I've been seeing a lot lately about five-year plans, and planning for the future. I even wrote a post about five-year plans a while ago. I'm really feeling the need to revisit this topic, because it seems like time is slipping out of my grasp at a faster rate each day, and I'm convinced I can take control of it if I make plans.
And not only make them, but follow them.
Otherwise, time has a dreamlike quality. It's there, and then it isn't. I end up blinking, rubbing my eyes, wondering what happened to the past six months, and trying to convince myself maybe I really was asleep, because I couldn't have possibly lost such a big chunk of hours if I was actually conscious.
Of course, it's not easy to convince myself to plot out my life when I'm a self-proclaimed pantser. It's actually kind of funny, not to mention ironic, that the only way to get my pantser-based stories written is to write down detailed scenarios of how to spend my daily hours.
But despite the humorous irony of it all, it makes sense to chart out some things I need and want to accomplish the next few months. Because we all know it may be the beginning of a heat-filled summer now, but in a couple of minutes we'll be toasting the New Year, making heartfelt promises to do better in 2013 than we did in 2012.
My contrary self wants to complain about all the constricting restrictions that planning ahead can cause. But my practical self responds that there is plenty of room in each day to goof off, or change gears, or whatever we want to call that "down time" that holds together our productive moments.
My goal is to downsize the down time and supersize the productive moments.
I can start by putting on the calendar the things I've committed to, such as guest blogs and my own blog posts for each week. Then I write down what I'd *like* to commit to, such as the publication date for the next self-published books, to coincide with the scheduled guest blogs, so I can capitalize on having my name out there at the same time as my books. With these items firmly in place, I can work backwards, to today, to strategize what needs to be accomplished to meet those goals.
It's tricky to plan for some things, since there's a huge unpredictability factor in place, especially in the world of publishing and books. However, that's not always a bad thing. For example, the novella I sold to Samhain came about from a completely unplanned Twitter conversation with other writers. (It also reinforced my belief that I need to keep checking Twitter constantly throughout the day. That's a hard habit to break now.)
I can't plan for everything, but I can choose to make better use of the hours in each day. It's an incredibly satisfying feeling to see the accomplishments pile up. It's also great motivation to keep going, to see what else can be added to the Finally Done pile.
Even better, it's a relief to not have to deal with the guilt of seeing the sun go down and telling myself, "Oh well, maybe I'll get to it tomorrow."
Having these concrete deadlines helps to change "someday" into an actual day, filled with achievements.