Following a Plan for the Future

3 May


I have a long-range plan.

I really do, despite all appearances to the contrary.

The problem with a long-range plan, though, is the long-range part of it.  The goal is distant, which by definition means it is way out there, beyond the horizon, not to be accomplished anytime soon.

So it can be aggravating and, at times, annoying.

But still we truck forward!

When I decided to pursue my dreams of becoming a writer, I sat down and mapped out the journey.  I’m anal that way.  I write a long-range calendar, for lack of a better term….it includes writing goals, marketing goals, steps upon steps upon steps as I climb this ladder.

The good news is I’m right on plan.  The bad news is, at times, the struggle seems endless.


“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams

I really am right on schedule.  In five years I have written four-full-length novels, one non-fiction book and three novellas.  I continue to write articles and soon my first podcast will be offered for your listening pleasure.town_878

Sales are picking up on my books and I attribute that to a steadfast approach to keep cranking out books and building upon earlier successes and efforts.  Soon I’ll move on to the next stage, which will be an increase in public readings and book signings.  Now that I have a body of work I’m proud of, it’s time to take it to the people, in person.

And this fall I want to teach several creative courses.

I’ve done some of this in the past.  I need to do more of it.

So how about you?


Do you have a long-range plan?  If not, do you think you might benefit from one?


Do you really find creativity?

If you asked me forty years ago if I was creative I would have immediately said no and honestly, I wasn’t.  I showed no signs of the writer I have become today.  During the forty years that followed, though, I experienced life and I became more aware of life around me. town_881

Today I suspect creativity was in me long ago but it was dormant, a sleeping giant just waiting to erupt from me.  The time was finally right, five years ago, for me to write and release that creativity.  I don’t believe I found it.  I don’t know that I did anything special to find it.  It just happened when my muse allowed it to happen.

Don’t try to force creativity.  Allow it to happen.  Baby steps and willingness will go a long way.


Yes, a new Billy the Kid is being written as we speak.  Here’s a preview of that upcoming novella.

There’s a story that circulated around the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City when I was a teen.  You know, urban legend sort of shit, origin unknown, veracity questionable at best but still, it was worth taking note of.  The story was about Val Checkers, nickname for Valentino Agnelli, the Checkers for his love of the game, which he played with neighborhood kids daily in Central Park.  Peaceful setting at first glance but definitely deceiving.

The surname Agnelli means “timid person” in Italian but let me tell ya, there was nothing timid about Val Checkers when I knew him.  Val was a made man in the Italian Mafia, his area of expertise prostitution.  The Italians were splitting up the city with the Russians, Chinese, Jamaicans, Mexicans and a few other nationalities, all scraping out a living from illegal endeavors.  It was agreed, long ago, to work under a flag of truce rather than fight it out daily, and for the most part that truce still works today.

Anyway, the story goes there was a pimp, Fat Boy Jerome, who worked the area around West 179th, near High Bridge Park, just off of Amsterdam, and like any low-level pimp he had visions of grandeur, him thinking he was going to squeeze some extra fat from Valentino’s royalties and it would go unnoticed.   This went on for several months but, as any street rat in the Heights can tell you, eventually there are no secrets.  Val found out, to the surprise of no one because, well, Val had a thousand eyes and ears in the neighborhood, and he requested a meeting with Fat Boy.

Over the span of the next two weeks, every low-level pimp in the Heights received a package, delivered by UPS, and in that package was one of Jerome’s body parts and a checker.

I wasn’t there to witness it but I have no doubt it happened.town_877

Agnelli is one of those guys who always looked old.  He looked old twenty years ago when I ran numbers for his outfit, me being thirteen at the time, and he looked the same old last year when I saw him eating linguini at Momma’s Kitchen.  He has a peaceful face, a gentle face, a grandfatherly face, the kind of face you imagine at church bake sales, but get closer to that face and you’ll be forced, eventually, to look at his eyes, and one look at those eyes will tell you all you need to know about Val Checkers.

The eyes reflect his soul, dark pools with no reflection.




