Navigation Guide: May Update

DespedidaIt has been a while since I revisited my “navigation guide” for the year.  I christened 2009 the “Year of Action” coming in on the heels of 2008 the “Year of Authenticity”. Here is my “creative business plan” along with quick updates on each dot points.

1. Write something every day – building up to three pages a day

I think I’m writing at least a page every day – some days more. The start and end of the week (columns and Fiction Friday) always see the best daily word counts. At the moment I’m trying to create a little bit of sense in my work schedule, down sizing on non fiction work so I can up size my fiction work and hit the three pages a day.

While Morning Pages were never meant to be included in the page total – I know in the back of my head I have hand written (most days) three A4 pages. Despite a great desire at the beginning of the week to give them away – I glad I have persisted and allowed myself to get through another block.

Editing also falls into the “writing” category and is an excellent fall back for the day in which nothing springs to mind to write about (though I have to admit this is rare – only on the days when I have to front up to write my breastfeeding article!)

2. Participate in [Fiction] Friday every week

When I wrote this I set it pie in the sky high – knowing deep down I would be happy to get two written a month after a terrible funk last year. Low down for this month – 3/5.

In May there was Hartog, Derby and Summer Girl . I am unexpectantly enjoying writing the Hartog series – a dark, sci-fi detective sort of story. It makes it a joy to front up for FF each week now and see how I can weave Hartog’s web into the prompt (or should it be the other way around? *wry smile*)

3. Read two books a month (or a minimum of 600 pages)

I didn’t quite get through two books in May which was a bit of a disappointment.  I’m still well ahead though given the huge month I had in April (reading four).  I was lent Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News and will be searching out more of her books – was very impressed.  And I’m almost at the end of Arundhati Roy’s God Of Small Things. My bedside table is currently groaning under the weight of all the books waiting there to be read.

4. Complete a manuscript

I’ve been in the process of drawing the line in the sand about the manner in which my writing is divided.  We are planning a family holiday to the Bunya Mountains the 3rd week of this month and I intend to take with me a printed copy of both my NaNo projects “Finding Aphrodite” and “Blue Melissae”.  And hopefully start the process of finishing one of them.

5. Enter a minimum of four competitions

Ha!  While I did get my QWC magazine out a few months ago and highlight some competitions, I am still finding it hard to gain traction on the second draft of several stories.  Light Years seems to be just beyond my reach and I need to track down possible flash fiction comps for my story Sandals.

6. Have a minimum of 2 fiction and 2 non fiction pieces published

I publish two non fiction pieces a week – so I think the first part of this is now redundant – however it would be good to get something in print – perhaps look at Kindred.  As for the two fiction pieces. As part of the Critiquing course through QWC we have to research and submit a story for publication.  First cab off the rank will be Deck the Balls (or what other name it gets).  But before any of this – must subscribe to the AWMO.

7. Compile an electronic anthology of my best short stories from 2008.

This has completely stalled.  I now don’t know if I want to put together an anthology – or if I would rather had pick some pieces from last year and try them for publication elsewhere, before staving off that avenue by self publishing.  More thought needs to be given as to where I want this to go.

8. Get my ‘Chinese Whispers’ novelette/anthology off the ground.

Ups and downs with this project but it is going forwards … and I can handle the downs as long as there is forward motion. We’ve lost one female writer, had a replacement put in at the 11th hour and now find ourselves short another writer – this time a guy. I’m being truly extended as an editor – looking at and critting work.  Very glad for the decision to do the QWC course.  It is helping to gain confidence in my abilities to crit.

I’m also having a bit of a giggle at how I worded the dot point – the project isn’t mine – it is a joint project – Paul and I at the helm but eight other great writers who are equally the project.

9. Begin writing my part of the Blood Sister project.

This is really something I should committ my morning pages to exploring – otherwise it will be another year gone by with no work on this.

10. Commit to a schedule of professional development

I never outlined what I wanted to do with professional development – I was meant to do it in a blog post, which was never written, at the beginning of the year.  My plan was to complete a short story writing master class (check) and the six month critting course (check) through the QWC. I also had my sights set on Byron Bay Writer’s Festival (check for the purchase of the tickets)  NaNo while having its own dot point – also falls here – but more on it below.

The other element of professional development has been networking (this falls under professional development because it means getting out of my comfort zone!)  I have worked out how to drive Twitter so I can connect with more writers, publishers, agents etc which I am really enjoying and making an effort to go out and read more blogs, comment on more blogs, extend out my network.

11. Complete the series of articles for the Reclaim project on ‘Reclaiming Your Space’

I had forgotten about this (see why it is WISE to go back and see what your chartered course looked like)  Because of the non fiction nature of Reclaim – I’m wanting a hiatus – however all the information for these articles is in the talk we gave last year.  Just have to listen up and take notes from the video Kerry took of us. It would be good to finish this series of articles and also the articles to do with the survey we conducted (they are currently only half completed)

Annie and I had a super productive day brain storming the next evolution of Reclaim Sex After Birth but my heart and my head space have not be in a place to even contemplate taking it any further at this point.  I am hoping after a spell away from Reclaim, and a chance to invest back into one of my forlorn unfinished manuscripts, I will be ready to tackle the challenges of a rewrite.

12. Watch one movie a week

Cheap Tuesday brings great joy in our household.  In May I watched Seven Pounds (mind blowing), Twilight (I think three times and then ended up buying it) and others which don’t readily spring to mind (I really do need to keep a better list).

13. Participate in the National Novel Writing Month.

I have three ideas already vying for a space in November.  I’m not quite sure yet which one to take.  Glad I am not short on stories!

What I note most in this – projects which were important at the start of the year, have lost their importance.  And my focus has shifted greatly.  I had no idea when I wrote these I would land two permanent writing jobs within weeks of each other and my writing would be dragged in the direction of non fiction.  I did a quick tally tonight of the number of hits to the Type A Mom articles I have written since late January – just shy of 21 000.  That just blows my mind.  If only my fiction got comparable hits.

Image – Remedios Varo “Despedida”

It is interesting also the image I chose for the original post of these resolutions/goals/guides etc.  It was almost as though I knew my writing was verging off in different – no necessarily uncomplimentary of each other, but not necessarily a whole either!

2 thoughts on “Navigation Guide: May Update

  1. Hats off for Mr Anderson and his rigid adherence to some routines. It was something I meant to do monthly and did for a bit then fell out of the habit of blogging.

    I am amused to see how goals which were so obviously important at the start of the year have been laid to waste by unexpected developments. And how perhaps setting up a navigation guide is almost like casting wishes – and as you commented on your post – perhaps be more specific in the things we aim for – like a “paid” writing position.

    At least I feel there is “action” and forward motion this year – last year felt like a foot in the old and a foot in the new. And a huge gulf between the two – teetering on the edge. Good thing some transitions are gentle and are allowed to take the time necessary.


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