Shoot for the Moon 2017 Challenge – February Roundup


So now that I blinked twice and discovered February has gone, how have I got on with my writing, reading and blogging targets that I have set myself for the year only last month here?

• Rewrite Miranda’s Tempest
Complete my rewrite of Miranda’s Tempest in response to some very detailed advice on how to improve moonit by an agent during the submission process. I had intended to have it completed by now, but got seriously stalled halfway through December…
This had me tearing my hair out all through January and the first half of February. I’d roll up my sleeves, all set to get stuck in and only to just get stuck… Then in the last quarter of the month, Himself and I went on a walk on one of the few sunny days in the month – and I made a breakthrough halfway through whining to him about how hard it was. He’s a great listener and knows this project almost better than I do, so is an invaluable partner in the whole process. And sure enough, as soon as I sat down I managed to power through it in five days of intense writing nearly 25,000 words. The relief is indescribable…

• Write at least 100 reviews for my blog during 2017
I 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’s post. I also would very much like to get more of my To Be Read pile read and reviewed, so will have another go at the Tackling my TBR Pile this year with the aim of reading at least 30 books during the year from this teetering stack.
During February, I read 17 books, wrote reviews for 16 of them and DNF’d another two which came to just over 16,000 words. This clearly isn’t my usual reading pace and is down to the fact that during half term – unusually – I didn’t have the grandchildren to stay at all so read far more than normal.

• Creative Writing courses
To propose and plan next year’s course to Northbrook College and continue delivering this year’s Creative Writing courses.
This term’s course has gone very well so far, despite the seasonal illnesses that have put a dent in attendance figures. We haven’t had to cancel any sessions due to snow, thank goodness. I have next year’s courses sorted out and will probably be submitting them for approval to Northbrook in the next few weeks. In addition, I have completed writing my One Day Poetry course due to run on Saturday 11th March at Northbrook. I hope to get sufficient students to be able to teach it as it should be great fun.

• Continue teaching TW
Continue delivering the customised syllabus we have managed to find and devise in order to meet Tim’s specific learning requirements.
The decision to increase my hours with Tim has continued to be an unqualified success. Sally and I had an exhaustive planning meeting during February to monitor our progress and came away very heartened at the progress we’re making so far. So now it’s just a question of continuing to focus on the areas that need ongoing development and ensure we go on covering the projects within the necessary timescales.

• Continue to improve my fitness
To continue to attend Fitstep and Pilates classes to improve my fitness and regain the strength and stamina I lost after a decade of chronic lower back pain.
I’m really enjoying both the Pilates and Fitstep classes as I can now see the progress I’ve made in my strength and stamina. I now carefully watch my sugar intake as I realise just how much it aggravates my back and general joint pain, increases the wrinkles on my face and messes with my focus and concentration when I’m trying to write. It’s something of a shock as I have a very sweet tooth and really enjoy my sticky buns… no more, though, except for the very occasional treat.

Despite loathing February as the dreariest month of the year, this one has been nothing but successful work-wise. I wrote just over 51,500 words during the month – a goodly chunk of those on the Miranda’s Tempest rewrite, bringing my yearly total to just under 90,000 words so far.

16 responses »

  1. Congrats on your rewrite progress! That always seems to be the most stressful part of writing, but it sounds like you have it well in hand. (And it sounds like you heard from a very helpful agent.)

  2. You are really making great progress towards your goals, and you are an inspiration to me to set some (goals that is). I bought a tens machine yesterday and learned to use it this morning after a pain filled day that was bad enough to make me cry (and I’m tough!). What a wonderful invention. TY a million jillion times for making that recommendation. Even though I’m usually a big cheapskate and cut corners when it comes to anything for myself, I bought the top of the line with 15 settings and about a dozen “modes” (shoulder, leg etc.) I think the sitting still and vegging out, doing nothing, for fifteen minutes at a time is going to do me as much good as the pulsing electricity (massage) does! I am definitely a “pushy” person when it comes to getting things done and often push myself to the “brink”. Then, my poor ole’ body pays the price. Again, thanks for the good advice.

  3. Congratulations on breaking through the Tempset. Sometimes talking things out is the only option that works for me. I have lightbulb moments. I’m with you on trying to get fit though you are doing better than me. I do well, as long as I’m not travelling (which is too often)

  4. You were a machine this month! Isn’t it weird when the gloomy weather drags us down mood wise but we seem to get more done. LOL

    • I suspect that’s part of it! When it’s lashing down outside, then getting stuck into work becomes something of a release, I find… Thank you for your kind encouragement, Laura:).

  5. Have I ever told you how inspiring you are, Sarah? Just reading what you manage to accomplish each month with teaching, writing, reading, and fitness each month… it’s amazing. Keep up the good work.

    I’ve been having a “seesaw” relationship with writing lately. It’s not that I’m having trouble writing; I’ve actually gotten 17+ words done on The Novella, which is quick compared to TKC’s first two months of Draft #1. But… I’ve been having a lot of issues with confidence lately. It’s hard to explain without going into great detail, but the short of it is I’ve been questioning my competence and whether I can write in the genre I love so much. :/

    Funny you mention the sugar intake and how it affects your diet, mood, etc. It dawned on me recently that I sometimes feel… I don’t know, out of sorts when I come home from visiting my parents, and that diet may be part of the reason. I eat mostly vegetables, fruits, and meat at home, and try to keep my starch and sugar intake low. (It’s not always successful, but I try my best.) But when I visit Mom and Dad, it’s a bit overwhelming because they eat more bread / starch / sugar than I do.

    • Thank you for your kind words. And I know that diet has a huge impact on my mood. As for your crisis of confidence… I’ve just finished beta-reading TKC – I’m in the process of transferring my notes into TrackChanges and while there are some technical issues Himself and I both agreed it was a readable engaging story we both really enjoyed. I don’t know if that helps – I hope so:). x

      • Thank you, Sarah. It does help. Though by no means at all did I think that TKC was perfect. I’d reached the point where it was difficult to see what other issues were there, so I knew it was time to give the manuscript to other people for their review. Not to mention there were a couple scenes that needed more work… But I didn’t know what else to do with them at the time, so I threw up my hands and said, “I’ll let my betas have at them first.” (*lol*) But I think I was so nervous about this stage that I let my fears and worries take over – which is one of my worst habits to begin with. I need to learn how to manage that better in the future.

      • It’s all a learning curve, Sara. It’s never an easy process, but it does get easier when you begin to learn your own writing rhythms, strengths and weaknesses:).

  6. Sounds like you had a great month (I wish I could say the same 😉 ). Fingers crossed that the rest of the year will stay this way.
    And I stunned by the amount of books you’ve read… I’m likely to read that much in a year :P.

    • Yes – it was a really productive month and I’m delighted to have got Miranda’s Tempest rewrite finished. Yes… that is unusual for me to read quite so many – I would say that several weren’t very long and as I’m not writing anything new at present, I do find I crave book-shaped comfort…

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