A Schedule Isn’t A Personality

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.My next book, “Think Agile, Write Better,” is about changing how we writers think about work.  There are many writing systems out there (even Agile ones), but they don’t always change your mindset.  Ticking off check boxes and statuses doesn’t mean you grow.

While outlining the book, my mind turned to the subject of schedules.  Many writers have schedules – and folks like me make them professionally.  But as an Agilist, I know sometimes schedules don’t work, and we cling to them anyway.  Suddenly the words “A Schedule Isn’t a Personality” leapt into my mind, and then into this blog post.

Why do some of we writers get so obsessed with schedules?  Why does it become part of us even when it doesn’t work or drives us crazy, becoming some kind of graven image of times and events?  Why do we obsess about schedules to our detriment?

First, I think schedules give a sense of control.  We have an idea of what to do, when to do it, and what will happen.  This ignores the unpredictable nature of creativity, life, and the world (especially as of late).  The control is often an addictive illusion.

Secondly, I think schedules are things we expect.  Everyone else has a plan.  We have schedules at work and at home.  They’re supposed to be there, right?  So we create them even if they don’t need to exist (or be that tight).

Third, I think we want a schedule due to social pressure.  Some authors have tight release dates and schedules, so shouldn’t we?  Someone else expressed a plan, and we feel we should have one too.  We’re not authors if we don’t do this, right?  We ignore that every creator is different.

Fourth, we do it as we were taught to do so.  We’re following some writing system we adopted, or because our parents influenced us.  Scheduling can become a habit (trust me, I know) even if it serves nothing.

We make schedules for many reasons, but not out of some deep motivation, need or reason.  This is why so many self-created schedules can be frustrating because we think they’re important but don’t care about them.  I’m all for scheduling, but not a schedule as self-abuse.

So don’t let a schedule overtake you.  Make one because you really want to and for your own reasons.  Even me, the Project Manager, know there’s times not to make them.

Steven Savage