The thing about setting goals and writing novels is that it always appears so simple to accomplish in the initial passion of the project. What takes work is the relentless continuation of writing, adding words to the count and understanding that the finish line will eventually come, given time and patience.
In the meantime I’ve found it comes a little easier if I work toward smaller, more manageable objectives to help me reach my over all goal. If you don’t aim too high then you always exceed expectation. So, how did I fare in the first full week of my January resolution to stick to a ‘to-do list’?
January 7th – 13th 2013
1. Write 3,000 words on NaNo #2 – I purposefully aimed a little low here, it being the first full week of being back at work and writing in between. I’m happy to report, however, that I managed just over 5,000 words and, all being well, I’ve got less than that to actually complete that first draft. My chapters are getting shorter, but I think that punctuates the action and the need to tie up all the loose ends. Very exciting times.
2. Start reading The Red Tent (as recommended by Mum) – Not only did I start it, I finished it! It took me a while to get into the story – as the prologue is very Bible-esque in that the narrator – Dinah – is telling of her family history and who is who and why Jacob – her father – end up marrying four sisters. But, I found it a rather charming story with a satisfyingly ‘happy’ ending.
[I also read ‘A Broken Family‘ by Kitty Neale, which I enjoyed less. Too much jumping around with viewpoint, too many characters to keep track of and (possibly worst of all) I didn’t think the story really matched the blurb on the back very well!]
3. Identify short story competition to enter – I’ve identified three possibilities, all with their submission dates in over a month’s time to give me chance to play around with some ideas, write, edit and then review after a week or so for re-writes and proofing. Once I’ve determined which one I’m going to actually enter I’ll put it in a post.
4. Write three blog posts – I’m really enjoying writing my posts: it keeps me grounded and encourages me to reflect on what I’m doing. I think it certainly helps me to have a place where I feel accountable: posting my word count graphs has given me the gentle nudge I needed to finish writing NaNo #2. Who knows how that method will translate for editing purposes later.
5. Go through copies of Writing Magazine and highlight articles on Editing – I managed to find at least a dozen articles that will help me out with my writing, both in editing manuscripts of a novel-length and for short stories. Aspects such as characterisation, dialogue, setting the scene, effective ‘villains’ and overuse of adverbs. Should come in handy for creating a check list for my editing brain later on.
Now, what about this week – what do I still have to work toward? Well, for a start, it will be structured a little differently to previous weeks as I am working in my ordinary job on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (instead of Monday, Wednesday, Friday), so this will have an impact on my typical writing schedule and, potentially, on my health. But, keeping this in mind, I think I can list five goals for the week as a whole.
January 14th – 20th
1. Complete first draft of NaNo #2
2. Sketch out ideas for writing competitions identified
3. Convert NaNo #1 to readable pdf for first read-through
4. Write three blog posts
5. Attend Sunday’s Writing Group meet
Let’s see how I get on with that lot. Happy writing!