September has been a busy month, with Chinese Whisperings hurtling full steam towards publication, a trip to Canberra for me and then several weeks holiday at home in the tropics to welcome a new baby into our family and to see my sister married. But that aside – I do believe there are some goals to review.
1. Write something every day – building up to three pages a day
This month has been terrible – given the fact I needed (and Paul made the space) for me to take two full weeks off. In that time I rethought my writing and editing goals. When I return home I’m angling for 250 words of editing/rewriting of the stories I’ve mentioned before as I have a new publishing goal. Long Short Stories is a publishing opportunity being put forth by Affirm Press to publish six collections of short stories, novellas etc by single authors. Deadline is 1st February and this is what I am now working towards.
I have begun editing and rewriting Second Chance (Jude and Lea’s story) and finding my writing style has changed dramatically since entering Fourth Fiction. My style has become very pared down, minimalist and I’ve been adhering to the maxim of “does this advance the story”.
I’ve been chipping away at Fourth Fiction too. Some rouns are better and easier than others but I have been keeping my two devoted readers Dan Powell and Chris Chartrand entertained. My intention is to include it with Second Chance and a couple of other short stories for Long Short Story.
2. Participate in [Fiction] Friday every week
There was only one story – though a very successful one, born out of tiny little snippets of thoughts super nova-ing into the guise of Taping Lydia. One story a month is probably a little more sensible given all the other writing and editing committments.
3. Read two books a month (or a minimum of 600 pages)
There was only two books this month – but the books I wanted to read to coincide with Mercury Retrograde. I re-read Lightning and The Time Travellers Wife. While TTTW will remain on my favourite list, Lightning now falls into the category of influential books. I can see why Lightning wowed me at 19 and was able to pull all the elements which have shaped my writing to date, but having read far more sophisticated books I can’t say it remains a favourite.
I found TTTW a far darker book this time. Due to the fact I was reading the final 50 pages in public I had to really control the tears. This time around I didn’t have the burning desire to go back and open from page one and begin reading again – though I look forward to reading it again at some other point. There is so much in it, and even though I obviously knew how it ended I rediscovered a number of nuances – such as the relationship between Gomez and Claire that I hadn’t got the first time. Now to see how badly they trash the book in the movie – soon to be released here in Auastralia.
4. Complete a manuscript
I have divested the last of my non fiction writing gigs so I now only have to focus on non fiction. While this may not be achievable this year – this will be the top goal for 2010 with Dylan at primary school five days a week and a chance to develop and evolve some healthy daily writing habits.
5. Enter a minimum of four competitions
Still three to enter. Had I not been on holiday I would have entered several competitions with due dates in late September. Time to review QW mag again see what’s coming up. I’d like to submit Taping Lydia and My Sandals.
6. Have a minimum of 2 fiction and 2 non fiction pieces published
Gracevile is all but finished – with Edwina having put her blow torch through it, Ben having also reviewed it. The feedback from critting class should be awaiting me when I return home from holidays. Then to decide where to send it. Also need to start cleaning up Rum Balls for submission prior to Christmas.
I should add here – that by next month I will have signed up for the Australian Writers Marketplace and really get serious about having some things published.
Thanks also to Ben for sharing the publishing opportunities he comes up with. It is something I definitely need to invest more time and effort into.
7. Get my ‘Chinese Whispers’ novelette/anthology off the ground
Seeing the words “get off the ground” I realise how non committal in many ways I was at the start of this year – or perhaps unsure what would actually happen with this. We’re onto our final writer – Paul. In ten odd days time we will have the anthology completed in draft form – with a huge chunk of it at or almost at, final stage. It is a good feeling – made even better by two weeks away from it.
So much editing to do still – not to mention research into POD partnerships, learning how to format for different eletronic readers (Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone). This month we had 750 unique visitors, 4.5 visits per visitor and an average of 112 visits a day. Not too bad at all.
8. Commit to a schedule of professional development
I spent some time at the Brisbane Writers Festival (tick!) -not as much as I would have liked but at least I made it this year. Got to hear MJ Hyland and Jeff Lindsay speak about killing characters. I also got to hear Erica (who recently joined our writers group) speak about working a Leumans in New York
I finished my critting course remotely – given I was away on holidays. I am interested to know the thoughts of my fellow classmates on Graceville.
9. Watch one movie a week
With the school holidays it has all been kids movies. Going in with REALLY love expectations seems to be the way to enjoy them. We’ve seen Up (brilliant), G-Force (surprisingly funny) and Aliens in the Attic (surprisingly good and funny!)
10. Participate in the National Novel Writing Month
I’m still going around in circle as to what I will write this year. It would be good to finish Blue Melissae and go into 2010 with a manuscript to work with. But I’m also interested in persuing Hartog and the other macabre teenage time travel story. I think the only way I will decide will be to run a poll. Eek!
Moving to Weekly Goals …
I haven’t really had the weekly goals so much this month because of holidays b ut I remain by what I said last month – by the end of the year I’ve said I want to have tied up all lose ends. This includes having final drafts of:
- Graceville (alm0st done)
- Rum Balls (need to be a priority)
- My Sandals (I think I remember where I wrote the new name!)
- Light Years (terrified of trying to edit this!)
- Summer Girl/Only My Heart Calling (this is a fav story from this year)
- as well as trying hard to have a first draft of Jude/Lea’s story (have begun this and edited about 600 words of 2500 already)
- continue on with Fourth Fiction (I’ve had some great feedback though at the moment I’m a bit caught on the Round 6 prompt)
I also started the 365 photo challenge and have been taking and blogging a photo a day. I’ve really been enjoying it and loving having a daily record of life. It takes next to no time which I love even more.
Image from Wordle a fantastic toy for creating word clouds.