I’ve Planned. Now What?

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Road to Hana Curves

Best Laid Plans…may not always go awry, so much as curve unexpectedly

That phrase has been chirping through my mind recently like a clockwork cuckoo bird.  Planning for success is relevant in the three big chunks of time-fillers in my life right now, business, fitness, and writing, so I often think about plans for one thing or the other throughout the day.  For my workouts, I plan when I will exercise, what lifts I’ll be executing, and the food I’ll be eating before and after.  For business, I plan when to hold meetings, what will be said, who will say them (along with a lot of other nitty gritty things).  For writing…well, that’s a little tricky.  I plan when I will write, but that’s pretty much it.

With writing, I don’t really have a physical feedback loop that will tell me that I’ve made progress.  With my exercises, I can see physical changes; see that I’m lifting heavier weights, and that I’m running faster.  I can test selling techniques and education materials in my business, and see how successful it is through customer interaction and overall sales.  Sure, I can count pages or words, but really, quality is more important than overall quantity, and when I’m just trying to get words onto a rough draft, I know that I’m not getting close to quality writing.

Well, what can I, a writer-hoping-to-be-a-published-novelist, do to set myself up for success?  Sure, planning when to write, and then actually showing up to write is a big thing, and one that I can take care of fairly well.  However, my thought process around planning, and then executing those plans, are not as cut-and-dry to this facet of my life as it is in business and fitness.  And, I think that’s the issue right there.  The execution of those other parts of me is fairly simple once everything is planned out.  (I mean, once I decide that I need to do squats on a given night, it’s just a matter of getting under the bar and, well, squatting.)

Road to Hana: Liza on viaduct

A viaduct 50 feet above jagged rocks can’t stop me from reaching my goals

With writing, the plan is simple: show up and write.  The execution is another thing all together.  It’s like choosing to face being beat up and torn up everyday; choosing to experience lifetimes and emotions over and over again; and, on top of that, ensure that those experiences are written in a coherent, engaging way, free of typos.

So, my little birdie squawking about creating plans needs to turn into a cheerleader or coach cheering me on to write everyday.  The plan will of course remain the same: show up and write.  But, the amount of dedication and drive it takes to see this process through till “The End” needs a whole new frame of mind for me.

Instead of the distant planner, for this, I will need to take on a more down and dirty persona.  And, I will need to embrace a new affirmation, a new word for this facet of myself.  Relentless.  Yes, that will do just fine.

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

From Ulysses, Tennyson

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”From Ulysses, Tennyson