July 12, 2020: Plan Bs- Clever or Cop-out?
This week I have been forced to re-examine my thoughts on Plan Bs.
What is a Plan B? It is our fall-back plan for when our first plan does not yield the results we want. It is what we turn to when we fail. We set up a new goal, and go on to our new plan- Plan B.
That is the way I used to view Plan Bs. And I used to believe that if you truly wanted your Plan A, you push forward and you persevered and you did not give up. My presentations during my School Author Visits often had this underlying lesson: Perseverance Pays Off. Do not waiver from your goal, even in the midst of rejection and failure. Just readjust and continue on. When I share my journey as an author with students, and tell them about the 7 year process (fraught with failure and rejection) to get my first novel published, that is the lesson I want them to hear.
When I present at Writer’s Conferences and get questions about when to give up and ‘just go with Plan B and self-publish’, my answer is always, NEVER. If you truly want to be traditionally published, do not let go of that dream. It is an attainable goal!
But this is where I think we need to clarify so we are all on the same page: Is the Plan B a new goal? Or is the Plan B a new strategy to get to the same goal?
This is a critical differentiation.
I have always worked with the assumption that a Plan B was setting up a new goal. That it was a cop-out if you really wanted something. This year of the pandemic, has caused me to question that assumption.
This has been a summer filled with Plan Bs for me. Because of Covid19, plans for the new school year have not been clear or specific yet. As a teacher, I spend a great deal of time over the summer working on organizing my units, my activities, and my lessons. This becomes problematic when you do not yet know if you will be teaching in a classroom or in a virtual setting. Thus, I am creating a Plan A and a Plan B.
As I did this though, I came to the realization that they were not different goals. My goal for both is obviously to nurture, guide, and support my students as they learn new material, concepts, and ideas. The plans are simply different pathways to get to the goal.
I have also spent the summer working on my Marketing Plan B for my books. Usually at this time of year I am putting together my fall schedule of conference presentations, school author visits, book signings, and other book festivals in which I can help to get my books into the hands of more readers. Clearly, this is not happening. Most face-to-face conferences have been cancelled, schools will most likely not allow outside visitors, and book stores are just not scheduling any book signings. My Plan B though, does not change my goal- I still want to get my books into more the hands of more readers. My Plan B will require adjusting my expectations and my strategies for accomplishing that goal.
So as we continue to move forward through this year of the pandemic, Plan Bs will take on a whole new importance. Do not let Covid19 destroy your goals, but embrace new pathways to reach them!