Status update: you have to do the work to meet the goals. Bugger.

The thing with plans is that you’re supposed to hold yourself to them. That’s rather a joyous thing, when everything’s going according to, but when things aren’t quite, well, a plan can turn into a measuring stick against which you come up short. About the time it was time for me to take stock again, I realised I wasn’t quite meeting my goals. You can only procrastinate for so long, so here’s my almost quarterly progress support.

  • Send out one new story per month: nope. Not done that. I’ve written one per month, but I haven’t been very good at sending them out. I’m getting better at completing stories (editing) but I need to spend much more time finding markets.
  • Send each story out at least five times before retiring: in progress. Finding markets is quite time-consuming (see above) and I need to spend more time on that task.
  • Finish plotting novel: in progress. I still need to figure out a couple of details about the end, but I’m happy doing that as I go along.
  • Write novel: started. I’m behind but not by much and might still be done with the first draft for Christmas.
  • Do four spoken performances: my fourth reading will be at the launch of The Seven Wonders of Scotland, the fifth and final this year takes place on December 2nd, at The Bongo Club, from 20:00. It’ll be fab: the theme is the ocean. My story’s about corals. Sort of.
  • Make £75 from writing: done. With change. I’m going to double this goal for next year. Who says there’s no money in fiction?
  • Get four stories published: three down, one to go. Not looking likely at this juncture. And I know why: I haven’t sent enough stories out. if you don’t send, you don’t get accepted. Send, send, send. Keep punting that writing.

The next update will be in January, with a new set of goals for the year.

Status update: successes and failures

I had targets and goals. A plan. It’s been four months since my last update so it’s time to have a hard look at where I am against it.

  • Send out one new story per month: it kind of depends on how you count it, but I think I’m still behind by one story. Editing. I need to finish editing the three stories that are sitting in my pile, waiting to be finished and submitted.
  • Send each story out at least five times before retiring: in progress. I have five stories doing the rounds at the moment.
  • Start plotting novel: I won’t claim that it’s entirely complete, but I’m far along enough that I can get started.
  • Start writing novel: started. I’ve got some 15,000 words which means I’m behind.
  • Apply to Story Shop: total fail. My story did not get selected. Better luck next year.
  • Do three spoken performances: three down, one to go.
    That was as far as I got the last time I took stock. Since then I’ve added goals…
  • Make £75 from writing: done. Once the cheques arrive.
  • Get four stories published: three down, one to go. (The Wolf at the Door was on Flashes in the Dark in May, Foundling will be in New Writing Scotland 30 in august, and Salanntúr will be in The Seven Wonders of Scotland in October.) I’ve got five months to sell one more story. Wish me luck!

Status update: I’ve made friends with the plan. Almost.

A couple of months ago I took my plan for the year public to goad myself into sticking to it. It’s time to reflect and see how I’m progressing against my goals.

  • Send out one new story per month: behind by two stories. I’m not going to catch up this month but I want to be behind by only one story by next month.
  • Send each story out at least five times before retiring: in progress (am circulating Neon Tetra Suicides, Space Carrot, L.V.I.S. and the flash version of Liz & Bob). It’s been suggested that sending them out five times isn’t enough so some of them might go out a few more times.
  • Start plotting novel: I’ve started and am making progress. I’ll publish some of my scrawls later for the fun of it.
  • Start writing novel: planned for June.
  • Apply to Story Shop: looking dicey since I haven’t managed to get published yet I’m keeping an eye open for the call for stories. Last year it was released in May.
  • Do three spoken performances: I’m upgrading this to four and am two down.

The plan, loosely

I have a plan. It’s a five-year plan, sort of, and somewhat fluid, but it helps me figure out where I’m going. For this year, the plan is to:

  • Submit one story a month, on average, for publication. This part of the plan has been in force since September last year. I’m a little behind but working hard to catch up. I’m not just sending things out willy-nilly, it has to be to a likely market.
  • Re-submit each story at least twice after rejection. It’s statistically realistic rather than defeatist to assume that some, if not all, stories will be rejected. I’m trying to write for calls rather than find markets for stories I’ve written to try to optimise my hit-rate but still, there will be knock backs.
  • Start plotting a real novel. I’ve learned that having a plot really helps so to ensure that I build a good story I have to start with the structure. First: develop plot and characters. Then…
  • start writing a real novel. June seems a good month for this.
  • Build a platform. That means getting readers for this blog which, in turn, means getting it out there. Sharing it, reading other people’s blogs and commenting on theirs in the hope that they will read mine. Advertise my self wherever I can. Do spoken events. Network. Comment and encourage. Post on blog logs. Join memes. Tweet and Facebook what I’m doing. All that basic marketing stuff. All things I’m too shy to do right now.
  • Do three spoken word events. (I might up this goal to four since I have one under my belt already and another on planned for early March.)

I’ll let you know how I get on.