2014 Goals Post: Imbolc Edition

This first goals post of 2014 seems, as it did last year, a bit abbreviated since the goals were only set a month a month ago. But I like to keep my eye on the road ahead, and I’d rather look now and make a correction than look later and be in a ditch.

Structure

Last year I ran down my plan and updated on how each part was going, then set a next action. That’s more or less what I am going to do this time, but I also want to set a goal for each part too: something measurable, rather than a qualitative sense of how I thought I did. I am going to make these not simple pass/fail but traffic light colours: red for fail, yellow for partial success, and green for completion.

No traffic lights this time, though.

With that, on with the review.

1. Finish Song

Last action: refocus plan based on what I have and where I want to be.

Here is the new plan:

  1. To complete the outline. No work on this.
    Next action: complete the outline once I write off the end of what I have.
  2. To complete the second draft in line with the outline. I have picked up the second draft writing again, although I have also come to realise that most of what I am doing is rewriting the same scenes with different POV so a more productive approach might be to import the text and modify it rather than rewriting from scratch. I am not using a typewriter, after all.
    Still, I wrote almost 11,000 words in January. I basically stopped when I picked up Shapes, of which more below.
    Next action: continue second draft process.
  3. Edit that second draft. Pending completion of steps (1) and (2).
  4. Make submission materials. Pending completion of step (3).

So I completed the action, even if I didn’t do such a great job of applying it just yet.

Goals for next update: hopefully I will be able to work more efficiently on this than I have thus far, but still… I think it’s unrealistic to say I will have the second draft completed by next update – if only because I have about another 60k to write, and I cannot be as monomaniacal as I am during November.

So, my goals for next update are:

  • complete second draft of act two
  • revise outline for the rest of the book

Metric: Yellow for one, green for both.

2. Complete Shapes

Last action: read manuscript starting the second week in January.

Here is the plan for Shapes:

  1. finish reading of draft – once for readability, once for errors. Currently nearing the end of the errors read-through.
    Next action: complete draft reading and markup.
  2. apply corrections from draft read. Pending step (1).
  3. give it to my wife to read. Pending step (2).
  4. restructure outline. Pending step (2) and feedback from step (3).
  5. second draft – make existing material match outline; add new material. Pending step (4).

Goals for the next update: since I am neck-deep in this at the moment, the goals are pretty clear:

  • finish error markup
  • apply error corrections
  • hand off to my wife to read

Metrics: yelllow for one or two, green for all three.

3. Look for an agent

Last action: finish a novel so I have a manuscript to query.

I still feel like Song is the best bet for something actually finished since Shapes is going to need a good deal of new material, but any actual work on this is dependent on having a half-decent manuscript in hand,

So, not going to bother setting goals or metrics for this one yet.

4. Be productive in fiction

Last action: figure out writing time plan.

I don’t have as well-structured a plan to point at here, but here’s the strategy and here’s the first attempt.

How’s it gone?

Not very well. I’ve been having difficulty in getting up in the morning for my required five o’clock writing time which has led to a number of late blog posts (including this one). I have been fairly consistent in working on the Shapes manuscript read-through on the bus, but I’m really not spending much more than an hour a day on my writing.

That may be the new normal on this, to be honest.

Goals for next update: I only really started the time striping last week so I don’t want to abandon it yet, still…

  • get up to write in the morning
  • give time striping another couple of weeks.
  • try something else.

5. Run Hood To Coast

Last actions: lose some weight, and solidify my base.

I do have an actual plan here:

  1. lose some weight. This has been disappointing so far. I have actually put another couple of pounds, what with illness and tiredness and other such “reasons”.
    Next action: actually lose weight.
  2. figure out a team training plan. No work on this yet, but it’s time to do it now.
    Next action: sketch out a team training plan.
    Next action: rally the troops.
  3. races. The first one is the Shamrock Run 15K on 16-Mar-2014.
    Next action: run Shamrock.
  4. injuries. Well, no new injuries yet. I suppose that’s good.
    Next action: don’t get injured, but also do some low-impact exercise to rest existing weaknesses.

Goals for next update: some specifics on all of these, then:

  • lose five pounds
  • have a team training plan
  • complete Shamrock. Goal time here is 9:30 miles.
  • ride to work a couple of times a week.

Metrics: yellow for 1-2, green for 3-4 (because riding to work is especially hard with the loss of writing time). Serious injury will put this on red straight away, of course.

Risks

What’s going to stop me on these goals?

  1. not getting up early – it’s amazing what a difference it makes to get the early morning writing done.
  2. roleplaying – I will probably be running the the New Dawn campaign again in March, and there is another roleplaying group possibly starting up associated with my kids’ school. It’s all time.
  3. other commitments – there are other important things that need to be done and I have been neglecting them.

In other words, I have set goals for this next update period but if I miss a lot of them then the answer is going to be to set less ambitious goals, at least in part.

And with that, it is time to go to sleep so that I can get up early enough to get some writing done!

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