Mhairi Simpson, and I, once again, set ourselves a series of ambitious writing-related goals when 2017 was only a couple of days old. This has become something of a ritual, because over the past several years I have found it so very helpful to set out my targets for the year and then at the end of every month to hold myself accountable for these targets. And these are the goals I have set for 2017.
• Rewrite Miranda’s Tempest
After completing Miranda’s Tempest and sending it out last year, it garnered sufficient interest that I had some excellent advice on how to improve the storyline. So I embarked on a major rewrite at the back end of last year, intending to resubmit it in early 2017.
This slid to a halt in the run-up to Christmas and as January was extremely hectic, I only managed a paltry 7,500 words. I am hoping to make better progress during February.
• Edit Dying for Space and Breathing Space
My trusty beta-readers came back with some excellent advice on both these novels, particularly around the ending of Dying for Space and the start of Breathing Space, which I’m still not completely happy about. Given these are books 2 and 3 of The Sunblinded trilogy, I want them to be the very best they can be before I set them loose onto an unsuspecting world.
• Write the first draft of Bloodless, my space opera crime novel, featuring Jezell Campo, my protagonist who features in The Sunblinded Trilogy
I have the plot outline sorted out and I’m going to have a go at writing this one, while editing Dying for Space and Breathing Space. It may not work as I’m the ultimate monotasker, but I won’t know until I try, will I? Another project that got shunted further down the line when Netted needed a major rewrite last year. I am really hoping that by the end of the year I will have a first draft completed.
• Complete Picky Eaters
This is the novella that mushroomed from my short story, published at Every Day Fiction longer ago than I care to mention. While reading it to the grandchildren, I realised there were another couple of plotpoints that needed tidying up. I wanted to have this one completed last year, but my major rewrite of Netted took priority so this one got pushed to the side. However, I would really like to get it to a standard where I can either self-publish or submit it.
• Continue submitting my work
Thanks to the Shoot for the Moon Challenge, I have become far more professional and organised in submitting my work. As a result, I am now rewriting Miranda’s Tempest, achieved significant interest in Netted and have Running Out of Space out with an agent. Anyone who has been through this process knows it can take a long time to get a response, so I am continuing to work on a number of other projects while waiting.
• Self publish a novel
I have wanted to get at least one of my novels self published for a while, now. Hopefully 2017 will be the year when this happens.
• Write at least 100 reviews for my blog
I easily achieved this goal in 2016, having reviewed 150 books, while also becoming very involved in reading and reviewing new releases, which was one of last year’s targets. I don’t intend to increase this target but hope to continue to read and review at least 100 books, with at least 24 being by women authors previously unknown to me as part of the Discovery Challenge, thanks to Joanne Hall if you’re interested in joining the 2017 Challenge, here is her post.
I read 12 books, DNF’d another and reviewed 11 of them during January, which came to just under 15,000 words. I am not sure this will be a pace I can continue once I am writing again, as opposed to editing and rewriting.
• Propose and plan Creative Writing courses for the academic year 2016/17
I have next year’s courses sorted out and during the second half of the term I will be submitting them for approval to Northbrook. In addition, I am starting a series of Creative Writing courses with gifted writers and talented teachers Sarah Palmer and Linda McVeigh, called Writing Sussex. This promises to be a really exciting development.
We are planning to start our very first courses at the end of February, so if you live in or around the Worthing area in West Sussex, check out our website and course availability.
• Continue teaching TW
This has been a roller-coaster year as it proved a whole lot harder to find a suitable syllabus and qualifications suitable for Tim, who is autistic and taught at home. However his mother managed to find a series of projects based around acquiring practical skills that I will be helping to deliver, alongside Tim’s team of other tutors, which will also give him qualifications he can use to access college or university courses in the future. In addition, I am also helping Tim acquire the necessary skills to take the Functional Skills exams, so have doubled my teaching hours with him.
This is, obviously, going to take priority as it becomes necessary.
• Continue to improve my fitness
I suffered a major back injury back in early 2005, leaving me with ongoing sciatica that meant I was a constant visitor to the Physio for almost a decade. After Mhairi’s suggestion back in 2015 that I try a TENS machine to see if it would improve the nerve pain during yet another flare-up that was making my life a misery, I have gone from strength to strength. I now attend a Fitstep and Pilates class every week and have managed to lose nearly a stone so that I have now reached my target weight, which I want to maintain – more or less – throughout the year. One of my goals for 2017 which we didn’t achieve last year is to resume hiking with my husband on a regular basis.
Those are my 2017 Shoot for the Moon Challenges. Wish me luck!
Good luck with all your goals missus. There’s a lot on here but I think you can keep on track.
Thank you! No point in setting goals if I’m not going to be ambitious:).
Best of luck! 🙂
Thank you – I think I’m going to need it!
Wow, this seems like a lot of work, good job you are so organised. I can’t even manage to pin myself down to a dedicated day to post on a blog let along all of the major writing projects you are juggling.
Best of luck to you though, I have faith 😉
Thank you, Ginni for your kind words – I appreciate your faith. Can I just mention that this is all VERY ambitious?
Hehe better to aim for the moon though 🙂
If I commented on all the good information/applicable as suggestions I got from this post, it would be as long as the post itself. I am sooo impressed with your goals (as I have been as you reported achieving them over the past year) that I may do some long-term-goal-thinking myself. Am going to get a TENS machine this weekend. Also, did I tell you I have an autistic student this semester in my Advanced Writing class? He is a junior and is alternatingly delightful and frustrating.
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Rae:). Do let me know how you get on with the TENS – my progress with it has been little short of miraculous as I’d spent a fortune with various physios over the previous decade and haven’t been back since. As for your autistic student – best of luck!
Jason and I have been in communication today via computer. He sent a missing assignment electronically, I had to have him convert it to PDF to open it, and finally, finally I have been able to print it so he will get it back with the rest of the class Wednesday. I will go soon to get the TENS machine. It sounds even more promising now.
Ah… the joys of being a tutor in the days of computers. Don’t you just LOVE it when you cannot open the bleeping attachments? Do let me know how you get on with the TENS. I reckon mine paid for itself in the first month with no more physio fees.
Looks like you had a very good month, Sarah! And fingers crossed for your novels: both the ones being (re)written and the ones submitted.
Thank you, Joanna:). I really appreciate your support and good wishes!
I hope they’ll help you when your mood is a bit down. 🙂
Yes… I feel very blessed to have a number of online friends like you, who are invariably kind and encouraging:).