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Have You Started? – Visit With Roz
Writers' Tools

Have You Started?

How’s that writing project going? You remember, the one you resolved to begin: the essay, poem, song, novel, biography, picture book. Are you following your plan? Do you even have a plan?

I cannot overstate the importance of planning. A plan tells the story of your goal. Each step of the plan is a chapter filled with purpose and action. A well-prepared plan lights the way to your goal, step by step. It fosters development of necessary skills and habits. Your plan must be tight, legal, ethical and comport with your belief system and societal standards. Lax planning gives you an out when times get tough.

With a plan you eliminate guessing and confusion. First be clear about the reasons you adopted the goal. If you are ambivalent about your motives, you’ll not be motivated to persevere through the challenges. Make your plan flexible, because as you execute each step you’re poised to see additional opportunities or you may discover an unnecessary step that can be omitted.

Your plan can’t exist only in your head. Write it out and you can refer to it anytime. A written plan reveals patterns that help and patterns that are barriers to forward movement.

A valid plan is grounded by credible assumptions. These assumptions act like the concrete blocks that form the foundation of a building. Weak assumptions cannot support your efforts for goal fulfillment. The assumptions you rely on are effective only if they are undergirded with facts that reflect your life’s purpose and value system.

Think of your plan as a road map that takes you from starting point to destination. Imagine, you decide to drive from West Virginia to Oregon. You get on the nearest interstate not knowing whether it runs east to west or north to south. You have a fifty/fifty chance of reaching your destination. You may never reach Oregon. So it is with your writing project. Without a plan, success of your goal is elusive and will forever remain beyond your grasp.

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