Writing – taking stock and moving forward.

Marble Head Sculpture in Cartagena, Spain - Wayne Kelly
Marble Head Sculpture in Cartagena, Spain – Wayne Kelly

It’s been a few weeks since my last post – I had a manic time at work, followed by a fantastic two week holiday. Now I’m back, refreshed, recharged and ready to write.

Actually, I was ready to write after only a few days away, and I began a brand new short story whilst holidaying in Spain. The story seemed to appear, fully formed from nowhere, but was no doubt inspired by the sand, sun and sea all around me. It’s called ‘Beach Hut Monsters’ and is quite a departure from the stuff I have written of late, being firmly in the action/horror/suspense genre. I have almost reached the end of the first draft and it’s coming in at around 5,000 words. I’m hoping to get the word count down with subsequent edits.

It has been great to work on something new and to recharge my creative batteries. I was feeling fatigued and jaded before my holiday, but time out has allowed me to take stock and set some new writing goals. It was only with hindsight that I realised I currently have a number of stories that are near completion, but need to be finished ready for submission. These are:

Life of an Artist – During a book signing a successful children’s writer is confronted by a mysterious man from her past, transporting her back to a cold, dark and rainy night on a railway bridge when she was ready to take her own life. The story needs quite a bit of editing before being ready for submission.

The Autumn Anecdote – Two aging musicians reunite for one last night of glory at the local pub. Will they be ready for their final performance? Will their patience and aching bodies hold out? This story just needs a few more edits and a tweak to one of the main scenes, but will then be ready to go.

When Your Number’s Up – Doris can’t believe her luck when she wins the strange automated bingo calling robot, ‘Willy Balls’. However, she soon discovers that Willy isn’t quite the model house guest that she expected. This is very nearly ready to go – just a couple of edits and it will be ready for submission. If possible, I’m looking for a bingo themed short story competition.

Beach Hut Monsters – My current WIP. 3 adults and 2 children find themselves trapped in a beach hut on a secluded coastline, surrounded by terrifying creatures that have emerged from the sea. But are the real monsters inside or outside of the hut? I am nearing the end of the first draft, so there will be a couple more drafts before I’m ready to do anything with this one.

As well as the above, I also have a number of flash fiction pieces (many of which can be found on my blog) some of which I would like to enter in online competitions.

My aim is to finish all of the above, and submit at least one of them. Then, and only then, will I return to finish the first draft of my novel, ‘Let Sleeping Gods Lie’.

Time away from ‘real life’ can enable you to step back and put things in to perspective. It was only with this perspective that I could see that I was frantically moving from one project to the next without properly finishing anything. So my new goals are based around working on one piece, finishing it, and then moving on to the next. I’ll keep you posted with my progress.

How about you? Do you find it difficult to set goals and stick to them? What works best for you? I would love to hear your thoughts below, so please comment, subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter.

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13 thoughts on “Writing – taking stock and moving forward.

  1. Love the sound of all your short stories!

    I am definitely one for trying to do to much and then get bogged down with it. However, my writing is the one thing I have always been pretty organised about. I have my goals and although my timeframes change as I go along because of unforeseen events elsewhere in my life I still manage to keep on track. I have also forbidden myself for working on anything else while I finish my book despite the short story ideas roaming around in my head and on abandoned notebooks.

    1. Hi Natalie. Nice to hear from you. Yes, you definitely have the right approach. I have to admit I made the same promise with myself back in May, but I really was floundering and my writing was suffering as a result, so now my plan is to fully unplug from the novel until I have cleared the decks of current stuff . . . Then get back to the novel. I mean it. I really do.

  2. Sounds like a good plan to me!

    I set goals, and mostly I achieve them, sometimes ‘real’ life takes over and I get frustrated, but in the main, if I don’t have a plan I get very little done. Writing it down makes me productive and motivates me.

    I’m about to embark on a new set of goals up until the end of 2013, and I’m thinking of going back to basics, like prioritising the time I can write in a diary, and keeping a simple spreadsheet log of what I get done. Having good writing buddies around is also a great motivator.

    Good luck with your goals…exciting times ahead.

    1. Yes, I agree, planning is definitely key to achieving anything. Write it down, make it happen. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about your progress.

  3. I go with the flow. I write when I want to and do other things when I want to. I have goals which I may or may not reach. Often the distractions are new creations along the way. Having said that, I’m currently cramming at the end of this campnano! 15k to go and I’ll have my 4th draft novel. I’ll get back to editing the others then. Love the sound of your short stories.

    1. Hi Lynne, there are no hard and fast rules – whatever works for you is the right way to do it. Great work on Campnano – 4 novel drafts is brilliant going.

  4. I think it’s good to have a number of projects on the go – and yours all sound great! It means that when you reach a standstill with one, you can then take a look at the others and see if there’s anything new which has come up with those so that you’re always working on something. But I suppose there comes a point that you have to be disciplined and say: okay, it’s time to start finishing something. For me – because I usually work on a few things simultaneously – it means that I may have a week where suddenly I end up with three completed pieces of work (usually after a quiet period), which always feels good.

    1. Hi Gabriela – yes, it definitely works for me, because it creates the illusion of always having something new to work on. Like many writers, my favourite part of the process is the initial creation, the thrill of a new idea coming to fruition.

      Great sense of achievement when you eventually push one of the projects in to the ‘completed’pile. Good luck with your projects too.

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