Tag Archives: goals

Almost 2014…

By this time next week, we’ll all be knee-deep in January. Will you have made any resolutions? My main resolution is just to keep going; 2013 has been a challenging one and I don’t suppose things are suddenly going to slack off.

A Progress Report

Last year, I proposed more writing, editing and submitting for 2013. As Meatloaf would say, two out of three ain’t bad. I’ve written FF most weeks and InMon almost ever other week, as well as an almost-finished first draft for NaNoWriMo and a few other bits here and there. Editing TPF isn’t quite finished, but I’ve made fantastic progress and am keen to get that done and out to beta-readers. There wasn’t much submitting, but the advent of my first ever (part of a) digital publication has made me feel less bad about that.

I also proposed millionaire-dom. That was 0 for 0, I’m afraid, but there’s always next year…

The Plan

A failure to plan is a plan to fail, right? I may not have hit every mark this year, but it’s nice to have some marks to aim for – Stretching Goals, I heard some motivational speaker call them. So here’s my Stretch Goals for 2014. (Presumably this motivational speaker wasn’t friends with the SMART goals brigade.)

Writing: continue FF and InMon, although possibly drop down to one or the other each week to increase time available for other projects. Finish NaNoNovel. Write more varied lengths, in particular fleshing out some of the flash fiction pieces I’ve posted here before. I’m going to pull back on the non-fiction posts, again to make more time for other things, but if I have something to say, it’ll be here on Mondays or Thursdays when there’s no InMon.

Editing: Last read-through of TPF then find some beta-readers. Evaluate and incorporate their responses. Also, obviously, ongoing editing of smaller works throughout the year

Submitting: I’d like to get back into the habit of submitting. And to start hawking TPF around agents / publishers.


It’s said that the more widely you commit to a goal, the more motivated you’ll be to achieving it. So share your goals here, or link to your posts about goal-setting. Have a great 2014 and see you on the blogosphere.

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Goal Setting

According to my local radio, 47% of us forget to floss our teeth daily. 47%? That means more than half the population is lacerating our gums with mint-flavoured string every single morning. I don’t believe it. (Straw poll – leave a comment if you floss every day, proclaiming the fact loud and proud. I’ll send you a bag of sweets to bring you down to my level!) Personally, I discovered a long time ago that if I aim to floss daily, as recommended by my dentist, I just never do it. Maybe once or twice a year, just before an appointment with him.

But here’s the thing (and also the point at which this blog post becomes about writing again, rather than oral hygiene), if I set myself a more achievable goal, like flossing once a week, suddenly I hit the target. I even occasionally over-achieve and do it twice in 7 days! Crazy stuff.

With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, lots of writers are setting themselves ambitious goals right now. 1667 words in a day is actually not as much as it sounds, but doing that every single day, on top of your day job, life and normal writing commitments, for a whole month, is a challenge for many people. Winners of NaNo are right to be proud of themselves. Those who use it as a springboard to kick-start their writing for the rest of the year, even more so.

I enjoy NaNo and I hope to keep doing it for the foreseeable future, but for the rest of the year, I’ve discovered I work much better with achievable goals than crazy ones. When I started this blog, I promised myself one post a week. Now I’m up to three, with occasional daily projects like Voice Week, the 12 Days of Christmas and my recent series on Novel-Planning. And I still enjoy it, I still find topics to write about, and (most amazingly of all) I still find people reading them all!

Starting small works for me – give me a to do list with 5 things on it and I’ll do them all, by lunchtime. Double it to 10 and I’ll achieve 3 across the entire day.

So what I need to do now is work out how to apply this self-knowledge to my long-term writing goals, and in particular to the editing process which a couple of my longer pieces are waiting to undergo. Suggestions are welcome. I’m also interested: how does goal-setting work for you? Do you work better under the pressure of too much to do? Or are you a small-starter like me?

And how many times a week do you floss your teeth?


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Progress Report – insert flag-related-pun here

After last week’s celebrations, I want to try to give you this progress report in as cheerful a light as I can. The truth is, I’m so far from hitting the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year that I can’t even remember what they were. I’m certainly not going to link back to them and run the risk of catching a glimpse of all the things I haven’t done. But that’s OK, because a lot’s changed since I set them, and I’m about to become a homeowner and a Mum, both of which are pretty time-consuming things to achieve, and pretty cool too.


I’m still managing to keep up my three-posts-a-week plan here. Whether that will survive the arrival of the baby (33 weeks down, probably somewhere between 5 and 10 to go…) remains to be seen, but I hope you’ll forgive a brief period of radio silence when he arrives. I do intend to get back to this as soon as I can.

There might also be a little radio silence during the house-move in two weeks, until we get internet set up at the new place.

The (still growing) following I’ve gained and the number of blogging friends I’ve made have far exceeded any target I would have dreamed of setting, and I think my writing is benefiting from the process too.


Having given Eric a backseat, I’ve now reached the conclusion that he needs a LOT of reworking and a fair bit of rewriting. I’m working on co-creating a small group of writers in Toronto focussed on editing, in the style of NaNoWriMo but with a focus on editing and rewriting instead of first drafts. If that ends up happening (probably sometime in 2013), Eric will be my piece for that. Otherwise, he’ll stay wrapped up for now so that I have enough distance to see the good and the bad when I come to look at the manuscript again.

