity. You’ll be amazed at how freeing it is to chase after that runaway cart. And when you catch up to it? You’ll be amazed at how much you accomplished when you weren’t even looking.


After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. PEARLS GONE WILD, #6 in her award-winning Samatha Kidd Mystery Series, came out December 2016. Diane is the president of Sisters in Crime. She also writes the Madison Night, and Lefty Award-nominated Material Witness and Costume Shop mystery series. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. 

F: facebook.com/dianevallere
T: @dianevallere
IG: @dianevallere
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32 Thoughts

  1. That is a helpful perspective. I think sometimes my horse runs away with my plans before they are fully realized and I’m left doing clean-up. I also like the visualization concept. Intriguing!

  2. Hi Diane, Great post. With all the changes happening in 2017 for me I’m concerned about not having enough time for everything, I’m worried about committing to things because I really don’t know what’s going to happen but you’re advice about letting my passion and not a schedule inspire creativity is a great reminder to keep handy.

    1. Hi Debra, Thank you for the comment! Trust me, we all get overwhelmed, and we all have moments when there is not enough time to get everything done. But if you set something in motion first and then think, you’ll be amazed at how you can make it happen! And how it ignites something within you to keep chasing the dream. Good luck!

  3. Great post! And welcome back indeed!

    Like so many folks, I’m struggling to juggle too many things—and too often writing projects get on the back burner…. This is all inspiring—and much appreciated!

  4. Welcome to the Wicked Cozys, Diane. It’s great to have you here.

    Unfortunately, I think the way I visualize things is to write them, so I can’t put the cart first.

    1. Hi Barb! Sometimes just saying out loud that you’re taking on a new project, or that you’re expediting your schedule, or that you’re going to volunteer for something rather major that you weren’t sure it into your schedule is the equivalent of putting that cart first. (But as a pantser, I totally understand you writing things to see them!)

    1. Thanks Vida! Sometimes it’s better to look back on a finished project and wonder how we made the time to do it than to wait for the free time to open up!

  5. Love it! It’s like Thelma and Louise but haulin’ across the landscape with a cart and a horse. Ride Sally, ride! 🙂

  6. I put the cart first in a super small way – every time I visit the library or the bookstore I find the spot (usually after Hillerman and right before Hoag) that my book will be. I did this before the book was finished. I did it when I was revising. I did it when I was querying agents. I did it when we were submitting to publishers. Doing it since I’ve signed my contract has been pretty awesome – it feels better than most things I’ve done in my life.

    1. Aimee, I did that too! And bless my dad: he looks for my books in every bookstore and calls to say, “that darn Elaine Viets put out another book and took up your shelf space.” Now, keep that cart in motion!

  7. Diane, I love the spin you’ve put on that old adage. Of course we have to get the cart ready first. I have a bunch of carts that need horses to get them in motion. Now I’m inspired! Thank you and good luck with your new project.

  8. Okay, so I guess your blog today is telling me I need to go to the hardware store, choose some paint and push that shopping cart, otherwise my bathroom will never get repainted and will only be fit for a horse to live it.

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