Tag Archives: monthly update

Shoot for the Moon Challenge – February roundup


Me and my writing buddy, Mhairi Simpson, have given ourselves an insanely ambitious set of 2014 writing targets, plastered moonacross the front of our computer monitors. The theory is that in striving to meet these aspirational goals, we’ll get a lot more achieved than we would otherwise have done, had we been more realistic… So how am I doing?

• I’ve been editing Netted throughout most of February, which proved a bit of a monster job… My timeline of where my four protagonists were throughout the book had disappeared, so I decided to redo it onto the computer. I searched until I found an Excel template that nonetheless looked rather complicated – so decided to do it in easy stages and start off by using TrackChanges to insert the date and time of day. This was so successful that I didn’t bother transposing it onto the Excel template and this is how I’m going to create all my novel timelines in future.  I discovered that I’d gone adrift in Chapter 27 and needed to add another day and night to line up the timelines of the kidnapped wife and her desperate husband trying to track her down, so needed to add another 4,000 words in a rewrite. And then had another couple of thorough edits, the last one being on Adobe using their Read Aloud facility to go through the manuscript, listening to the text while following each line on the monitor. Amazing how many stray and missing words I pick up that way…
Challenge – complete editing Netted by the end of February. Done.

• I set myself a rather random challenge for my blog this year – and amazingly, I’m still on track – despite having to do without my computer for a week in the middle of the month when the motherboard got a migraine.
Challenge – write and publish 100 reviews this year. I’ve written 10 this month, making 19 so far this year. Though this is REALLY one that is going to slip later when the weather gets better and I’m not reading so much, I’m sure.

• I’ve started work on next year’s Creative Writing course proposals for Northbrook and am also busy writing next term’s course notes, Thinking Like A Writer. These deadlines, of course, are set in stone. Nothing short of plague or famine can get in the way of these…

Challenge – submit all my unsold short fiction and poetry. Um. I’ve made a start. Submitted ‘Crow’s Revenge’… But this is one I’m REALLY failing. In my defence, having no computer for a whole week really put a dent in my work schedule. But next month I MUST have a lot more of my work ‘out there’. No excuses…

Overall this month, I wrote 16,300 words, which mostly was for my blog and my Creative Writing courses, bringing my yearly total to 49,800 words so far.

Shoot for the Moon Challenge – January Update


I may have mentioned that in early January – carried away in the euphoria of seeing the back of 2013 and under the influence of my moonbuddy Mhairi Simpson – I agreed to set myself stupidly ambitious writing targets. The theory is that in striving to get somewhere near these ridiculous challenges, I will achieve a great deal more than if I had decided to give myself more realistic deadlines.

So now that January has just been and gone (and how come it flitted by so damn fast?) I thought I’d provide a short overview of where I am in comparison to where I hoped to be…

• This month I’ve written nearly 15,000 words towards Miranda’s Tempest, my current Work in Progress. However, it needs some significant rewriting which I want to complete before starting the final story arc – so I want to step away to give myself a chance to do a brief edit, which I cannot do while I’m writing it… This may sound mad, but when I write a novel really fast – I began Miranda in the middle of October and have written 75,000 words so far, which is quick for me – I often find that there are aspects that are glossed/neglected and need further attention. Because the ending of this book is particularly climactic and shocking, I want to have all the major elements working their passage before embarking on the last story arc. Hence the break.
Challenge – to have the first draft of Miranda’s Tempest completed before Easter. So far, I’m on track – though I have some editing jobs coming up, which will require my full attention.

• I’m now editing Netted, which is going well and I have reached the final chapter, which needs some rewriting/additional scenes to elongate the final story arc. At present the action is too rushed, impacting on the climax and affecting the final character development of two of the main protagonists. Because I have chopped about some of scenes, I am having to rejig the timeline – which is a major pain because the initial handwritten version has gone missing, so I am going to do this one from scratch on the computer. No point in kicking the furniture about it (it hurts my toes too much for starters…) and while going through the whole m/s to redo the timeline, I’m turning this into a virtue by taking the opportunity to double-check that all 4 protagonists are in the right place at the right time. So it may be a fiddle, but it’s necessary…
Challenge – to have Netted fully ready for submitting by the end of February. Hm. This could be tight, but so far isn’t impossible.

• I’ve written nine book reviews so far this year – it’s been a bit of a shock to discover how many words I write on my blog – just under 10,000 for January.
Challenge – to write 100 book reviews this year. Currently on track – but not holding my breath that I’ll achieve this…

Overall this month, I’ve written 33,500 words, including handouts, lesson plans, schemes of work, etc for this term’s Creative Writing course at Northbrook.

Challenge – to submit all my available poems and short stories. Nope. Complete failure – I haven’t subbed so much as one… So during February I need to make this a priority.

That’s where I am to date. I’m fully expecting the gap between what I’m aiming for and what I manage to do to steadily widen as the year progresses – but to be honest I’m more than happy with the start I’ve made and feel really excited about my writing at present.

Anyone else given themselves massive challenges for 2014? And it doesn’t have to include tapping away madly at a keyboard for hours on end…