I am considering changing my career and have gone back to the basics, which for me, is What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles (which, if you haven’t read it or it’s been awhile, go pick up the new version, it’s awesome). In the very first chapter, he writes about Hope and how to find it.
I think he’s right-on. You can read his book for his four keys to finding hope because they’re well worth reading – regardless of where you are on your career path. But for my purposes here, I wanted to highlight his first point: make sure you have at least two alternatives in every situation.
We’ve talked about this kind of mindset on Writer’s Retreat before. Darla’s Keeping the Faith and my own Power to the People are two recent examples. Writing is, by its nature, a solitary pursuit and it’s critical to keeping the fingers moving on the keyboard that we keep the right mindset. I don’t know if “right” is exactly the word I want, more likely it’s “effective” as in, “does what I’m doing work to keep me on the page?” If it does, great, if not, try something else. And that, Dear Reader, is where having alternatives comes in handy.
For example, let’s say we’re writing a story about Jake and Luke. Jake is a biker and Luke is a day trader. What happens if we make Jake a suburban cyclist instead? Or what if Luke is a child counselor? What if Luke is Lydia? What if they’re brother and sister, instead of a romantic partnership?
It makes sense from a battle standpoint, as well. There’s an old saying, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” How does a strategist prevail, then? By having a backup plan, contingency plan, whatever you want to call it. Figure it’s your Zombie Apocalypse Survival Plan. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it matters that you have it.
After all, having a plan to survive the apocalypse means you have to hope that you will survive the apocalypse, eh?
See why hope is so important?