The adaptability of plans

I like planning things. I like planning way ahead. I like planning for things that may never happen. Right now, I’m planning what to do with a sloped back yard with two large oak trees in it. Not a lot grows under oak trees.

Right now, there’s no guarantee we’ll get the house we’ve bid on. They’ve accepted our offer, but there’s still the appraisal and inspection, and the loan application and approval. Still a lot of steps where things could go wrong. But we’re hopeful, and there’s no harm in thinking ahead to the Encore azaleas and hydrangeas that should thrive in the shady location and acidic soil. Some people think of this as counting chickens before they’re hatched, but there’s an important thing the people who say this overlook.

If you put eggs in an incubator, you’d darn well better be prepared to have every egg hatch.

Just as you always prepare more food than you think you’ll need when you’re having a party, you should plan as if everything you do will result in something. Don’t count on failure–Luck, including bad luck, is not an acceptable replacement for a plan.

No one is saying you should go take out a ridiculous mortgage because you think you might get a good job. You don’t know that you’ll get it. Don’t make your plans contingent on the fruition of other plans or intentions.

But don’t dismiss the importance of budgeting for new clothes in case you do get that job. If you don’t, no harm, no foul–you just no longer have a reason to set aside those pennies.

Plans should all be like that. I treat my writing plans the same way–they’re something I intend to work out a certain way, that I hope will work a certain way, that will result in the best possible outcome if it does. And if it doesn’t, you make a new plan.

Planner, journal, work, and breakfast

The important thing about planning anything is going in with the knowledge that plans can, do, and will change. I outlined an entire year of writing before the year began. Before I knew we would be spending the first month or two of the new year looking for a new house and packing everything to move. Had I known these things would happen, I would have planned differently. I definitely would have given myself longer to do things. But I didn’t know, so I didn’t plan that way, and now I’m doing the best I can to stick with the current plan until the dust settles. We’re only two weeks into January. It’s much too early to reevaluate. After all, I don’t know how long it will take me to catch up.

So far, I’ve hit two major problems with my plans for the year. My plan for daily writing is working out okay. My word counts are okay, too. But Spectrum Blade is going to be longer than I initially thought, so writing 20k words this month, 20k next month, and wrapping up in March isn’t going to cut it. Realistically, the book probably needs another 55-60k words from this point onward, so I probably won’t finish it until the end of March… which pushed back the second book in the series. But I’ll adapt that plan when I get to the end of the book.

The other catch is that all the home improvement and packing and house shopping ate up most of my time, so I’m behind in practically everything. The first thing to get cut? Editing. So while I’m two weeks in and planned to be halfway done with the edit of Serpent’s Tears by now, I’m still in the process of rewriting the first chapter. I went ahead and edited the second chapter, because that helped me gain my bearings and showed me what information could be pushed from the introductory chapter to the next. But with the deep level of rewriting I think the book needs, I probably won’t finish edits by mid-February, meaning I’m already off track on both writing projects.

Oh well.

They take the time they take. Once I hit the end of these books, I’ll see where I am on my calendar and adjust appropriately. I may finish 2019 with seven finished books instead of nine, but that hardly seems like a bad thing. How often do authors finish seven books in a single year? Independent authors have changed a lot of things, but generally speaking, most readers still only expect one title from an author in a calendar year. If I work faster than that, then awesome.

Except for the part where they sit on my hard drive and don’t go anywhere.

Working on that, too.

Word counts for this week:
Monday: 871
Tuesday: 806
Wednesday: 681
Thursday: 759
Friday: 841
Saturday: 611
Sunday: 764

Total: 5,333

Editing progress this week:
Chapter 2
1 page of chapter 1

Looks like I still have a lot of work to do.

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