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.

 

 

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Write Up To Date #3 – He shoots . . . He misses!

My trademarked ‘I’m Sad’ face

Let’s get straight in to it. Here were my aims for last week, along with the mixed bag of outcomes:-

1. Write minimum of 1500 words on novel – 300 words written.

2. Write minimum of 1500 words on crime story – 1100 words written.

3. Record, edit and release this week’s Joined Up Writing Podcast Extended episode on Character now available.

4. Complete Phoenix Writer’s Challenge before Saturday – COMPLETED.

5. Sub one piece of work to a competition or for publication – NO SUBMISSIONS.

Pretty bad week. No excuses, but a mixture of work and life obstacles sprang up to slow me down. The main factor for the failure to get near my word target for the novel, was the work itself. Try as I might I can’t escape the fact that I’m so far away from where the story needs to be, ploughing on regardless is only causing me more difficulty. The story is broken and can only be fixed with a MASSIVE rewrite. With this in mind, I will be bringing the novel to a close THIS WEEK – simply by writing a few closing paragraphs that bring the story to an end. I gave it a try, but I need to type ‘THE END’ and put away the manuscript – both literally and metaphorically – so that I can clear the decks for Novel Number Two and my other writing projects.

I didn’t quite reach the target for my crime short story either, but that was only because I wasted time on the novel. I’m really enjoying writing this and I’m getting good feedback from my critique group. I’m currently planning a heist (fictional, of course) so it may be a little slower going this week as I will need some thinking time.

BUT we recorded another two episodes of Joined Up Writing and I released the scheduled episode.

A flash of inspiration meant that I completed the writing challenge for Phoenix Writers. It had to be based around eating and discovering something unpleasant in your food. Here was my take:

Sing a song of sixpence, a mouthful of blood / Four and twenty blackbirds wedged in good. / And when his mouth was opened, the King began to scream / Oh what a witch, that evil bitch, the nasty, wicked Queen.

So . . . Let’s shake off the disappointment and plot some targets for this week:-

1. Summarise end of Novel Number One and type THE END.

2. Write 1500 on the crime story.

3. I WILL sub at least one piece this week.

4. Edit and release this week’s Joined Up Writing episode.

5. Complete Phoenix Writer’s challenge.

Ok . . . I’ve stated my Writing intentions – what are yours? What are your thoughts on my proposed solution for dealing with Novel Number One? Let me know below and have a great week.

 

 

Write Up to Date Post#2 – The Nearly Man

                          Did I hit my targets?
Did I hit my targets?

It’s that time of week again. No excuses. Last week I set my writing goals for the week. Here’s a summary of what I was aiming to do – along with how I got on:

1. Write minimum of 1000 words of novelACHIEVED – 1200 words written.

2. Write minimum of 1000 words on my short story (working title ‘Cops and Robbers’) WHOOPS – 600 words written.

3. Submit 2 short stories for competition or publicationACHIEVED.

4. Record new episode of our writing podcast, Joined Up Writing with Leah OsbourneACHIEVED.

5. Complete Phoenix Writers challengeACHIEVED.

Ok – 4 out of 5 ain’t bad? If I’m honest, I’m a bit annoyed about not hitting the target on my crime story. It was a relatively low target to begin with and all I managed was 600 words.

However, let’s be positive. I made a big stride towards completing the first draft of my novel and it was fun to write.The podcast recording was squeezed in and released on schedule. I subbed another two stories and, thanks to the support of the members of the Phoenix Writers Subs Group, I have more ideas and leads to follow-up. I completed the challenge for the main critique group and also read the first section of my crime story, receiving some helpful feedback.

It has been a busy week with lots of band commitments – including two gigs and a rehearsal – and I still managed to push on with two different WIPs, record a podcast, sub my work and complete my Phoenix Writers homework. It’s a positive start to the new regime and I think both myself and fellow writer Maria Smith over at First Draft Cafe, are glad to be making plans and moving forward with our writing goals.

Speaking of goals . . . here are this week’s:

1. Write minimum of 1500 words on novel – I want to increase last week’s word count and maintain the momentum.

2. Write minimum of 1500 words on crime story – same again, but no excuses will be allowed for failure two weeks in a row!

3. Record, edit and release this week’s Joined Up Writing Podcast – due for release on Thursday.

4. Complete Phoenix Writer’s Challenge before Saturday.

5. Sub one piece of work to a competition or for publication.

What are your writing goals – long and short term? Have you tried teaming up with another writer to motivate you to achieve? Let me know what works for you? Leave your comment below or tweet me @MrKelly2u.

See you next Sunday for the next update. Happy writing and have a great week.

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!

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