Well, we’re now halfway through the year, so how is the strategy holding up? The one – conceived with Mhairi Simpson at stupid o’clock and fuelled by FAR too much strong tea – of working towards insanely ambitious targets in the hopes that I’ll achieve more than if I’d set sensible goals? Patchy, I’d say… Right now I could do with a clone to watch the tennis while I write – or polish off a few chapters while I do the Wimbledon bit.
• I’m still working on Breathing Space, although it isn’t progressing as fast as I’d like… Slow and steady is characterising my writing at present, which isn’t really how I generally produce my first drafts. But this is unknown territory – I know most of the plotpoints and narrative arc in this particular book, whereas normally that all unfurls as I write. My battles to recapture Jezell’s voice are more or less over – I feel I’m back inside her skin now. But she still wants to natter away and tell all to her audience, rather than show them what happened. If I am to hit my target of having the first draft completed by the end of August, I’m really going to have to put my foot to the floor this month and get at least 10 chapters finished.
Challenge – Have first draft of Breathing Space completed by the end of August. In progress and still just about doable.
• I was doing quite well with the blog, until Wimbledon interrupted… It turns out that I cannot watch tennis AND write at the same time. Which I’d established before, but it didn’t do any harm in checking. So I need to get it back on track as August is going to be another iffy month with a lot of family stuff going on. But the Challenge I merely threw in just for the Hell of it and without any intention of working particularly hard to achieve is the one that is still rolling forward, absolutely on target, as I’ve written 10 reviews this month…
Challenge – To write and publish 100 reviews on my blog during 2014. Comfortably on target as I’ve completed 64 reviews so far this year.
• Sorry Mike – I’d written about half of Chapter 21 for Chaos in New Cluster, our team-writing project of producing a post-apocalyptic science fiction rom-com, before my annual teaching observation at Northbrook sideswiped me. Will make it a priority in July!
Challenge – To complete Chaos in New Cluster by the end of the year. On target – just about…
• I’ve now completed this year’s Creative Writing course at Northbrook College, which was, as ever, enjoyable and stimulating with great students. There is now a long break until we resume in the third week of September, but as both my courses are already full for the autumn term, I need to get cracking on writing the course notes for How To Write Mood Music and tidy up the last few administrative tasks for the 2013/14 academic year.
Challenge – To write the course notes for next term – not yet started.
• As for the pesky target about submitting my unsold short fiction and poems? Nope – haven’t got to grips with that one yet. BUT I do have the timeslots free when I normally am teaching, so I’ve decided to use that time towards browsing/preparing/submitting work. Watch this space…
Challenge – To submit all my unsold short fiction and poems – dismally failed to date.
Another up and down month. I’ve written 17,000 words on Breathing Space – a fair proportion of those haven’t made it into the first draft as I’ve been junking all Jezell’s rants and looong explanations about stuff the reader doesn’t need to know yet, while writing myself back inside her skin. The reviews for my blog ran to another 10,000 words during June and Northbrook admin for my Creative Writing summer term contributed another 5,000 words, taking my monthly total to 32,000 and my yearly total to date to 145,000 words. Hm… need to get cracking if I’m going to get within sniffing distance to some of those targets!