Welcome to another round of Life List Club Fridays. Many of us are in the ho ho horror of the holiday stress load, and you should know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We’re all right there with ya! So if you’re struggling with your “big life plan” allow the wonderful Sonia Medeiros to help today! Then please pop over to the outrageous Jenny Hansen’s blog for my post about the 2012 To Be Read Pile Challenge! Reading is a great way to de-stress, so I think you’ll like this challenge. See you soon, but for now, here’s Sonia!
My Five Year Plan (Or Lack Thereof)
This is a little embarrassing for me to admit, being a Life List Club member and all but…I don’t have a five-year plan for writing and my one year plan seems to change all the time.
Truth is I’ve always struggled with setting long-term goals. Feels too much like getting tied down to one path. The pantser in me just can’t handle that. After all, there’s so many ways to get from A to B. Why spoil the fun of the discovery along the way?
But…I’ve also learned the value of plotting a story. Making an outline doesn’t lock me onto one path, it just gives me some guide posts along the way so I don’t get lost wandering around.
And ROW80 has taught me loads about setting reasonable goals. Because my previous MO was to set the bar way too high and then flip out when I couldn’t keep up. So I’ve learned to start small and adjust as needed. And that failing to meet a goal is not the end of the world but an opportunity to figure out why I failed and how to adjust the goal or my approach to it.
I’m flying along just fine with my writing goals week to week but, when it comes to planning out the next year or five, I choke.
I know where I fantasize about being in five years.
*begins daydreaming about seeing my name on the top of the NYT bestseller list, book signings, movie deals*
*comes back down to earth*
But figuring out how to get there? That’s where I come up short.
Part of it is that I’m not all that attached to fame and fortune. Oh sure, I wouldn’t toss ‘em out on their behinds but I don’t know if I need that to feel like a successful writer. Even if I had only a small readership…I think I’d still be pretty thrilled just to have folks reading my books.
But the biggest part seems to be that I just don’t know how long it takes me to actually finish a novel. I’m still working on my first. And, if I don’t know how long it takes me to write one novel, how can I know how many novels I can write in five years? Because I’m assuming I’ll need more than one book to build any kind of career as a novelist.
I know what I can do week-to-week. I can set a minimum number of scenes to write per week. And given the outline for my WIP, I can figure how many working days it might take me to finish a first draft.
But…my outline’s still not exactly right. The story’s evolved so much since I started writing it and it feels like there’s so much more I need to do (or maybe I just need to stop reading books on the writing craft because they keep sending me back to the drawing board). And no matter how many scenes I write, it feels like there’s so many more to do.
Then there’s the whole revising, beta reading and more revising.
My mind is shaking in its boots.
So maybe my fear of making a five-year plan really isn’t about the numbers at all. Maybe it’s just plain fear. Fear that I can’t cut it with this writing thing. That I can’t really finish a book after all. Fear that I’ve only got one book in me. Fear that even that one book is gonna suck. Fear that it won’t suck and I’ll have to not suck even more with the second one. And the third.
Hmmm…guess I better put on my big girl pants and make a five-year plan. Even if it means I have to revise the heck out of it each and every week.
What do you think? Have you got a five-year writing plan worked out? Were you able to figure it out before you finished your first book or are you still figuring it out? Did you have to battle any writing fears to make that five-year plan?
Sonia G Medeiros is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She’s the author of more than a dozen short stories and flash fiction pieces, blogs at WordPress, and is working on her first novel, a dark fantasy. When she’s not wandering along the tangled paths of her wild imagination, she wrangles home life with one fabulous husband, two amazing, homeschooled children, three dogs, one frog and two cats who battle each other for world domination.