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.
12 thoughts on “The Implementation Factor”
I share your struggle (both with writing and with my artwork). Reading what you say here, it occurs to me that our challenge with implementation may very well be distorted. We think there is one sort of implementation model we must adhere to, and that our own pace and style are not it. What if they are, for us? Wouldn’t it make sense for a creative person to have her own creative planning style and progress? …Perfection: The acceptance and practice of that which is authentic. I just made that up, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?
Thank you so very much for posting your wisdom! I tend to get caught up in looking at the productivity, rather than the creative process. Your words open my mind and heart to see myself and my process in a totally different light—a light of possibilities, and trusting my own process. God bless you.
I’ve always been one of those “fly by the seat of my pants” writers. Never really “planned” anything my whole life. I listen and read about writers who have a detailed “system.” Their systems work for them. Our “systems” such as they are, work for us. You must be doing something right. 🙂
Hey, sweet girl. Thank you so much for reading my blog. Do not think I shall give up living and writing by the seat of my pants! But today with all the demands on me and my drifty self, I think I could lean in more to a bit of planning, and a lot to implementation. With just the intent in mind, I’m sifting and sorting and choosing what is most important. I’m grateful to get to know you, and for your encouragement. Thanks, Barb.
I was going to say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” because “the proof is in the pudding”, so to speak. But I think we all lose our way at some point in our life, because life sits up and hits us in the face. We either go around or plow on through because the alternative of just giving up is not desirable either. Just remember your methods back then produced good results, so maybe now they just need a little tweaking. I think your thought about finding out how another person does something successfully and perhaps borrowing a bit here and there, will result in you having an updated plan that works for you! Keep up the “inner” planning anyway, because we need your books out there for those of us who don’t have your talent. God Bless!
I used to be both a great planner and a great implementer — back then, I had Franklin Covey planner that I kept religiously, checking off this and that chore & never missing an appointment. But things change, and life throws curveballs that sometimes cause us to be less surefooted, less productive. Sometimes it’s hard to find a balance between being gentle with yourself and saying “get off your duff and get to work”. lol Or at least that’s how it’s been for me. 🙂 I hope you find the right balance for you, one that gives you are comfortable with.
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Gosh, what a glaring error in that last sentence! lol I hope you find the right balance for you, one that you are comfortable with.
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Oh, your comment triggers memory. I did do more planning for my life. I had an official planner. It went week by week. Now, I never was great shakes at it. As I said, I did not have a myriad of things tugging at me. But I see now that it was an inner planning, a willingness. You are so right, it is a balance, and balance is something I work at every day. Some days good, some days not so good. But all contain some joy.
I feel your pain. I have a big re-certification test coming up and I’ve been planning out my study schedule, mapping out a timeline and yet, as the test gets closer and closer, I still haven’t found the time (or energy) to actually implement that darn plan!! Wishing you – and me – luck as your post has motivated me to focus on implementing the plan I’ve so painstakingly put together!! If only the lure of facebook and books and socializing (and, of course, work obligations) wasn’t so strong!
Darling Girl, it helps me so much to know you struggle, even though I wish neither of us did. It is human. And it is Resistance, as Steven Pressfield labels it. God can help! I’m praying for you this week. Let me know how it goes. The beginning is hard, but once begun, we’re on our way.
Curtiss Ann Matlock website/blog
Love in a Small Town Mary in Color
Get going, I miss your books!!!
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Thank you for the encouragement! I have begun, again, a new story, a sequel to Ruby Dee. I loved her so much when I revised The Loves of Ruby Dee that I wanted to take up with her and Will and their four grown children. Back to the Oklahoma High Plains I go!