Sunday, September 2, 2018
Being the Yoda of Long-Term Planning
I suppose I'm a planner. After all, I am dubbed the Spreadsheet Queen for a reason. I have my writing schedule more or less blocked out through 2020 - though some of that is because I have traditional publishing contracts for books releasing in 2021. Traditional publishing really forces you into the long game, at least five-years out, which I know in many industries barely counts as mid-term planning. Also, because trad publishing is so slow and plans so far out, getting books in that pipeline requires looking ahead a couple of years on top of that. I wrote about this artful juggle back in April. I'd like to get better at this kind of planning with my self-published work, but so far that tends to be short-term to spontaneous.
All in all, I'd say I do a lot of short-term and mid-term (3-5 years out) planning. Longer than that? I don't so much.
Oh sure, I've learned how I'm supposed to. I used to work in corporate America and participated in those strategic planning sessions. I understand how the Japanese plan for centuries out, or however that saw goes.
It just doesn't really work for me. When I think about it, I just hear Yoda in my head.
Some of the best things that have happened came out of the blue. I'm Taoist enough to be perfectly fine with the universe bestowing its blessings in its own time.
All that said, the very best thing I have done and continue to do for my mid- and long-term planning is to track how I work. I'm a believer in the concept that the structure of an hour becomes the structure of the day becomes the structure of the week, month, year, and lifetime.
Along those lines I recently initiated two efforts: tracking my individual writing sessions each day and using a tracker for different activities throughout the day.
To track my activities through the day, I recently purchased a Timeular from Zei. That's it in the top photo above. I've only been using it for less than a week, so I'm holding out on the verdict, but so far I'm not in love. I'm not sure their definition of productivity matches mine. Also, I moved to using the app on my phone instead of the dongle on my laptop, because running the dongle/tracking program kept stalling my Word every few minutes. When I'm in the middle of a writing flow, getting that 30-second spinning wheel of NOT RESPONDING got to be infuriating. So, we'll see.
Overall that's more to illuminate how I spend my time outside of actual writing, to maybe pare down non-productive activities. To do that I might have to drill down to more than eight categories, however.
It will be interesting to see how the next twenty years play out!
Labels: Jeffe Kennedy, long-term series, long-tern planning, mid-term planning, planning for future work, self-publishing, short-term planning, Spreadsheet Queen, spreadsheets, Timeular, traditional publishing
Jeffe Kennedy is a multi-award-winning and best-selling author of romantic fantasy. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC). She is best known for her RITA® Award-winning novel, The Pages of the Mind, the recent trilogy, The Forgotten Empires, and the wildly popular, Dark Wizard. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.