I should have known my previous post would waken snow gods from their slumber. (See Mr. Blue Sky-san for what probably upset them.)
Tokyo gets a dusting of snow each winter and a proper pasting (more than 10 cm, or 4 inches) every five years or so.
Today was that day.
Fortunately, I stayed at home and was thus spared the worst of joining waves of company workers seeking to get home early en masse just as many train operators were busy scaling back their services because of the worsening weather.
And so, in between attending to the needs of the canine Queen of Sheba (photo below by her royal permission, ha!), I drafted my fiction writing goals for 2019.
That‘s right. 2019. Two years out. Because twenty four months allows me time to implement a plan that has room to breathe and expand with both the passing of time and changing circumstances.
I am a great believer in the power of goal-setting backed up with commitment through habits.
In fact, ‘following through‘ is that holy grail of achievement (in my experience) because very little of merit ever gets done without it. And that’s why many earlier posts on this blog (from when I was focussed more on mid-career change and personal development) dealt with not only goals but on taking action.)
I am now applying that very same approach to the ‘fiction writer‘ role that makes up a portion of my identity. It goes like this:
- Create the goals on a top-down basis using the ‘One-Page Business Plan‘
- Apply the ‘15 and Forgiveness‘ concept to getting tasks done.
- Monitor and review on a regular basis.
The link in the first bullet point above is to a 2012 post I made about Jim Horan’s wonderful one page business plan method and gives an insight into my thinking from six years ago.
Reading it again, what strikes me most is the bottom-up approach I adopted to devise goals in the first place. It made sense at the time because various freelance writing projects were already in place from previous years. Still, I realize now that these goals (tasks) were not well-aligned with the plan’s four higher levels of strategies, objectives, mission and vision. And this resulted in a degree of unwanted and unnecessary friction (or ‘resistance’, as Steven Pressfield explains so well in ‘The War of Art’) between plans and their execution.
This time my approach began from the top level of ‘Vision.’
Why the change?
Well, for one thing, Jim Horan’s book espouses top-down planning (if my memory serves me right.) And ever since I became aware of the indie self-publishing ‘movement’ my own vision’s been clear on what I want for a few years now.
No, what gave me pause for thought arose from uncovering the deeply personal nature of my mission statement. You see, in the corporate world, mission statements remain popular with senior managers but they often find it difficult to get ‘buy-in’ from rank-and-file employees who have had little or no say in their creation.
That whiff of cynicism’s not too hard to grasp, is it? Not for me. Especially when I recall that many companies are run by economic necessity as little more than ‘benevolent dictatorships.’
However, every creative cloud has its silver lining and in grappling with my own ‘creativity mission’ I can now better understand what keeps many executives unsure of their subordinates’ actions and motivations. It comes down to this:
An effective mission statement comes first from the heart else the result is little more than worthless BS.
In other words, I spent time alone to answer this fundamental question – “why write?” The outcome’s shown below and I’m very pleased with what emerged:
Rediscovering the wonder of life, reality and worlds unknown through story.
Of course, I am indeed writing in the hope of finding readers. Lots of readers. That’s what I think many writers dream of too. But, in addition to earning external acceptance from ‘fans’, I am also writing for an aspect of myself that has way more questions than answers. Many of these puzzles show up in the guise of utter astonishment at the complexity and wonder of the physical world.
That’s the ‘science’ component.
It looks like the fiction then is all about a blizzard of rediscovering.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.