I’m still working on my Booker’s Seven pieces. The editing process has definitely slowed down, but I think there is some good writing there, and I’m hopeful I can turn at least some of these stories into marketable work.


Ah yes, on the subject of marketable work. I’ve ground to a bit of a halt on submitting. It is at least partly intentional. I’ve woken up to some limitations in my previous submitting plan, and in the pieces I was trawling around magazines and short-fiction publications. It all needs a bit of a rework, and that’s something I need to focus on when I have the time to do it justice. Until then, there’s very little point continuing a scattergram approach to submissions.

Having said that, some “No thanks, but please consider us again” replies, and the successful publication of two 100 word stories in Readers Digest has proved to me that I can do it, and once I have a chance to put that focus into my portfolio, I believe I will find more success.


With a baby due two days before it starts, I’ve had to withdraw from my organisational role in Toronto’s NaNoWriMo group. That’s a shame, but it wasn’t really open to negotiation! Depending when he arrives, and what happens then, I’ve got a banker of an idea for what I will write in November. I think we can be pretty confident I won’t get 50,000 words written, and depending on his arrival date, I am contented that I may not even get 50 words written, but if I am kicking my heels around waiting for Baby P to put in an appearance, I’m hoping to make a start on Piccolo’s story, as excerpted in Friday Fiction a few weeks ago.


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100th Post

Back on 5th September 2011, I opened this blog with a Welcome post, now it’s less than a year later and I’m on post #100. Thank you all for making this blog such a fun project to work on and here’s to the next 100. I thought I’d celebrate with a 10×10 post, ten lists of ten things each. I hope you enjoy it!

1. Ten Things I’m Proud Of (Writing-related)

300 followers. Days no longer go by without someone stopping by to read, like or comment. My plan to submit something every month is working. Competition and Publication success with my 100 words stories. Still editing, however plodding that has become. I write almost every day. I find the more I write, the easier it becomes. The amazing writing friends I’ve gained, through online and off-line writing groups. Learning to critique other people’s writing (which I hope is also making me a better critic of my own). Experimenting through Bookers’ 7 and the Friday Fictioneers with new genres and styles.

2. Ten Goals For The Future

Finish editing Booker’s 7 before Baby arrives. Return to Eric when he’s rested a little more and edit him to the stage where I can shop him around for publication. Be a great Mum. Buy a house. Keep up with this blog even after Baby arrives. Visit Australia. Eat something grown in my (as yet non-existent) garden. Abseil something tall. Publish a novel. Leave something behind.

3. Ten Books I Love

The Narnia series (Ok, technically that’s 7 books right there, but tough). Jane Eyre. Winnie the Pooh. 5 People You Meet In Heaven. The Three Musketeers. The Post-Birthday World. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. The Art Of Happiness. A Child’s Garden of Verses. My (as yet unpublished) first masterpiece.

4. Ten Things That Make Me Mad

Driving in Toronto. Bigotry. Dishonesty. Cold Callers. Selfishness. People who put the lives of others at risk. The fact my TV keeps crashing. Losing stuff. Irrational price differentials. The quality of vegetables available in Canada (or lack thereof).

5. Ten Things That Never Fail To Make Me Smile (WARNING: cutesy stuff alert!)

Sitting on soft grass. Pepsi cuddles. Max’s purr. Hugs. The english countryside. The Toronto cityscape at sunset. Let Loose’s “Crazy For You”. Seeing Jon after any time apart. Baby kicks. A letter from my best friend, Joy.

6. Ten Songs I Will Always Love

Have a Nice Day – Bon Jovi. American Pie – Don Mclean. Blackbird – The Beatles. Defying Gravity – Wicked cast. Shine – Take That. You Make Me Smile – Uncle Kraker. The World – Brad Paisley. The Rose – Westlife. Whiter Shade of Pale – Procul Harum. It’s Raining Men – The Weathergirls.

7. Ten Guys I’ve Had A Crush On (oh the shame! Note the past tense here, but roughly in date order)

The guy in 5th year that me and my friend used to stalk in school (even then, we didn’t know his name). Jon Bon Jovi. Emilio Estevez. Ronan Keating. Colonel Fitzwilliam (from Pride and Prejudice. Not the actor, the character.) Matt Beale (blame Ant, it’s all her fault). Sam the Thesp. Sean Bean. Shane Filan. Kimi Raikonnen.

8. Ten Places I’d Like To Go (I’ve been to so many amazing places already, some of these are “again”)

Uluru. The Maldives. Macchu Pichu. On a train across Canada. Oklahoma. Eire. Narnia. The Galapagos Islands. Nova Scotia. Dolwydellan.

9. Ten Faces Loved and Lost

My grandparents: Eve and Ken. My friends: Roger, Catherine and Hilda.  My rabbits: Thumper, Snuffy, Elmo and Sooty. My fish: Flipper.

10. Ten Of My Favourite Posts from the Last 99!

Divided by a common language.

Falling Softly.


So What Do You Do?


It’s Alive

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Naming Names

May I Introduce…?


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