Think, Plan, Do
Yesterday was World Thinking Day, which got me thinking! I thought about my process and how it helps me stay on top of my blog, my client work, and my social life. Though, admittedly, my social calendar isn’t all that full as we ride out this pandemic. But I wondered if there was some value in sharing my goal-setting process.
As simple as it sounds, it comes down to three basic steps:
And this process can be done for almost any goal. Let's use my latest novel project as an example. It’s still a WIP (work in progress) and has a long way to go, but using it as an example will help illustrate my points for you as well as help me continue to think about the project. So, away we go!
I started out with a vague idea based on a strange piece of information my sister and I came across while looking up genealogical records. It turned out to be nothing and unrelated to our family at all, but it gave us a brief what-if situation.
What if an adult child discovered that their father had been hiding a family secret her entire life? One that would shatter the very fabric of her reality? Sounds like a compelling story, right? But with just the germ of an idea, I needed to move on to the next step of the project.
Some people write in a “by the seat of their pants” method. There’s nothing wrong with this. Sometimes a story will simply reveal itself as you write it. I originally decided to skip the Plan stage and go direct to Do, which ended in two false starts. I realized I needed a little more structure. So, instead, I read up on the best ways to outline a story like mine and thought through all the components it would need to make a compelling novel.
I decided to use the Save The Cat method and found a novel outline template where I could jot down the ideas. There wasn’t much beyond “uncovering a family secret” so I needed to drill down a few aspects. I started with the theme of the book, then the characters, and the ending that I envisioned for them. Then I went through the specific aspects, such as:
- The opening scene
- The inciting event
- The external goal
- The antagonist
I filled out the template, knowing that a planning a novel
is fluid and I could change parts around at any point.
The final step was to simply do it. Luckily for me, I was going through this process just before November of last year. I had actually already written about 15% of the story, so I picked up where I left off and used the energy of National Novel Writing Month to keep me going. I didn’t finish it that month. In fact, I haven’t finished it yet, but I am about 75% of the way done.
You can tackle any sort of project like this:
- You have an idea to bake a cake
- You research recipes and decide which cake to bake
- You bake the cake
What project can you start with?