It’s a simple enough question but I wonder how many of us have actually stopped long enough to ask ourselves where we want to be in five years? Not me, that’s for sure. Where other people have “careers”, I seem to have been “careering”. Think of a car with no one at the wheel – that’s me.
But yesterday, I bumped into an old friend, Kath Morgan, co-founder of the Writing Retreat. She had a great story to tell. Not only is the retreat going from strength to strength, with places booking up fast for residential courses featuring guest speakers like Patrick Gale and Emily Barr, but – and here’s the thing – she also knows where she and her business partner aim to be in five years.
Five years! I’ve never thought further ahead than the next five minutes. Which leads me to my next point. I’ve been lucky. I never set out to be a writer, it just happened. I didn’t mean to write a book, I just did. I only entered the Bath Novel Award because a friend suggested it.
I came second! And I put that down to hard work and lots of it. The question I keep asking myself is, how much more could I have achieved over the last five years, if I’d had a plan?
Man plans and God laughs
I think it’s an old Jewish saying, that man plans and God laughs – and I think it’s right to a point. But then again, if you never make a plan, the one thing you can be sure of is that your dreams are unlikely to come true. At least if you plan ahead there’s a chance, you’ll end up somewhere close.
Take my friend Captain Jim (Jaaarrrrrr), who lives in New Zealand. He and his wife decided to build a boat from some trees cut down on a nearby island. They had the planks milled, and they did use a drill press, but apart from that, they designed and built their yacht by hand.
It took them ten years. But what a boat! their experience is proof positive that effort in a direction produces results.
Needless to say, I’m not going to be drifting through the next five years (I’m thinking trilogy). So what’s your plan?