Shoot for the Moon 2017 Challenge – September Roundup


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.

How have I got on with my writing, reading and blogging targets now we are three-quarters through the year?

• Rewrite Miranda’s Tempest
Complete my rewrite of Miranda’s Tempest in response to some very detailed advice on how to improve it by an agent during the submission process.
If you’ve been following this one, you’ll know I sent Miranda’s Tempest back to the agent after a rewrite. She sent back more notes and helpful advice on how I could further improve it. This is such a help, but I need to put it on one side just for a while to give myself some perspective before tucking back into it. Anyway, this is such a busy month as I’m back in the thick of it with starting back at Northbook and once again restarting my sessions with Tim.

• Get my courses ready to start the new year at Northbook
While I wrote the new course ‘How to Write Believable Characters’ during August, there is a host of admin tasks and extra handouts that need to be written before I start work on the lesson plans and print out the course notes and writing exercises.

• 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 September, I read 15 books, reviewed 13 of them and DNF’d 2 more. This brought my yearly total of books read by the end of the month to 136. As for book of the month – I think it is a tie between Tricia Sullivan’s Sweet Dreams and Austral by Paul McAuley. Again, I have managed to achieve my target of reading 100 books with ease.

• Continue teaching TW
Continue delivering the customised syllabus we have managed to find and devise in order to meet Tim’s specific learning requirements.
We have now resumed Tim’s classes and it’s all about the rehearsals and preparing for the filming schedule that will be taking place in various locations during October.

• Continue to improve my fitness
I attend weekly 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 resumed the classes after the summer break, but unfortunately I wasn’t very well for a couple of weeks, so wasn’t able to get back in the swing of it. But I have the autumn term to continue to build up my fitness and stamina again. Himself has some annual leave coming up next month and we’re hoping to go for a couple of hikes – autumn is a great time to go walking.

September was another very busy month – I’m aware of being tired, but it’s been great hitting so many of my targets and hopefully later in the autumn we’ll get a chance to get away for a few days and rest up.

This was written before I went down with flu… So I need to regroup in the next few weeks once I get back to full fitness, because clearly my current work/life balance is not sustainable. While going down with an illness like that can happen to anyone, I was already stressed and exhausted after a very tough summer. As I work in compressed, intensive bursts, I think I need to build into my working pattern at least two days when I take it easy before diving into the next project – and ensure I get more walks and time away from the computer screen. What about you? Is anyone else battling with this issue?

12 responses »

  1. You really have done a great job of meeting some of your goals! I am IMPRESSED. I, too, have had health issues or had to deal with My Better Half’s health issues, plus I’ve had some disappointments at work. I thought my return to the local college would be happier, but have found that the college has changed, and not for the better in some ways. I am sure it is just that it has “moved on” to meet the environment of the current world, and I have not moved on. My disappointment is NOT with the students,; they and their needs never change, and meeting those needs is a challenge I welcome. I plan to teach only at the university (and only have one class, 23-25 students) in January and take on a couple of dream projects that will involve NO pay, but probably a great deal of satisfaction, personally. More on that later. We are dealing with changes in our lives, and hopefully these will be adventures, not misadventures. The New Year will definitely bring new things into our lives. Something to look forward to.

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your miserable experience at college:(. Sadly, there are similar instances here – I feel very, very lucky that I really do enjoy both my teaching jobs. And thank you for your kind encouragement. Yes, meeting my goals is going well, but I do need to make some changes. As you say, 2018 will bring a raft of new opportunities and I want to be at my shiny best to rise to them:))

  2. Life has a funny way of “creating events” (for lack of a better term) that force us to consider changes we need to make. I say that because it’s happened to me often enough that it’s hard to ignore. You work so hard on so many different projects, Sarah, and I really admire you for it. But like you said, after a very stressful summer, maybe it’s time to slow down a little. Not completely, of course, but just enough that you carve out some time to rejuvenate yourself and simply be. I bet the gardening will come in handy there. 😉

    Btw, your Running Out of Space post is ready to go live on Thursday!

    • Thank you Sara for your intelligent insight – yes… I do feel the flu was a shot across the bows, pointing out that I do need to take a step back and ensure that I can continue working enjoyably for years to come – which is what I am planning to do:).

      Thank you for the reminder regarding Thursday – I had such fun compiling the selections:))

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