Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Planning and Bullshit

I suppose that one of the aims of my 16 Week Challenge is to make writers aware of the effect that the combination of poor planning and bullshit excuses has on their writing processes. Those who submit to the discipline of the Challenge, especially those who make the weekly reports, are in most cases forced to admit that their planning is inadequate or their excuses are implausible. Sometimes both.

In fact, the reason I defend the dignity of planning is that it is all too easy to say that all plans are illusory, that they presume an "ideal" world. What this forgets is that plans can be more or less realistic, and that a good plan will correctly anticipate the conditions under which the work will have to be done. A good plan will also allow you to get down to the business of writing, confident that other tasks will be taken care of later.

Too often, the excuse only seems plausible if we politely avoid assigning you responsibility for planning your work. That is not to say that you won't sometimes have a good excuse for not writing. But where planning has been completely abandoned, or where "any old plan" has been assumed to "do", the writing process is likely to be abandoned too. Any old reason not to write will be found to be adequate.

Once you've resolved to do a particular amount of work in a particular allotment of time, the real reasons you are not writing enough will become obvious.

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