2014 Goals Post: Lughnasadh Edition

I’ve missed two of these – the Beltane and Midsummer editions fell by the wayside with the various exigencies I mentioned the other week.

Still, it’s worth seeing where I am and what can be salvaged for the year. Despite the extended delay, I’ll see how I did on the goals from Ostara.


No traffic light colours for the two missed updates. How does it look despite that?

Finish Songn/a1/2n/an/a4/12
Complete Shapesn/a3/3n/an/a1/2
Look for an agentn/an/an/an/an/a
Be productive in fictionn/a1/3n/an/a1/2
Run Hood To Coastn/a1/4n/an/a2/4

Hmm. That hole in the middle is pretty ugly. With any luck the table will look nicer once there’s more filled in later in the year.

1. Finish Song

Here is the plan:

  1. To complete the outline.
    Last time: I concluded that I had completed the outline, but I have since understood that this was a false impression. I have been working on a more detailed outline based on thinking about character goals and asking critical questions about the setting.
    Next action: complete detailed outline.
  2. To complete the second draft in line with the outline.
    Last action:
    continue second draft process.
    Last time I was supposed to be starting on act three and perhaps even finishing it.
    Instead, the other priorities pried me away from the story, and when I came back to it I had no idea what to write. Reconnecting with the story only confirmed that I was wandering lost, with no understanding of what the characters wanted and hence no sensible way to figure out their actions in the clinch scenes.
    Hence the restart on making an outline.
    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).

I appear to be going backwards.

Goal Assessment

Goals from Ostara were:

  • complete draft of act three – twelve scenes. Yellow for substantial work on this (50% of the scenes written, say), green for a completed draft.

Total: I have touched only about four of the twelve scenes and most of that is going to have to be discarded, so I have to call this red.

Goals for next update: the outline I am building is making progress. The point is to dig down into the specifics of the scenes to capture both the necessary action and the foreshadowing of future events that needs to be included for the story to make sense to the reader. Once that’s done I will continue with the third act – fixing up the first two acts to match the outline will be a task for when the total draft is completed.

My goal for the Mabon update is:

  • complete detailed outline – five acts
  • restart draft of act three – half of the outlined scenes.

Metric: Yellow for finishing the work on the outline, green for completing draft of half of act three.

2. Complete Shapes

Here is the plan for Shapes:

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

Goals Assessment

  • receive feedback – when I started writing this post I had had no feedback, but in fact my wife had been reading the book without telling me! Now I have had some feedback from my first reader. I am delighted to report that it was generally positive with the criticisms mostly being around the rushed last act when I ran out of time in November last year.
    Anyway, feedback received. I will update the outline once Song is drafted.
  • revise outline to reflect setup change – no work on this.

Total: 1/2 – yellow

Goals for the next update: Shapes remains on hiatus. I am delighted to have received feedback on the story, but I am not going to plan any goals for this next period since I think Song will probably occupy all of that time.

Metric: n/a.

3. Look for an agent

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

This goal is pending having a manuscript I can shop around.

4. Be productive in fiction

This last few months have not been productive for my fiction. I’ve been doing good outlining work recently, but not much production of words.

Goals Assessment

  • get up to write in the morning – I’ve been getting up early at least, although not always to write. Still, this has been happening since we got back from Britain (time zone changes can be your friend…) so call it achieved.
  • write at lunch when I ride – I haven’t ridden into work, so this doesn’t apply.

Total: 1/2 – yellow

Goals for next update: I need to continue both to get up early and to do writing tasks first thing, and the lunchtime writing goal still applies since I will be doing some cycling at some point over the next period.

  • write early in the morning
  • write at lunch when I ride

Metric: Yellow for writing in the morning, green if I write at lunchtime on cycling days.

5. Run Hood To Coast Improve Fitness Level

Here is the plan for the original goal, although the goal itself has changed:

  1. lose some weight.
    Last action: actually lose weight.
    This did in fact happen, albeit by dint of suffering a bout of stomach flu. At least I haven’t put it back on despite travel plans. The problem is that I seem to merely be stable at the slightly lower weight.
    Last action: lose more weight.
  2. figure out a team training plan.
    Last action: kick off team training
    I’ve dropped out of Hood To Coast, so this is moot.
  3. races.
    Last action: ride to work a couple of days a week.
    Last action: maintain distance base,
    I haven’t ridden in to work at all.
    This extended period encompassed the Helvetia Half marathon and the training for that actually went quite well so I am inclined to say that I maintained my distance base, but then I had that illness and the whole thing fell apart. No Hood To Coast for me this year.
    The next race is the Beat the Blerch half marathon in September. I will be training for that.
    Next action: ride to work a couple of days a week
    Next action: train for Beat the Blerch.
  4. injuries.
    Last action: remain uninjured.
    Quite apart from falling ill, I also turned my ankle and banged up my knee when we were in the UK. So, fail.
    Next action: no new injuries, thanks.

Goals Assessment

    • lose five pounds – I did in fact lose five pounds! Even if it took me three periods and stomach flu to do so, I did actually lose five pounds.
    • start team training – abandoned.
    • maintain distance base – didn’t do a bad job of this until the illness, so calling this a success.
    • ride to work a couple of times a week – again, didn’t do this at all. It seems to be incompatible with building up running distance.

Total: 2/4 – yellow

Goals for next update: having missed Helvetia and abandoned HTC, my only remaining goal for the year is to participate in the Beat the Blerch half. I’m going to recast this goal as general fitness improvements instead.

    • lose another five pounds – because it can only help.
    • train for Beat the Blerch – my conditioning is largely shot, so need to build things back up again.
    • participate in Beat the Blerch – this will be my last race of the year.
    • ride to work a couple of times a week – there’s really no excuse for not riding in to work now.

Metric: yellow for 1-2, green for 3-4


Things that may sabotage these goals –

  1. unfocussed writing time – I have some short periods carved out for writing, but I need to actually use them for writing rather than, say, Facebook. This is particularly difficult with the early morning time because I am still waking up, although being on UK time for a couple of weeks has helped.
  2. roleplaying – I have no immediate plans to run A New Dawn, but it seems likely that this will have another short season in September before NaNoWriMo.
  3. projects and parenting – the is household project list still needs attention as do the children: projects suck up weekend time while thinking about parenting issues tends to encroach on the writing periods. Well, we’ll see – I try to include these specific tasks in my burndown sheet which helps with feeling less angry, even if not so much with getting the writing done.

Having largely abandoned writing for two periods, I count it as a success that I have completed anything since I last did a goals update. Still, hard to call this a good update really.


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