I can’t help being amused by the turn, in Faith’s comments, toward visualization as a tool for developing one’s skills, one’s career plan, one’s…whatever.
This is because I don’t visualize. It wasn’t until a handful of years ago that I learned people see pictures in their heads. I don’t. (I wrote a whole post about this a while back.) So I find the phrase kind of amusing, particularly since I don’t think anybody who knows me could, er, accuse me of a lack of vision for my career, as it were.
I call it planning, myself, perhaps because this also takes into account the phrase, “Man plans, God laughs,” of which I am particularly fond.
I tend to have five year plans. Back in 2002 when I first decided to actively pursue publication, I had a five year plan. It wasn’t, mind you, a very *specific* plan. It was, “Get a contract within 3 years, get a book on the shelf within 5 years.” As it happened, that plan worked very well. I had my first contract in 14 months, and by the time that five year plan was up in late 2007 I had eight books out.
Another of my five year plans was to acquire a certain amount of CE Murphy shelf space (3 of my books were published under the name Cate Dermody, so I can’t count everything I’ve written to that shelf space). The specifics of that goal were ten CE Murphy books on the shelves–which, four and a smidge years after my first book came out, I’ve now got (though the WINTER MOON anthologies is, I think, most often shelved with Mercedes Lackey, and not CE Murphy). I’ll have another novel and two-maybe-three anthologies on the shelves by the time the five years is up.
The “Take A Chance” comic project has been another five year plan, though it wasn’t precisely conceived that way. Still, from inception to final publication, that’s how long it’s taken. These aren’t fast-moving goals, by any stretch: career moves rarely are. One does not generally begin as the CEO of the corporation.
They are, though, concurrent, not consecutive: that to me would be counterproductive. Some of them have gone spectacularly wrong in their own special ways (which I’ll talk more about someday). There are other plans currently in development, obviously–things like getting my name out there, reaching bestseller lists, branching into new genres–so it’s never a static situation. It can’t be: Man plans, God laughs.
And I suppose my response to that is: God laughs, Man adapts–because that’s what you do with any career plan. You adjust, you try new things, and you keep shooting for the stars if that’s where you want to be.
I’ll let you know how it’s going in another five years.