The Plan

The plan keeps coming up again

And the plan means nothing stays the same

But the plan won’t accomplish anything

If it’s not implemented

– Built to Spill, “The Plan”

Coming downhill from the park, my dog Rosie pulling me along at a fair sprint, Doug Martsch’s lyrics and raw, wry guitars blasted in and said exactly what my anxious, thumping heart has been saying these past several weeks. Sure, you have a plan! You’re going to write like you’ve always wanted to write! Your whole career has been building connections and editing other people’s writing, but ever since you were a little kid sitting on phone books in typing class (true story), you’ve wanted to Be A Writer. And lo and behold—the plan, laid out in project management systems, documented in Google spreadsheets, researched, budgeted. Still the heart comes in with its simple terror:

But the plan won’t accomplish anything

If it’s not implemented

My particular brand of anxiety has always manifested itself as paralysis. If you don’t know what to do, do something, and maybe you can work your way around to confronting the work you’re scared of.

I just wrote that, and then sat perfectly still. Terrified.

If I’ve been working toward this my whole life, why does it feel like I’m starting over? I’ve been working remotely for almost a decade now, and I know how to motivate myself to meet other people’s deadlines. How about my own? This struggle, I find, is common to the caregiver set, used to putting others’ needs ahead of her own to such an extent that personal goals are relegated to well-meaning list-making at the end of the day, tapping out resolutions in Evernote between sips of box wine. Geez, even the pathetic vision that presents is a good enough reason to get going and make some things happen.

There. I said so. It’s good to get that out in the open. Now I’m going to open the draft of that essay that’s dogged me all week. Pinky swear.