Posts Tagged ‘targets’

Normally I like to keep Thursday posts for random subjects, raising points outside of writing. However, it being the start of the new year and with a collection of new approaches to my writing, I wanted to share how it’s going…

1. Writing – well, so far I have focussed on creating a writing space in my home where I am free of distractions and can sit and write for at least an hour.  I have a new book in which to write and am currently exploring concepts and ideas which can feed into the development of previous plans.  This week is about setting the new pattern rather than producing anything particular, but in effect I am using writing exercises to see what ideas have staying power.  I have not yet explored other venues for writing but at the moment my ‘nook’ is working well.

2. Mentoring – I have found some more sources of mentoring but I have not yet committed to any particular resource or scheme.

3. Courses – I may have got a little carried away, as I have now signed up for 5 courses: 4 writing and one psychology.  They are all short, with short videos which I watch at lunch times.  I will see how I go, but I am enjoying the learning so far!

4. Reading – I am reading a very good book, quite slowly.  I am pleased not to feel under pressure to finish the story as I am savouring it!

So I am feeling pretty positive right now.  I need to keep on as I am, setting aside regular time to write, study and read – organisation is essential, and a bit of strictness with myself won’t do any harm either!

Maybe I will use Thursdays as my mid-week barometer for a while, and you can keep me on track!

I hope your new year targets are going well too!

Happy writing,



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This week I had yet another bug (and we haven’t even got into the winter cold season yet!) which wiped me out for a few evenings. Hopefully I’ve seen the back of that now but it was a reminder that it only takes a few days to lose the writing habit.

In order to cheer myself up a little I invested in some new writing tools – a book of short exercises which I will be able to do in my lunchtimes (unlike the plot and structure ones which require longer sessions) and a big pack of pens in lots of different colours which I can use to mark up my output. I like to use colour as a tool in presenting ideas, as it can be useful at identifying themes and patterns.

Never let it be said you can have too many of either!!

It’s not all doom any gloom on the writing front though – I have done some writing exercises this week, trying to work out both Fred’s next move and whether there is any life left in the crime story I was working on before I got ill in the summer.

I have not really wanted to pick that one up again because I feel so removed from it, but the characters were interesting. I am considering keeping them and the setting, but building a new story around them.

I would like to do that. As there was a degree of confusion in my key character already – she wasn’t sure whether she trusted her perception of events – I think there is scope to change the storyline and bring a different outcome to bear without losing her voice or her sense of disequilibrium.

However, I know from my mistakes before I have to work hard at the planning stage – so daytime exercises will be generating ideas and imagery, evenings will be spent shuffling things around and seeing what has possibilities by leaning more heavily on my plot and structure tools.

Only when I have a full, strong, narrative will I actually start the writing phase. It’s like decorating a house – you have to do the prep work first!

So this week has been a little slow, but useful; next week I need to step it up a gear.

Happy writing,

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The clocks changed this weekend and it’s thrown me out a bit. In my head it’s nearly 1am and I should be asleep, especially as I only have one day in work before taking a break for a couple of weeks!

So this post will be particularly brief…

  • Plot and structure is going well
  • I actually managed to read a novel!
  • Fred is still awaiting his next escapade
  • I haven’t booked in a writing session with my friend

So a mixed bag of a week.

My challenge now is to get Fred moving through a couple of eras by next Sunday and to finish rereading the Plot and Structure book in the same time. After that, I need to distill the most salient points into notes and study them – it’s a little like preparing for an exam although I need to remember the details for longer!!

That’s my whistlestop tour over, and now it’s time to hit the hay.

Happy Writing

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This week, my writing progress has been pretty rubbish. I have done some writing, and although Fred is no longer languishing in the fierce desert sun, he hasn’t made it onto his next trip either.

In the spirit of honesty, I haven’t picked up a book to read at all this week either.

I have not been managing my time too well really; I have too many plates spinning to want to add any more. My down time was wasted, this week at least. That’s not to say I haven’t done useful things but I haven’t focussed where I should have done. And I have let hours go by with nothing achieved at all.

But this week is over: I have a new one from tomorrow, where I will get myself into a better pattern, waste less time and focus my energies.  Planning starts now.

If you don’t try, you don’t succeed.  I want to get back to succeeding at meeting my targets, so I better try harder!

Happy writing,

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Well, my three days of early starts and late finishes is over for this session, and I have the next three weeks to recover before it starts again!

I used to think working long hours was normal, acceptable – in some way a validation of me as a professional. My career break changed all that and made me feel much better about saying no to long working days and being available at all hours, so when I do it, I know it’s my choice.

It’s been a lovely realisation that I can have a different balance in life, and has made me a far more focussed and positive person in the workplace too.

But now I am back to the norm, so I need to get back to my writing, and although I gave myself today to work on another project I intend to get somewhere between 1000-1500 words completed tomorrow and something similar on Saturday – I have my nieces staying again so won’t guarantee Sunday’s output! I want to build up the momentum again, and have something to tell you in my extra posts!

For tonight, I’m going to rest up and get a good sleep, so I’m all ready to get back to my poor, confused heroine tomorrow!

Happy writing,

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This is my first weekly round-up since before my holiday, which makes sense I guess – you knew what I was up to!

This week was sadly a case of too many germs spoil the writing, because I was not really feeling good at all. As a plus point, yesterday and today I am definitely much better which is good because we had two of my nieces staying to help turn the patch of weeds and brambles behind my house back into my garden!

