Tag Archives: blogging

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New Year Goals – don’t say the ‘r’ word!

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New Year’s Day is for nursing hangovers and banishing the regrets of last year, which is why I’m writing this on January 2nd. Yes, it’s that time again. Time to lay out my reso – NO! DON’T SAY IT! Let’s use goals, targets, milestones – anything but the ‘r’ word. Call me superstitious but any time I make a new one of those, it’s nothing more than a distant memory by Valentine’s day.

As this is mainly a blog about Writing, I’ll save all my empty promises of more exercise and less food for my loved ones. Bearing in mind I have to fit my writing around a full time job, here’s a run down of what I want to achieve this year.

THE NOVEL

I will finish a major rewrite (2nd draft) of my WIP by next Christmas. This means having it in good enough shape to either go to a professional editor or be ready for beta readers. This will be no mean feat. I’m currently up to 94k words and I’m pretty sure it will be well above 100k by time I’ve gone back and filled in gaps to complete my first draft. I do this in full knowledge that I will probably lose around 20k after the first major edit. It’s not the most efficient way to write a novel but it seems to be the only way I know how!

SUBMISSIONS

I want to sub AT LEAST one thing every month – to average at least 12 subs over the year. These will include short story submissions for competitions and publications.

NEW WRITING

I want to write 4 brand new short stories by next Christmas. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much – infact, it sounds pathetic! – but the novel really has to take priority this year. In 2016, focusing on the novel was great, but it was at the cost of my new work and I didn’t write any new short stories.

WRITING PODCAST

With the help of my co-host, Leah Osbourne, I’ll be producing at least one new full-length show of The Joined-Up Writing Podcast. We feature interviews with guest authors, screenwriters, editors and agents. We began the show back in 2014 and it’s going from strength to strength, with 50 full length episodes and more than 30 episodes of our Two Minute Tips (TMT) series. We’re always looking for new guests and ideas for topics to cover so feel free to get in touch. The full archive is available here and you can subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes.

SCREENWRITING WORKSHOP

In addition to all that, I need to write and deliver my first writing workshop to the members of my critique group – a bunch of people I have huge admiration and respect for. No pressure! The working title for the workshop is ‘Screenwriting Tips For Non-Screenwriters’ and I’ll be delivering it in March.

So, I think that’s enough to be going on with – at least a good baseline. Anything else will be a bonus. Who knows what 2017 will have in store for us, but I’m sure with a bit of positive thinking and alot of hard work, we can make it a happy and productive one.

What are your plans for the year? Are you sharing them with the world? Any hints and tips you want to share? Feel free to share links to your own goals and blog posts in the comments below and I wish you all good luck for 2017.

 

 

Giving myself a stern talking to – Write Up to Date #5

Get a grip!
Get a grip!

It’s time to give myself a stern talking to.

It’s been a few weeks since my last update and that isn’t good enough. I detailed the reasons for my malaise in that post, and won’t repeat them again. In any case, it doesn’t matter. For ‘reasons’ read ‘excuses’. The time for procrastination has passed.

In terms of actual fiction writing – putting pen to paper, or type to screen – my output has been non-existent. Poor show. This will be rectified this week.

I did write another blog post, which means I at least hit one of my targets. I have also submitted TWO stories to the Writing Magazine Crime competition. They both required heavy edits to fit the word count, but I’m confident that they are both all the better for it.

On a positive note, our regular weekly podcast Joined Up Writing, is going from strength to strength, with a growing listenership and loads of exciting developments coming up. If you haven’t already, please head over to have a listen and subscribe.

So, this week I am going to ease back in to some Wordsmithery with a little free writing – just to get the juices flowing again and to limber up for some more strenuous activity. No hard word count goal this week – the aim is to JUST WRITE SOMETHING! If I don’t pull myself out of this creative lethargy in double-quick time, I’m in danger of losing all of my momentum.

Finally, I want to give a big thank you to my literary sparring partner, Maria Smith for giving me weekly jabs (via email) to make sure I’m not laid out for the count. She too is feeling the rigours of everyday life jostling for your writing time and always makes time to check-in on her writing friends.

I’m lucky to have a good network of writers and creatives around me to keep pushing me to run that extra mile. I’ve been down, but I’m not out. (What a delightful collection of mixed metaphors this post has been!)

How have you all been faring in my absence? How do you deal with creative dips in your life?

Time for ACTION! Writing Goals – Write Up to Date Post Number 1

Time for ACTION!
Time for ACTION!

