A New Five Year Plan

I LOVE the smell of plot breakthroughs in the morning!  Especially a MONDAY morning.  How often does THAT happen?  Of course now that the outline tweakage is finished, I’m starting to crash and wish I had another cuppa tea…  But win some, lose some.

I had a marvelously productive and low-key (mentally anyway) weekend.  Lots and lots of cooking (OMG the carne asada was TO DIE FOR).  Some Alias.  Some Supernatural.  Some roller derby (as observer, not participant).  Considering that my weekends for the next…three weeks? are jam packed, this was a nice calm before the storm.

I’ve been thinking a lot about goals lately.  I mean, it’s a logical thing.  I talk about them all the time at A Round of Words in 80 Days, trying to encourage people to set good ones.  My British chum Mhairi Simpson pointed me to a marvelous acronym for what I’m preaching over the weekend:  SMART

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Realistic

  • Timely

With most things, I’m pretty good at meeting these criteria.  It was part of my training in behavioral modification therapy back in grad school.  I’m great at setting these kinds of things short term, and I absolutely recognize the value in adjusting as needed.  But sometimes I don’t remember to adjust my long term goals–or at least the timeline I give myself to achieve them.  Hence last week’s freak out and my mental reboot.

When it comes to my long term goal–quit my jobs to be a full time writer–I tend to be very all or nothing.  It’s very very easy to see all the obstacles to that goal–just check out the number of pingbacks and comments of other women authors who’ve had their careers derailed by family.  So my fears, in that sense, are very rational.  Kids are a time suck.  This is a True Thing, whether you think they’re worth the sacrifice or not.  And that fact makes my goal feel very UNattainable, at least on the timeframe I want, because the two seem largely mutually exclusive.

So I came up with a new five year plan.  I’m not sure if this is an alteration of my existing five year plan (which would actually be more like a 3 year plan by now), or a new one starting from now.  Depends on a lot of factors out of my control.  But either way, I aim, in five years, to be down to working half time.  I’d still be doing the online teaching because other than grading once or twice a week and fielding email, it’s not that much of a time suck for the income unless I’m writing a new class.  But the amount I’d have to bring in via my writing to do that for my primary job absolutely IS within my grasp in that timeframe.  Half time at my current job is totally doable, and I know my boss would rather have me half time than not at all (the bonus of making oneself totally indispensable at work).  That would mean up in the morning, kid to day care, write my ass off until lunch (before my brain gets cluttered with Other Things), then go to work, pick up kid, fix dinner, do family thing, probably fall asleep at 8:30. Presumably exercise would fit in there somewhere.  That’s doable.  Not ideal, but doable.

That gives me hope.  Hope keeps me sane.  And they all said “AMEN!”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a book to write.

9 thoughts on “A New Five Year Plan

  1. Yay for the new plan!! Flexibility is a good idea with plans. You never know what’s going to change. Pity they couldn’t fit F into SMART instead of the A. Or maybe the R. SMAFT works. Just about :S

    Still, YAY for the new plan!! Pompoms!! Confetti!! WOOT!!

  2. I agree – flexibility is key. But so is recognition that small tasks, executed regularly have the biggest impact.

    It’s why I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and seeing the benefits of using Seth Godin’s new “Pick Four” which is an update from Zig Ziglar’s Pick Six book. Zig Ziglar is a popular motivational speaker. I thought that term was a joke (like “military intelligence” or “anti-spending congressperson”) until I heard just a few minutes of his audio books.

    Nutshell – you write down 4 goals you want to work on over next 12 weeks. Where a week is 5 days – Monday through Friday. Each day you write down the goal, what you did on it (and NOTHING is an acceptable answer) and whether you think it’s enough or not to do for that day.

    At end of each week you reflect what worked, what didin’t work and what to do next.

    The idea being that after 12 weeks – you can look back and see you accomplished a lot though it probably didn’t feel like it.

    I’ve found it helpful for certain things that I wanted to do (like my exercise program, inspired by your GIT posts). And realizing how low “organizing the office” is on the totem pole.

    Keep up the writing. The only books that are guaranteed not to be sold are the ones you don’t write.


  3. Fantastic on goal setting. I think any plan, whether for a week, a year, or a long-term 5 year has to be flexible and requires continual tweaking and updating because we, as human beings, are in a constant state of flux, change, and growth – your plan needs to grow with you. Not box you in but give you wings…

  4. You totally have it together and the right attitude. I think it’s important to look at those longer range goals..I think I may just do this myself. It’s time. 🙂


    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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