**I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they go whooshing by.**
Someone remind me who wrote that…
I love deadlines. I work best under a deadline and am pushed to go farther and exceed expectations knowing I have a goal to meet. Because I am goal and reward oriented person, I find I push myself harder knowing I won’t like myself at the end of the day unless I get done what I need to get done. ;-)
Having this in mind, I stole my father’s desk calendar (yes, I asked his permission first) and plotted out my schedule for the rest of the year. Now all you seat- of- the- pants writers and plotsters, don’t hyperventilate, because I have a few suggestions for you as well.
Even though I am SOTP writer, I like to know where I am going, thus I coined the term “plotser”—alas, Stan Williams must have crawled into my head and stole the term from me…but that is another blog post for another time.
You need to evaluate who you are as a writer and as a planner. And your writing life and your planning life can be at complete opposites, like mine is. I am a very linear planner. I plan my haircuts two months in advance. ‘Nuff said. And to keep me working on my writing instead of off playing on Facebook and Twitter and Blogging…(I digress), I need a solid goal to aim for.
These goals have proven to keep me up past my normal writing time to get edits and word count in so I can celebrate with a fist pump when I reach that pivotal goal.
Do you like to sit down at the computer and discover what the day holds?
You are a seat-of-the-pants planner. This works for you. You realize what needs to get done, but you also like to discover and you like to see how much of that you accomplish.
Do you like to make out a check list for what you want to get done in the next few days, the week?
Then you are a plotster planner. You know where you are headed, but you discover it in little increments.
Do you like to plan out deadlines for months in advance? Look at your schedule and evaluate what you can get done and when, taking into consideration days that will come up that weren’t part of your schedule? And also taking into consideration that you can push yourself harder than you gave yourself credit for?
Then you are a planner. You like to know the road ahead and where you need to go.
Even if you are a SOTP planner, maybe you can try to be a plotster or linear planner. It might not *completely* work for you, but you might discover you need a tangible goal to reach for—you might find you maximize your writing in stronger ways.
So a few tips for you, things that have worked for me and hopefully will work for you.
Seat of the Pantsers:
Always keep in mind of the future and what you need to accomplish and when. Maybe write a date really quick on a white board or sticky note to keep in front of you. Just to keep that in the back of your mind.
Same thing, only you probably jot down daily and weekly goals. Be realistic of those goals and push to meet them and go beyond, but realize life happens and sometimes goals have to be pushed to the side. Our writing life should never take center stage away from those we love.
You can have the most fun! But realize as you lay out your calendars and sticky notes and generated reminders, that life happens. Sometimes we have to push our goals a bit farther back in order to preserve the sanity of those we love. With that said, do not look at any change in the plans as an excuse to push those goals further away. Hold yourself to them. Find an accountability partner and make them keep you focused.
Remember, whoever you are in your planning, be cognizant of your deadlines, your goals and your daily to-do’s. So many times I think I know what I need to do for the day and realize I really need to check my calendar. It is smarter than I am. *wink*
There are pitfalls to being any kind of planer. But here is the beauty: most of us are not contracted yet, we have the opportunity to play around and see what we can do and when we can do it. We will realize early on how long it takes us to write a book and how long it takes to edit. Embrace this period of time, because we are learning in more ways than we could ever realize.
What plans work best for your writing life and how do you implement them and keep yourself “honest” to those goals?
Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more densely populated with cows than people.