On the best laid plans …

“Fail to plan, plan to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

“A goal without a plan is just a wish!” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” Winston Churchill

I could go on but I’ll spare us both! You’ve undoubtedly heard all the usual maxims about planning and sure, it’s important, kind of, but as my dad reminded me a couple of weeks ago in church “no plan survives enemy contact!”

A couple of days ago I was complaining to myself in my morning pages that the non-fiction book was pretty tough going. I decided I needed a plan. (Or a better plan than the one I had at least!) The structure of the book is based on thirty days of content so I wondered if maybe I should organise what each day would cover before I wrote any more. That sounded like a very fine and sensible plan I decided.

But then in the very next sentence I realised something. Since I’m writing one every day and editing the whole lot before publication, what’s to stop me writing what pops in my head each day and then jiggling the order around to suit the structure after all 30 are written? Surely that would be much more in keeping with my process and, since no-one would read any of it until I was done, it wouldn’t harm the reading experience.

Boom! Immediately all the pressure I’d been feeling was gone. (Well, mostly. I still have to write the darn thing – more on that tomorrow!) But by creating in a way that matched who I am, it was much easier than trying to fit it into the ‘correct’ way of doing it as prescribed by an expert.

And that’s when it struck me … This doesn’t only apply to writing a book, it totally applies to how we do life.

How often do we plan and prepare and brainstorm our way through situations when, ultimately, we simply have to go with it, recognising who we are and the way we personally operate?

We do things the very best we can, within the remit of us being us.

You and I don’t have to play this game the same way as everyone else. When it comes to playing at life, who says we can’t improvise and play the tune in our heads? After all, it’s the differences in the harmony that have the power to make really beautiful music.

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