When I was eleven years old I planned to be the lead guitarist in a rock band. I even took guitar lessons to further this endeavor and after one hot summer of practice in a stuffy room and lugging that instrument around, I decided to become a dancer. At sixteen I planned to be a lawyer--until I discovered how many years of school that entailed. At twenty-five, I married the man of my dreams and planned to have a Cinderella marriage...yeah, well, I'm almost certain even Cinderella has launched one or both glass slippers at Prince Charming's head by now.
We've all made plans. We've set goals and made inroads to bring those images to fruition. But what happens when those plans are derailed? When life happens? We're so focused on sunset beaches with Mai Tais in Palm Springs, that when we end up with sandboxes and Juicy-Juice in Philadelphia, we're thrown! Frustration and disillusionment can set in. So can anger.
One plan that has persisted through my many career changes and reality checks has been my dream of being a published author. I've always known I wanted to write romance and one day have my books on the bookstore shelves next to my favorite authors. Even that has detoured from my original vision. Though I now have a contract, it didn't come six years ago like I planned, I still work a full-time job and instead of my book being on the bookshelf, it's going to be available as an e-book. I've prayed on it and asked God, why? Why, when I wanted that back then you gave me this now? It's what I wanted, God, it just doesn't look like it. I've learned this. If I'd received the contract six years ago, I wouldn't have been ready for it. Professionally, emotionally and spiritually, I couldn't have handled it. In the years since I've discovered balance, improved my writing skills and have found a support system in RWA that I didn't have then. By working a full-time job and still writing, I'm learning discipline and time management. And though I didn't envision e-book, I'm excited about the possibilities it represents and the doors it opens. But, if my mind had remained closed to anything but "the plan", I would have missed relationships, lessons, opportunities and successes.
So, is a plan a good thing? Oh, yes. A plan is wonderful...as long as it's written in pencil.