This is the first of my ‘Write up to date’ posts. These will be weekly updates and in addition to my regular blog posts. The idea is for me to better plan my writing activities, become more accountable and to bring you ‘Write up to date’ with my progress. That accountability is key – your comments and interactions will keep me honest and give me a better chance of success. So, no pressure.

Long-term Goal – Finish first draft

In last week’s post I laid out my current dilemma around the completion of my WIP, “Let Sleeping Gods Lie”. Thank you for the comments, help and advice you all gave me. Throughout the week my resolve has wavered and I have changed my mind several times. However, the time for dithering is gone – positive action is needed.I have made the decision to push on from where I am at the moment, ignore my doubts and write the last part of my novel. Only when I have reached the end of this ugly brute of a first draft can I psychologically move on to outline Novel Number Two.

We are stronger when we work together so I have teamed up with fellow writer Maria Smith from First Draft Cafe and we have made Sundays our check-in day of the week.

My goal is to have finished the first draft by the end of June – including the missing chapters from the early section of the book.

Writing Plans this week

1. Write minimum of 1000 words of novel – I know, this seems like I’m going easy on myself and maybe I am, but it has been some time since I wrote anything on my WIP and I want week 1 to be achievable. It’s also not the only writing I’ll be doing.

2. Write minimum of 1000 words on my short story (working title ‘Cops and Robbers’) – This ‘short’ story seems to have a life of its own and I am writing the first draft without limiting myself to a specific word count.

3. Submit 2 short stories for competition or publication – I am part of a submissions group and our monthly meeting is on Saturday April 18th. I have already subbed 2 other stories and want to have 2 more subbed before the meeting.

4. Record new episode of our writing podcast, Joined Up Writing with Leah Osbourne – this week’s episode is all about collaborating with other writers on large scale projects. I need to have the episode edited and uploaded by Thursday.

5. Complete Phoenix Writers challenge – our critique group challenge for this week is to re-write a cliche. Not as easy as it sounds!

See you next Sunday?

Ok, that’s it for Write Up To Date Number 1. I have a busy week ahead – including 2 gigs with my band and a rehearsal, not to mention my day job. Next week I’ll report back on my progress and outline my plans for the following week.

In the meantime, let me know about your writing plans and feel free to share any tips you have for setting and achieving your creative goals. Happy Writing!

A to Z Blog Challenge 2013 – My List Unveiled

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Happy Easter to you all. Tomorrow is April 1st, which brings with it this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. A blog post every day (except Sundays), prompted by letters of the Alphabet, starting with A tomorrow, B the next day etc.

I have already extolled the virtues of getting involved with the challenge in my previous post (you still have a few hours to sign up!) but today I am unveiling my list of topics, so have a look at the list and make sure you follow the blog in the coming days and weeks for posts on Writing, Life, Music, Rants and lots more – including some audio recordings.

Here’s the list I have so far:

A is for Action! Stop waiting for permission for your life to start.
B is for Bananas! Go Bananas to beat Writer’s Block.
C is for Cooking. Cook your stories. Don’t rush new ideas.
D is for Death and Loss. A monologue with audio.
E is for Emotional Content. Write with feeling.
F is for Films. How thinking cinematically can improve your writing.
G is for Gold! Why I love ‘The Treasure of The Sierra Madre’
H is for History. Don’t forget the ‘Story’ part.
I is for Imitation. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Honest.
J is for Jokes. Being funny is no laughing matter.
K is for Keep Moving – Write or Die!
L is for Lies. Go Home and Tell Some Lies (song)
M is for Maybe I don’t Need To Know (song)
N is for Night Time of The Soul. (song)
O is for On My Own. Why we all need time alone.
P is for Pigeon Hole. Why does everything have to fit in to a box?
Q is for Quiet. It’s always the quiet ones who write.
R is for Red, White and Blue (song)
S is for Satisfied and why you shouldn’t be.
T is for Thief. There’s no such thing as an original idea – make it your own.
U is for Uncommon Courtesy. A Rant.
V is for Vinyl. Needle On The Black (song)
W is for WIP – Work in Progress
X is for X-Ray Music (song)
Y is for YOU, dear reader.
Z is for Zero. The word count no one wants to see.

As I am only part way through the actual writing of my posts, please don’t try to hold me to the above list! My mind changes more frequently than Lindsey Lohan changes rehab clinic.

If you are taking part, have you planned your posts? If you are just hoping to read lots of blogs, what do you think of my list – enough to keep you interested? Let me know what you’re up to, give me a follow or just say hello.