I read an interesting quote this week. It went something like this: "are you really having a bad day? Or did you have a bad five minutes that you milked into a bad day?"
I milk a lot.
Everyday, I order my coffee in a cup one size larger than the coffee I buy in order to accommodate all the milk I like to add to my cup of joe. (Also, I'm cheap.) Milk = yum!
But, I also milk things in the metaphoric sense.
We all do.
When it comes to being tired; we're exhausted... frustrated; we're so stressed... hungry; we're starving... and impatient; we're either very, very angry or very, very bored. In fact, these days, we don't even notice when we do it. (How many people will tell you they're sooooo overwhelmed and busy when they chat with you... but they still found the time to chat with you... and they're on level 900 of whatever's the latest version of Candy Crush on their phone?)
So why the vernacular? Why blow things out of proportion?
Well, in this click bait world, it's a way of garnering attention. We're essentially click baiting ourselves. If you say to your co-worker, you will not believe what happened to me... then follow that up with: I stood in line to get a sandwich. I got a sandwich. The clerk was mostly competent and the food tasted alright, you're going to have trouble grabbing your peer's attention again. So, we milk our daily situations... the line we waited in might grow to ten people long! And that mostly competent clerk soon becomes the most bumbling dumbdumb we've ever seen! It's innocent. It doesn't hurt anyone.
But, while milking innocent interactions doesn't hurt anyone, milking negative interactions does hurt one person very much... ourselves. When we milk the negative moments we experience, especially the negative feedback we receive about our art, we increase those negative feelings and imply more negative reach than the initial situation involved. One criticism of our writing builds into he hated the whole piece. One rejection letter says it was dismissed by the industry! One scene that fails to be broken results in us claiming the whole story didn't work.
There are times to be milking things for every drop that they're worth. And there are times when a moment is just a moment.
It doesn't need any milk.