New Year’s Day is a holiday but does that mean it’s a day free of work? Not for me and maybe not for you. I have traditionally spent the days leading up to New Years reviewing, encapsulating and analyzing the outgoing year. That means pouring over the wall calendar and Day Timer to list all the completed projects and note all the planned and surprising accomplishments of the year. There’s nothing like watching that list grow with forgotten successes. It sets the stage for the new year and gives momentum to the birthing of new goals. Along the way I take note of those tasks and dreams that did not come to fruition. Are they things I want to carry into the new year? If so, what can I do to ensure their success?
I write the New Year in. It’s a long-standing tradition now. I like the idea of ushering in the new year doing that which I enjoy most and will spend most of my time doing. Focusing on my writing and on the project that makes up my main goal energizes my New Year intentions. Which means, of course, that last night I got in touch with my characters and spent several hours reconnecting with them and planning the next few scenes. But is that enough?
This past year I took lessons to become a dog trainer and have been mentored by a master dog and horse trainer with more than fifty years experience. He’s an old cowboy who loves what he does and who has a simple way of doing things. The main thing he’s drummed into me is that before I take the lead to work a dog I should already have a plan of what I’m going to do. I should review it in my mind, then grab the lead and work the plan.
You’ve heard it before. It’s not new. Napoleon Hill of Think and Grow Rich fame offered the plan-the-work work-the plan roadmap to success years ago. If that simple axiom can turn a fresh, young cowboy into a master horse and dog trainer, then it can make me—and you–a successful writer.
For me, that means I’ll be spending today working up my action plan to achieve my writing 2010 goals in all areas of my life. I’ll project out 5 years, then work back from there to 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months, and 1 month. I have simple goals and an overarching master plan so it won’t take long. The question is what will you be doing today?