This first appeared as a post in Dec 2011 on The Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose blog.
I haven’t been around for a bit because things have gotten busy. Planning a move, change of roommates, getting out a new book, and much, much more I’ve probably repressed. In fact, I just started a new book, so this is a great time to talk about something we need to plan for as writers.
No, I don’t mean we should plan for everything, since we can’t (and as a Project Manager that bugs me, since it’s my job). I mean that now and then, you should have time where there is nothing planned in your life. Period.
Why? Beyond the possible advantages of sanity, it’s because we all need buffer time. To one extent or another we’re all lousy at planning.
Good, precise, planning is rare because life is big, crazy, and messy. No matter how much we want to structure it, we cannot.
On the other hand, good planning is necessary for success. We need to know that B follows A, we need to know how to make things happen, we need to get results. But we keep running into the issue of You Can’t Plan For Everything.
So what I’ve started doing is planning for Nothing.
Oh, sure I have some plans. But what I do is leave times where there’s nothing scheduled — not even recreation (I schedule that too, of course). It’s just a big blank time in my calendar.
That time gets filled, however, because I get interrupted, find things I forgot, need a break, or whatever. I know these things are coming — I just don’t know what they’ll be or where. So I’ve found leaving a buffer very helpful.
A buffer also removes the sense of guilt we get for not being able to plan everything. It acknowledges our limits and lets us get on with our work.
So far it’s helped me a great deal — I’m even more productive because when that buffer rolls around I can adapt to whatever my needs are. I’m not overplanned or overstructured, and the lack of pressure makes me more active.
Give it a shot and let me know how it works out.
Because now, I got a book to get back to….
Steven Savage in his own words:
I’m Steven Savage, and I am Geek 2.0.
OK … that sounds either pretentious or obscure, and I try not to be either too much. So what do I mean by Geek 2.0?
Geek 2.0 is a lifestyle. It’s about taking the geeky values of technology, knowledge, creativity, and media as far as possible. It’s a way of life – and a way of contributing to society.
I believe in taking Geekiness farther – into the next iteration, into 2.0.
Steven Savage is the author of the Fan to Pro blog and books (Unlocking Career Insights With Your Hobbies; Convention Career Connection; Focused Fandom: Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers; Focused Fandom: Fanart, Fanartists, and Careers; Inhuman Resources; and Progeek Rising), has his own web site, and incidentally is the mind behind the popular Seventh Sanctum site. He also writes for Nerd Caliber and Comics Bulletin.