This morning my grown son and I were cooking breakfast together. I asked, “Do you plan? I mean, do you have tips you could share about planning projects?” After all he has built his own business from the ground up. Surely he know something that he’s learned (and I know I didn’t teach him.)
He cast me that crooked grin that says his mother is crazy again and said, “Well, you plan…and then you implement the plan.”
“I know that. But I’m having trouble with the planning. I know how to schedule time and make a date…but I don’t know how…” Understanding dawned within, and my son’s eyebrows rose. “It’s the imple-men-tation. That’s where I’m stumbling.” My tongue got all tangled up in the word.
“Yep. Mama, you got to follow through with the implementation.”
Progress has been made. At least I can now clearly see a main difficulty.
In the past week, I have heard advice from three highly successful writers that a writer must plan not only a synopsis of the book project but make a plan for each day’s writing schedule. The idea of both causes me to tear at my hair and think seriously of jumping in bed and covering up my head.
I have tried planning. I can’t seem to get anywhere.
Now, I know you ask: Didn’t I manage to write 36 novels?
Well, yes, I did, and in thinking back, I find that I did plan my books. I wrote scene sketches on Post-it notes and placed them on large sheets of paper. As minute as this sounds, it was planning; it was my way of making a synopsis, and obviously I implemented this synopsis. I finished and published the books.
As for planning my writing days and implementing the plan, there was no effort. The days were handed up to me–great swathes of time after my son went to school and my husband to work. The day was mine. I wrote. Simple implementation. There was no Facebook or even email in the beginning to distract me. I would paint my nails at my desk and think of the novel, letting my imagination go. When the nails were painted, I went tap-tapping at the keyboard. I really did lead the ideal writer life.
My world today is far different. (I’m often amazed when I look around at my world. Are you?) My days are far different, filled with myriad of demands and choices. And longing for what was will not bring it back. I must work with what I have today–with my world as it is, and myself as I am.
Planning is needed in order to get the ideas in my head out my fingertips. It is also needed to get where I want to go as a writer. I accept that now, so I have moved into a willingness to plan.
The implementation factor still makes me a bit wobbly. I have great need there. That is what I’m working on for the coming week: helping implement my plans for my writer self.
I’ll let you know how it turns out.