My writing buddy Mhairi Simpson and I decided way back last December to set ourselves some over-ambitious goals for 2014, so that in trying to achieve them, we’d get a great deal more done, than if we’d been more sensible. So now that May has flitted past so unacceptably quickly, how are my targets shaping up?
• I’d edited myself to a standstill combing Running Out of Space and Dying for Space for errors, so last month decided to start writing Breathing Space, the third book of the Sunblinded trilogy I plan to self publish by the end of the year. Have to say, it has been slow going – not helped when Scrivener had a fit and tucked away the first couple of chapters somewhere nifty and hidden on my hardrive… I’ve also junked a third of the 12,500 words I’ve written so far as it was basically writing-my-way-into-the-story bumph. Thanks to the wonderful Sarah Palmer, I’ve realised there should be a lot more tension between my protagonist and one of the key characters, so hopefully this month I should be able to really get cracking on this.
Challenge – Have first draft of Breathing Space completed by the end of August. In progress
• Mhairi is currently checking the Spanish phrases I’ve used in Running Out of Space to ensure they read right. So far, she reckons that while they are grammatically correct, they don’t all colloquially pass muster – not a surprise as it is a loong time since I studied Spanish. Then I’m turning the m/s over to my trusty editor…
Challenge – Have Running Out of Space edited and formatted, ready for publication by the end of the year. On target.
• I’m now blogging or reblogging every day, which has increased the flow of visitors to my site. I mostly write book reviews – but I did take a deep breath and wrote quite a personal blog on my son’s birthday. At the start of this Shoot the Moon Challenge, I confidently predicted that this particular target would utterly fail, but eerily, I am STILL on track, having written 13 book reviews this last month.
Challenge – to write and publish 100 book reviews on my blog during 2014. In progress, as I’ve already written 54 reviews.
• With only a handful of weeks left to go before this year’s Creative Writing classes finish at Northbrook College, I’m starting to evaluate the overall experience. I’m blessed with a wonderful set of students – they are all enthusiastic and open to different forms of writing, which makes them great fun to teach.
Challenge – Successfully complete this year’s Creative Writing classes. In Progress.
• Along with the rest of the West Sussex Writers’ committee, I have been reading through the entries for our National Competition. During May we produced our longlist, which we reread and marked. A great effort by everyone involved – we work really well together. So the shortlist is now ready – yay!
Challenge – Read and mark entries for the West Sussex Writers National Short Story Competition. Completed.
• I owe Michael D. Griffiths – my writing buddy and co-writer of our humorous, post-apocalyptic science fiction novel – Chapter 21 of Chaos in New Cluster. What with the WSW Short Story Competition and the glitches in starting Breathing Space, I didn’t so much drop this ball as never picked the damn thing up. At all…
Challenge – To complete the first draft of Chaos in New Cluster this side of Christmas. It’s still doable, but only if I get a serious wriggle on and write Ch. 21 this month.
• I undertook to submit all my available short fiction and poetry. And I’ve failed. Again. Have to say that I debated leaving this section out. But there’s no point in giving a Roundup if I don’t come clean about the failures as well as the successes, is there? It takes a LOT of time to comb through likely publications and see what I have that will fit – and it’s time I just don’t have right now.
Challenge – To submit all my short fiction and poetry to suitable publications and/or competitions… Bah – humbug!
This month has been a mixed bag… I bought and started using Scrivener, which has been a rather lumpy experience although it’s getting smoother. I’ve written 26,000 words this month, with Breathing Space taking 12,800 words, 7,300 words going towards writing blogs and book reviews, and 5,800 words on administration tasks towards my Creative Writing courses. This takes my 2014 wordcount so far to 114,000.