Planning Is A Waste Of Time… Or Is It?

Planning is a waste of time.  Seriously.  I mean, you can sit there and spend hours planning what you have to do, or you can forget planning and just do it.  I mean, if you start doing it now, then you’ll finish faster, right…?

Or wrong?

Working in the IT industry, I find it surprising how some management folks don’t take the time to understand the necessity of planning large IT projects.  Instead they feel insecure and threatened by the fact that nothing concrete is being produced and often hound employees on their progress, sometimes even cancelling the planning phase outright.  Every time, the outcome is the same: the team ends up with a less than perfect product who’se maintenance costs are now triple what they should have been.  Only because someone jumped the gun and wanted to see a product before it was properly thought out.

The same argument can be used when preparing to write a novel or short story.  Sure you can just jump in and start writing to your hearts desire, but if you don’t take the time to properly think of what you want to write, you risk running into problems like plot holes and writers block.  Then, before you know it, you’ll be running back and forth, editing already written chapters and trying to band-aid your way out of a chaotic storyline that wasn’t well thought out.  That’s not to say that some people can’t write a book without planning it first, but in general lack of planning will lead to an inferior plot, and your story runs the risk of turning into a mash up of different and seemingly random ideas.

So why am I blogging about this?

Well, I recently stumbled upon a podcast snipped of a woman named Dorothy Zemach.  In this 5 minute audio file, Ms. Zemach explains how her son learned to respect and use Process Writing when preparing a document, something he first thought was a waste of time.  The podcast is definitely worth the listen and does a very good job in demonstrating how most of us have the same knee-jerk reaction to planning as the manager in my example above.  In the end, however, if you take the time to plan your work, you’ll always be better off.

The podcast can be found here: Podcast Snippet.

NOTE: The blog article relating to the podcast can be found on Patricia Galien’s blog.

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