Tag Archives: writing targets

Shoot for the Moon Challenge – January 2019 #Brainfluff2019targets #ShootfortheMoon2019 #authoringannals


This is now an annual event – in the dying days of the year, my writing buddy Mhairi Simpson and I sit down together and set ourselves targets for the coming year. The theory is that in aiming for the insanely unrealistic, we’ll achieve more than if we were more cautious in our goalsetting. These are the targets I set for 2019.

• Edit and publish Mantivore Dreams – Book 1 of The Arcadian Chronicles
I’m hoping to release Mantivore Dreams sometime in the summer – it’s been held up by my delay in getting Mantivore Prey completed. Once I’ve finished the first draft of Mantivore Prey, which isn’t so much of a rewrite as starting more or less from scratch, then I’ll have a better idea of the publishing schedule.

• Complete, edit and publish Mantivore Prey – Book 2 of The Arcadian Chronicles
At long last, the writing is going smoothly and I now know exactly where the story is headed after two false starts and some 50,000 words discarded. One of the more miserable aspects of being ill at the back of last year was that I lost my writing mojo… I think I can realistically complete the first draft by Easter. I wrote just over 13,000 words towards book in January and am now well past the halfway mark.

• Rewrite, edit and submit Miranda’s Tempest
I know have a strong sense of where this one is going and I’m determined to get this novel written, edited and resubmitted before the end of the year. I now have a wonderful editor prepared to look at my manuscripts who understands my writing style and makes it the best it can be, which should help enormously.

• Outline and start on the first draft of Bloodless – Book 1 of the Beth Wheeler mysteries
This is the first book in the spin-off series from The Sunblinded, featuring disaster-magnet Lizzy Wright who now finds herself solving murder mystery cases in space. It’s a genre I’m very fond of and look forward to writing.

• Release paperback editions of Dying for Space and Breathing Space
Another consequence of my illness late last year – I’d scheduled for these to occur then and it simply didn’t happen. Hopefully I’ll have both Dying for Space and Breathing Space available in paperback by Easter.

• Organise reviews for the release of Netted
We now have the cover done and I’m in the process of going through the manuscript for the final time looking for any errors. Netted is due to be published sometime in the autumn by Grimbold Publishing and I’m very excited about it. I’m hoping to soon have an arc available for anyone interested in reviewing the book – please let me know.

• Regain my fitness and stamina
My hypertension has been diagnosed and I feel so much better. I’d always been under the impression it was a symptomless issue, not so in my case – I felt dreadful. I’m still having major problems with rejigging my sleep patterns and need to better manage my stress issues, which are compounded by my habit of working too hard. I have restarted my Pilates class and when I feel better, I also want to find some sort of aerobic class to also join, such as Fitstep or Zumba.

• Continue delivering my Creative Writing courses at Brighton Metropolitan College
I am now running three courses a term and also hope to run a three-week Poetry Course and One Day Summer Surgery course this year. I love teaching my wonderful students and really miss them during the holidays – which is so very uncool…

• Continue teaching TW
Tim is now studying music at Chichester College three days a week and doing really well. However we still have the final element of his English exam to work towards during the next two terms. It’s lovely to see him developing into an articulate, charming young man who is sensitive to the needs of others and enjoys going out with his friends.

• Continue blogging about books and writing
I thoroughly enjoy reading and reviewing books – I’m keeping my target for the year at 100 books, although this last year I read 162 books and published 124 reviews on my blog. I am easing back from posting every day as I simply don’t have the time, but will continue to read and review. I’m intending to join two challenges – Love Your Library and Beat the Backlist, as well as continue with my Discovery Challenge to find more female authors I haven’t previously read. During January I read 12 books and posted 5 reviews.

These are my writing, reading and life challenges for 2019. Wish me luck!

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…