I’ve always tried to plan out every single step I’d like to take to accomplish anything. From doing the laundry to finishing my novel, it always seemed like the best plan was to plan. The problem with my planning, however, is the execution.
I love to make lists, which I’m sure sounds very OCD, but it’s rare that I actually accomplish what’s on the list. Perhaps it’s because I rarely take into account all the things for which I can’t plan. I can’t plan for deaths in the family like I can’t plan for days when I’m so tired I sleep all day and all night as well. I can’t plan for simply being unable to motivate myself into any action, so what often happens is that I spend hours or day making intricate plans only to end up with nothing.
For the past few weeks, I’ve thrown away most of my plans just to avoid the prospect of dying in my apartment and have my family sift through dozens upon dozens of lists just to get the place ready to rend again. I’ve also given up my plans for the novel as well.
That’s not to say, I’ve thrown in the proverbial towel and given up on the novel. I don’t equate giving up plans with giving up entirely and I wrote over three thousand words tonight. I just simply don’t sit down the previous day and say to myself, “Dorienne, you’re going to write 3K words and then finish 2.5 chapters tonight.” It’s impossible to plan the days when all I want to do is read or when I’m too busy to spend the time writing, so the planning just doesn’t work. Neither does it work to plan when the novel will be completed.
My first draft of Damen should have been completed by 26 September 2011, but wasn’t done until 18 March 2012. The novel should have been cut and ready to send by September 2012, then December 2012 and then January 2013, but I’m still at least 2 drafts from that point.
The reason I’ve given up planning is that whenever I fail to keep these plans, I fall into a deep depression and I’m even further off path than I was when I’d first made the plan to keep me on target.
I’m not entirely sure where the novel stands at the moment. It’s at 146K per the document’s word count, but there is at least 7K worth of things that I’ve already crossed how, but haven’t yet deleted, so it’s really hard to say where I am. That said, without a plan that states I’m to write/review 5K every night so I can have this thing ready by 1 February, I create at my leisure and am happier for it.
If tonight, I just want to read, so be it. If tonight, I finish another chapter or two, great! If tonight, I surf the Internet and fall asleep in front of the TV watching Everybody Loves Raymond on Netflix, which is currently my favorite thing to do, that’s all good too.
My Pastor has long said that if you plan for nothing, then you plan to fail, but I can’t help but disagree. Sometimes the best laid plans fail and there is something to be said for just going along with the flow. This, again, isn’t to say that I don’t have goals. I’d like to be published and published often. I know the steps I’ll need to take to get there as well, but I refuse to plan out every single minute I spend taking those steps anymore.
In the words of John Lennon: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. So, it’s time for me to focus more on living and loving life instead of making all these plans only to be miserable when life happens.