But all this means I haven’t really got a writing update for you. I can tell you about finding a toad in my garden, about the bumble bee nest under the shed, about the millions of spiders everywhere – and about my plans for keeping my garden both useful for humans and wildlife-friendly going forward – but that’s not really what this blog is all about!

So instead I’m going to use this opportunity to set some targets for June:

This month I will
1. Blog 5 days per week – my usual three plus two about my writing progress
2. Write every day
3. Get the crime novel up to 25,000 words (minimum)
4. Approach 8 more agents with the family tree novel (minimum)

Nothing unrealistic there… I am a little concerned how I will cope with the next three days at work, which will be exhausting; but on the other hand I can write during my breaks and prepare blogs on the train, neither of which is normally possible, so it’s all to the good!

I am leaving it there for now, as I have to get up about an hour and a quarter earlier than normal tomorrow and I need to hit the hay!

Happy writing,

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If you have Dory in your head now, that’s ok. I do too…!

This week, writing-wise, has been all about keeping going.

It has been hugely busy: I am trying to sort everything out before my holiday, which starts on Tuesday, and I have been a little overstretched and under-rested.

However, I have only missed one writing session and as that was when I caught up with a friend I have only seen twice in the last 20 years, it was worth a night off.

Nothing outside of the new story has been looked at – no submissions, no chases, no revisions of other work – and I have to be honest and say it probably won’t be until June what with one thing and another. That’s a shame but I cannot spend time feeling negative about it: there’s no value in that and it won’t change things anyway!

What I have decided is to take the new novel with me on holiday and try to do a few sections here are there; I had intended to have a break but it’s flowing too well to stop, even if I only do a few sentences now and again. I don’t want it to get in the way of exploring a new place though: the writer in me also needs to have time to be inspired and learn about different places.

So writing’s going well on one hand and there’s room for development on the other.  I just have to keep swimming…

Actually, that’s pretty much every part of life at the moment!

Happy writing,

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This week…

I have noticed I am getting behind on the posts a lot.

I don’t have time to tweet, or check my twitter feed.

I have read about three pages of a book.

I have written less than 1000 words.

Where is the time going??

I am generally falling behind on a lot of personal life arrangements. I have reasons, but they don’t get me an agent so they are not worth focussing on.

Instead, a little later than I should, I am going to set myself some weekly targets.

This week coming, I will:

  • Finalise the plan for changing the format of the whodunnit and PUT IT ON PAPER!
  • Send the Family Tree out to four more agents (to make up for a missed week!)
  • Read something from cover to cover.

When push comes to shove, I need to know I am still moving forward. If things slow me down, I run the risk of halting, and I don’t want that.

So this post isn’t really about the week I had, but the week I am going to have, and how I’m going to make it work for me.

And Monday’s already over, so I’d better get to it!

Happy writing,

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This post is unexpectedly late due to my husband getting ill, sorry about that, but he has been in need of a little tlc, and I’m going to keep this short for the same reason.

So a quick recap – last week was a positive one: editing was completed, agents were identified, appropriate synopses have been started.

I feel energised in my writing, and have a plan.

My plan involves agreeing with a friend that in 6 months, if no pick-up from agents, I will self-publish. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it is a plan, and it gives structure to my aimless amblings earlier in the year about what to do for the best.

It also means I can now get down to work on my next project – either a re-work of an earlier draft book or a follow-up to the one being sent out.  I have a brief timeline for the follow-up so could build on that but I kind of like the idea of revisiting something I’ve done, in my newly-positive editing mindset, and seeing whether it’s got potential to work. That is a decision for the next few days.

Yep, last week was a good week.  This week hasn’t got off to the best of starts but give it a few days and I should be back on track.

Watch this space!

Happy writing,



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I’ve been talking about my writing a lot recently – for a number of reasons and to a pretty mixed audience.  It surprises me how easy people think it is to be published; as though every writer has a raft of offers (if only).

I explain the options of traditional publishing vs self publishing and how literary agents are the first line of resistance when it comes to most traditional publishing, but still I get the ‘of course you’re published’ comments that make me feel a little like I’ve failed them.

Getting an agent isn’t automatic, isn’t that easy for most people, and doesn’t guarantee publication anyway!

It surprises me how many people don’t know what goes on for writers, really – questions and assumptions I’ve heard about my own ‘career’ can be really demotivating, and quite honestly I have rejection letters and emails for that, I don’t need it from people in general conversation!

On the more positive side, editing has gone really well this week, despite a few shaky days when I couldn’t fit writing work in because of other things going on.  In some respects I think the busy days helped me because I was so keen to make up some lost time that I’ve managed to do more in an editing session than I would normally expect.

I now have just 34 A4 pages left to go, and that is my task for tomorrow.  I hope it won’t take more than 3 hours but if it does, I’ll just have to hunker down for a long evening.  Luckily, as I am working a lot of extra hours from Tuesday onwards I should get out of work on time tomorrow!

I’m still enjoying revisiting the book; there have been a few changes to improve the flow but really, there’s not a lot of alteration.  I want to build on this little world I have created though, and explore where these characters go – so I am really keen to get going on the sequel.

Perhaps that’s the part I miss when talking about writing.  Publication is an ideal, because I want people to read what I’ve produced – but writing is the goal.  I don’t write because I want a lucrative career, or a twitter following, or the film rights, or to be able to wear designer dresses to fancy awards.  I write because I need to write.  When I don’t sit down and build a story, or poem, or moment on a piece of paper, I am missing out on joy.

The rest is just wrapping paper.  The writing is the gift.

Enjoy your gift,



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