My 2016 plan: stop making plans.

IWSG badgeThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG will be L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace!

The winners of the IWSG anthology contest are also being announced today!

 

Well, here we are, a new year. A fresh start! Time to regroup and renew. That of course means resolutions–to try harder, do better, get things done, and create some success.

I’ve always been an ‘organizer.’ By that I don’t mean I’m overly organized (ha ha, no), but that I like to make lists and plans for myself and write them out and decide succinctly how I’ll do things, and at what specific times, and how one thing will follow the other and accomplish this and that. I’m very good at creating a plan and working it out neat and tidy on paper. It makes me feel secure and organized and like I’m already accomplishing something.

The problem is, I never actually follow the plans I lay out for myself. I might, for a few days or even weeks, but then I wander off course and forget about it. I think I cripple myself by laying everything out nice and pretty and then my brain thinks “good job, we did it!” only we haven’t even started doing anything. Not to mention it gives me anxiety to think “gosh, I have to get this done today because I wrote it down!” Then I admonish myself for being ‘lazy’ if I don’t scratch things off my list when I’m supposed to.

That’s not to say I don’t get things done, because I do, but I never seem to stick to these explicit directions I write out for myself. I find like most imposed work, I balk at the idea of doing it because I HAVE to, but when I give myself flexibility and breathing room, I tend to get it done anyway. I also know of myself I’ve never been a consistent worker, but the type of writer that gets a huge amount of stuff done in one go and then slacks off the rest of the week. I’ve always been like that. But still, I persist in trying to give myself directions, like it’s going to magically change me.

So, my writing resolution this year is one that seems contradictory to the spirit of resolutions:

I’m going to stop making plans.

I’m just going to write, and edit, and do the work I need to do, when and how I choose to do it, without some self-imposed schedule. I’m going to stop cracking the whip on myself and then getting over-critical of myself when I don’t follow rules I don’t like to begin with. I do want to accomplish certain things and be more active in certain areas as I detailed in my writing resolutions post earlier this week, but I’m not going to give myself some rigid schedule to do it in.

I’m going to get back to enjoying writing, without breathing down my own neck.

How about you? Do you plan on being harder or softer on yourself this year?

31 comments

  1. I’m like you Megan in that I don’t make plans, except in my head I have a pretty good idea of what I hope to achieve. It takes a lot of determination to see these plans through. All the best for 2016 and thanks for visiting my blog!

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    1. I definitely have a plan in my head too! It just never turns out like all those lists and plans I make for myself on paper, so bye-bye paper! Let’s see if that works better.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I’ve got an entire notebook full of lists, and I’ve probably only completed about a quarter of them! Maybe I just enjoy the process of list-making. I hope 2016 treats you well!

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  3. I like your approach of not making plans. I work a lot like you, where I prefer to get things done in a chunk. I’ve been trying to write in small increments, but some days I just can’t (for one reason or another). Have a wonderful new year.

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  4. I didn’t make a single resolution for this new year, nor did I even choose a focus word, which I sometimes do in lieu of resolutions. I guess if I had to say I had a plan, it is to do my best each day. That’s what seems to work best for me. I love my lists, but I’ll make them on a daily and weekly basis.

    Happy new year! All the best for a great 2016.

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  5. Good point! I think the best thing to do is set a daily goal. I try to write at least 250 words on my current WIP every day. Sometimes it’s more…but I always try to do at least that. If I miss a day, no biggie–I just go for it the next day. Those little bits add up over time and I’ve found the biggest benefit is that it keeps my story fresh in my mind.

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

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    1. Absolutely! I find that doing a little bit every day keeps me moving–even if it’s something small. Somedays I do more than others if the muse is really speaking to me. Here’s to throwing out schedules and doing what feels right!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. I do the same thing, actually. I could be working on one thing here, one thing there, but yet somehow in the end I manage to get it done. I think the important thing is figuring out what WORKS for you. Some people do very well with a rigid schedule. You shouldn’t try to force yourself to do something that doesn’t feel right, or you’ll just end up balking. We’re all different people–and different writers–and it’s okay if we don’t all have the same methods!

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  6. Hi and Happy New Year!
    I had to learn to stop beating on myself also. It hard to stop but I kept at it and now I keep a look out to see that I don’t start beating myself up again. I have learned to sit and write with my flow and it is truly a good feeling.
    Wishing you a very successful 2016.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just stop beating ourselves up and try to enjoy the process for a bit, just the way it is? I’m going to try hard to work on that. I’m glad you made it there!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Stop making plans IS a plan … haha (J/K I’m not trying to derail you!). It’s a good plan if goal setting doesn’t work for you.

    There’s a thing I did last year you might like. I prettied up an old jam jar and wrote any of my writing accomplishments on a scrap of paper and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, I could look back on what I’d done. Even the little things, like being asked to guest write a blog post. It showed me all these little things that led to where I am now. And fun! I heard it referred to as a Rememberance Jar; not sure if you can find more on that but another blogger told me about it. 🙂

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    1. Ha, fair point! 😉 I think this is a plan I can stick to, though.

      Ooooh…that’s a very good idea! It’s so easy to look back and forget things, or think they weren’t good enough (especially if you’re comparing yourself to other writers), but having an actual physical reminder is a very good idea. I’ve heard of people doing this for other stuff too, writing down everything good that happened to them or accomplishments they made during the year and then reading them back at the end. Thanks for this idea! I even have a jar I can use!

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    1. Same here! I try to give myself guidelines every year and I always end up straying away from them, so I think it’s time to cut out what doesn’t work. You know what they say about insanity–the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it can definitely happen–you think you’re doing something great for yourself, but in truth you’re just slowing yourself down and getting tangled up in a mess you created on your own. I’ll stop by and check out your thoughts!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. I think it will work a heck of a lot better for me. I think I do the opposite of encouraging myself when I make too many plans–I don’t want to do them, so I do nothing. Here’s to a new year of hanging on much more loosely!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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