Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2016 – October Roundup


After setting some crazy writing goals with my writing partner in crime, Mhairi Simpson, way back in the dying throes of 2015, how am I doing?

I had expected that my reading would have significantly eased up at this stage as I’d moonplanned to be busy writing Bloodless. That hasn’t happened and as I’ve been mired in editland and rewriting, I’ve been turning to reading for relief and relaxation. It has also been a very sociable month with a series of visitors staying with us and the highlight – the amazing, marvellous Bristolcon 2016. So October has been busy, productive and congenial.

• This month, I read fourteen books, though that isn’t as impressive as it sounds because there were a couple of children’s books in there and some novellas. Once more, there were some marvellous reads. I thoroughly enjoyed How To Be Pirate by Cressida Cowell, Escapology by Ren Warom and V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. While two novellas – Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric’s Demon and Frontier by Janet Edwards were my standout reads this month, along with fantasy novel The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein.
Challenge – To review a minimum of 100 books during 2016 and widen my reading to include more authors new to me. I fulfilled this challenge in August, but I am continuing to read and review more enjoyable, exciting books.

• I finally managed to resubmit Netted halfway through October after the hardest rewrite I’ve ever had to do. This now gives me the opportunity to act upon the feedback I received on Miranda’s Tempest and so I have now started work to improve it.
Challenge – To continue to submit my work.

• I’ve continued to improve my fitness with Pilates and Fitstep classes. It’s a wonderful feeling when I find I can now easily complete exercises that I couldn’t begin to manage this time last year. I’m working long, intensive hours and now have given up sugar, as I’ve found it diminishes my energy and messes with my concentration. We managed one longer walk this last month, but with all the guests visiting it has been difficult to get away.
Challenge – To continue to improve my fitness.

After being dismayed at just how far off track I’d strayed from my original targets, I’ve come to the realisation that plans are made to help focus while working. But once events overtake them, then comes the time to let them go. That doesn’t mean this monthly accounting is a waste of time, however. While my writing targets have taken a dog-leg down a by-way, there are still other challenges I need to keep tracking.

I wrote just under 15,500 words on my blog during October, less than 3,000 words on my course notes and teaching admin and just over 44,500 words on my rewrite of Miranda’s Tempest, bringing my total for the year so far to just under 290,000 words.

How are you getting on? Do you also set yourself targets and if so, as the year grows older, are you able to keep fulfilling them?

20 responses »

  1. You’ve had a fantastic month – and 14 months is excellent no matter what!
    Plus, goals are great – but I kind of think that if you met your goals all the time then maybe you made them too easy to start with – or at least that’s my excuse anyway!
    Life just gets in the way sometimes and you’ve been doing lots of socialising. Bristolcon sounded great. I’ve read a lot of positive feedback about it and wish I’d been able to attend too!
    Lynn 😀

  2. I continue to be amazed and maybe a bit overwhelmed by those of you who set goals and keep track of them monthly. I am dealing with enough moving my daily To Do list over into the next day and seem to find what time I have is instantly filled with new and old things to be done….

    • I know exactly what you mean, Rae. But I have discovered that if I make a series of overarching goals and work towards them throughout the year, making time once a month to monitor how I’m doing, I’ve a much clearer picture of my progress and whether I’m actually living the life I want. It’s certainly contributed to my happiness.

  3. I’m great at setting goals. Meeting them is tough though. I try not to stress it when I don’t meet them. You are doing great!

    • Thank you, Laura:). I know what you mean about the business of goal-setting – it was the reason why I stopped doing it much earlier in my life when it only ever seemed to underscore what a loser I was. However, I was in a much tougher place where I didn’t have much control over my daily life. And you’re right – the hard bit isn’t the goal-setting, it’s the taking a deep breath and recognising that when you miss them, there’s generally a good reason and they’re tools to ensuring you live the life you want – not the final aim.

  4. I agree challenge goals are great, but sometimes things go differently than expected and it’s okay when you can’t reach those goals. You’re doing pretty good with your goals so far. Especially with the book reading and reviewing goal you’re doing well. I participated in som reading challenges and am pretty sure I am going to fail some of them, but that’s okay.

  5. I’ve been reading books like crazy lately, too, though for different reasons. (I actually touch on that in tomorrow’s blog post.) So I know the feeling about your most recent reads giving you a sense of relief and relaxation – and I’m glad to hear that, too. And in general, you’ve done (and are continuing to do) an amazing job with your goals this year. Even as some keep getting pushed back, the point is that you’re still moving toward them, adjusting as needed and never losing motivation.

    Also, good for you for continuing an exercise routine between it all. I fell off the yoga wagon over the summer, so I want to get back to it now that Draft #3 is done and life is less crazy.

    • Thank you for your kind encouragement, Sara – you are a star:). There have been times when I’ve felt like I’m trudging through treacle this year, but overall I’m definitely heading in the right direction. As for motivation… there really isn’t any choice as far as I can see. I took the decision this is what I wanted to do more than anything else years ago and although Life has seriously got in the way at times – that hasn’t changed.
      I’m delighted that you’ve completed Draft #3 – congratulations! And am interested to see what you’re going to do in the interim, before plunging back into editland, again.

      • You’re very welcome. 🙂 And I know exactly what you mean about motivation versus “life purpose.” When you know you want or are meant to do something, there’s never a question of motivation – and if you don’t follow on that desire, life feels… well, empty without it.

        Thank you again about Draft #3. (Typically I would put lots of exclamation points after that, but right now I’m overtired from adjusting to the end of Daylight Savings Times – gosh, you think it wouldn’t be so difficult to cope with “falling back” one hour. :S ) I’ll go into my post-Draft #3 “schedule” in my next Chronicle, which will go up next week. But right now I’m focusing on preparing for beta-readers, since three of the people I contacted said they’d prefer to read in December instead of January. EEEEEEK.

      • XD XD Well, one of the beta-readers is studying for her MFA, so she wants to beta-read while she’s on her winter break, before classes start again in January. And that I totally understand. 😉

  6. “After being dismayed at just how far off track I’d strayed from my original targets, I’ve come to the realisation that plans are made to help focus while working.”
    You’re totally right!
    Also, even if you don’t meet your goals, you can look how much you’ve achieved: even if it’s less than you wanted, it’s still something. You have a busy life and you also seem to prefer to work until perfection instead of rushing things just to meet the goal which is a valuable thing.

    • Hm. Not sure about perfection! I certainly need to continue improving and smoothing my writing style before publication – and then, I’ve also got some m/s being considered and that’s never a swift process… But it was an effort to pull myself around and consider this year a success instead of an abject failure as I hadn’t succeeded in my major target.

      • As much perfection as we can get, Sarah, and then strive for some more. 🙂 Our books might not ever be “perfect” in some objective meaning of the word, but with the hard work you put into it (and I hope I’m mimicing good enough) they’ll be “as close to perfect as they can be” :).

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