Why Writers Should Remove “I Plan to…” From our Vocabularies

I have a lot of plans. You probably do as well. If you are like me, you probably have so many plans you don’t have time for them all.

Writing can often take a back seat. We’d love to get up in the morning but we have to get kids ready for school and head to work. We’d love to stay up late and pour into our stories but alas our free time is from 1159pm to 12am.

Prioritizing can be a major issue. But we all have the same amount of time as the great writers of old. Perhaps even more. We don’t have to go and fetch water from a well like some of them did.

My problem is psychological. All of my friends can stop laughing now, but I truly mean it. The reason for this is when I plan something, it’s like I have already done it. If you don’t believe me, see the Ted Talk below.

I agree with most of this, but telling a few trusted people (usually my writers group) is helpful for accountability’s sake.

From now on, I no longer “plan to” do anything. I will use the words “I am,” when talking about my projects. And, hopefully, this change of mind will help me know I am on a path to get somewhere and that means putting in the work to get there.


One Key Method To Finishing Drafts On Time

Ever have one of those days where a meeting creeps up on you? Or maybe you have a test and completely forgot? We all have.

Occasionally, I have this same feeling with writing. I open my word document and prepare to write and am shocked by the word count I find. Wait, I have how many words? Oh no. I think back through the week and realize I am way off track of my goal for a present draft.

I work in sales and I have to balance a lot of goals to meet corporate objectives. I’m a cog of the machine and if I do not perform we miss twenty percent of our potential. A lot rides on my foresight.

I don’t say this because I want you all to know that I am great at hitting goals but that I’ve had to grow to be aware of them over the last decade. It’d been foolish if I checked in on day one and then the last day of the month. I need to be aware of the pulse of everyday.

Calendar SwedishThis can be true for our writing too, especially if you have many obligations in your daily life to keep balanced. This is why I have set a reminder in my calendar to go off once a week that says – where are you compared to where you need to be at the end of this month?

It helps me keep perspective and change tactics if I am falling behind. Sometimes, I can relax a bit and settle into a pace. More than not, however, I need to start working harder.

If you have the sudden word count panic I wrote about above, maybe it’s time to set reminders throughout the month to keep track of your word count, blog, journal, or article goals? We’ll talk more about goal setting in the next post, but knowing where you are at today will help you build to where you want to go.

Write well. And write smart.