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The best laid plans …

Penelope Trunk

I have been reading Penelope Trunk’s blog in my Google Reader feed for a while now. (If, like me, you get overwhelmed trying to keep up with a crowd of relevant blogs and websites, I highly recommend the Reader as a time saving technique – take a tour here.) Her blog, ostensibly about the intersections of work and life, reads more like an episodic soap opera. And I mean that in a good way. Over time I’ve learned about her mental health (she has Asperger’s Syndrome) and her love life (she married for the second time, to a farmer for whom she relocated to Wisconsin) as I’ve consulted posts on everything from how to blog to her business ideas for making morally responsible goat cheese.

In Penelope Trunk’s latest post she uses a relationship crisis between two Gen-Y types staying on her farm to helpfully remind us about the instability of plans. I am a maker of plans, but my implementation of my own plans seems haphazard. I then usually make a new plan and the cycle starts again. At the end of a conversation about the youngsters’ apparent breakup, she relates the Farmer saying that “people care more about their plans if they make the plan themselves”, and writes:

This seems true. It seems true for all plans. For all departures. For all entrances. And you can tell if it’s your own plan by how lost you feel. People who do their own plans feel lost most of the time. People who do other peoples’ plans feel on track most of the time.

I found this utterly reassuring. Working on someone else’s strategy seems so much easier than making and sticking to a plan I make for myself. People ask me for advice regularly on aspects of writing and getting published, and it’s a cinch for me to see what they should do. Far easier than for me to advise myself as my own client. Inevitably I’ll write a new plan as a result of Penelope’s post, but this time I’m going to try making it a little easier for myself to follow it. More frequent blogging, and a very rough draft of the new manuscript by the end of the northern summer, will be at the top.

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