We had a new hatch of quail chicks last week, sixty total, all seemingly healthy, but five days after the hatch one of the babies died.  I held it while it was taking its last breaths and there was something very profound in that moment we shared.  If you don’t understand that you probably never will.

Life is precious!  We writers imitate life and bring ideas to life.

Pay attention to those special moments when life, and death, speak to you.


Call on my buddy Mike Friedman and he’ll fix you up at a reasonable cost.  You can find him by following this link.


It’s getting closer, I promise.  When I do finally post my first podcast it will be called, appropriately, The Writer’s Mailbag.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ll catch you down the road of life and at that time we’ll share more thoughts about life and writing.

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

13 Responses to “Following a Plan for the Future”

  1. Janine Huldie May 3, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    Love all your plans and honestly just happy to see an update on your blog here today. Happy Tuesday now Bill and enjoy the rest of the upcoming day still, too!!! 🙂

    • Billybuc May 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

      Thanks so much, Janine. I hope this week is all you wanted it to be.

  2. 1authorcygnetbrown May 3, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    As you know, I plan everything daily as well as long range. I also know what you’re talking about when you speak about sharing the last breath with that quail chick. I have done that with people and it is a humbling experience when you share the moment that another spirit crosses over.

    Best wishes regarding your books! I too have noticed an uptick of readers!

    • Billybuc May 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      Great news for both of us, Donna. Thanks for being here and best wishes in the future.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown May 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

        Best of luck to you with your latest book as well!

  3. marlenebertrand May 3, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    It is always good to read what you are up to at various stages of your writing career. You are really sticking to it in a way that makes a believer out of me. Having goals and planning make a big difference. As you know, I’m moving. In the process of packing and trashing I came across some old planners that I scribbled in. At first I hesitated to open the planners to see what my past goals were – afraid of discovering I had missed the mark by a mile. Imagine my surprise to discover that all but one of my goals were met. The goal that hasn’t been met right now is the actual income I thought would follow the meeting of such goals. I’m still happy because at least I accomplished something that I set out to do. And you are so right about the precious nature of life.

    • Billybuc May 3, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

      Marlene, that is so cool that you met those goals. The money will come eventually…or not! LOL At least you are happy. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, and good luck with that moving.

  4. Cynthia May 4, 2016 at 12:26 am #

    Love the idea of a podcast and you know, it was so interesting that you mentioned being a fiction writer. With long term plans. And yes, I find myself much more gravitated toward non-fiction. With long-term plans. (And shorter-term ones meaning I have to make a living doing non-writing, non-creative, non-autonomous things.) But yes, the hard part is not deviating. Thank you for the gentle reminder that it’s all a process. 🙂 Hope you’re well, my friend. Sending hugs!

    • Billybuc May 4, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Hey Lil Sis…a process for sure. At times a long, long process. Even my patience with it is tried at times. Sigh…I want success now!!!!!

  5. phoenix2327 May 5, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    I agree that having a long-range plan in place can help you achieve your goals, however, it’s important to remember that it’s not etched in stone. Life will do what it will do so be ready to make the occasional detour. As long as you return to the main highway after, there’s no need to stress over it.

    • Billybuc May 5, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

      No stress at all, Zulma, not in my little corner of Olympia, Washington, but your message is right on….small detours are normal, as long as you return once the road maintenance is cleared. 🙂 Thanks as always!

  6. Melanie May 8, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    Wow, Bill…. there is just no stopping you 🙂 Congrats on your five-year plan and all your success thus far; you are an inspiration like no other. It’s really so inspirational to see all that you’ve accomplished in just a few years. I am so grateful for that time I had working from home, when I could plan and map out all sorts of ambitious writing goals One thing I’ve come to realise about myself (finally), is that I change my mind often. I get bored quickly, so whatever extra writing / creative thing I do outside working hours better be fun and flexible. So far, I’m enjoying this side passion project of blogging on Karuka.

    Good luck with the writing week ahead and I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend my friend. 🙂

    • Billybuc May 8, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

      Thank you Mel! You and Bev would get along very well, changing your minds, finding new interests….she and I are exact opposites in that way.

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