What’s that you say? Where are we going? How will we get there?
I’m glad you asked, because we need to do a little planning before we put the key in the ignition and back out of the driveway. Last summer, our family took a trip to Branson, Missouri. That was our destination. Now, the route we took? That involved much debate and cross-referencing the GPS and Mapquest driving directions to see if the shortest route was also the fastest. And if someone’s too cheap to pay for a toll road, is there a backroads way to save a few bucks that won’t drive their wife crazy?
Er, forget I wrote that. Back to the topic. It’s a good idea to have a plan before you start. (Not that the plan won’t change along the way when you run into road construction or bad weather or see a sign for the Fick museum that would make the perfect backdrop for this year’s family Christmas card photo.)
In addition to charting your path, you might also make a few reservations in advance. Like booking your hotel or trading in the timeshare condo. Buying tickets for a show or theme park.Whatever the journey, it helps to have a destination in mind and a plan to get there.
When my daughter was first diagnosed with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS), one big goal we had was for Anna to be able to communicate her needs. Destination – communication. To get there, speech therapists and teachers (and me) began working on small goals like imitation of behaviors, imitation of sounds, pointing at a picture to make a choice between two objects or activities, a few basic signs, etc. as the planned route to our destination. Along the way, we booked countless appointments with therapists. (Note: I think the new goal is communication without whining, tattling, complaining, or the bossing around of siblings and parents.)
As a writer, my destination is publication for my novel. To get there I’m taking writing courses, writing, working with a critique group, rewriting, reading writing craft books, editing, entering contests, pitching at conferences, and sending queries and proposals. I’ve booked myself into writer’s conferences and writers’ group meetings.
I’m in the middle of plotting my next book. I know where my main character starts the story and I have a destination in mind for the ending. Now, all I need is to figure out how to get from here to there. (And for my writing friend followers, even seat-of-the-pants writers usually have a vague idea of the destination.)
What about you? Do you have a destination (goal)? Where is this journey taking you? Do you have a route planned?