2014 Goals Post: Samhain Edition

Late by a week and a half, but at least it’s because I’ve been writing.

My last goals update spoke of trouble writing, and that has not really gone away. I feel like I have been waiting for November to start.


Finish Songn/a1/2n/an/a4/121/20/2
Complete Shapesn/a3/3n/an/a1/2n/an/a
Look for an agentn/an/an/an/an/an/a n/a
Be productive in fictionn/a1/3n/an/a1/21/23/4
Run Hood To Coast Improve Fitnessn/a1/4n/an/a2/44/42/3

Back into the lower-achieving zone, it seems – there are things to celebrate, but I’m not especially happy with how things have gone overall.

Note that the Song goal is yellow rather than red because I completed a related task that was nominally out of scope.

1. Finish Song

Here is the plan:

  1. To complete the outline.
    Last action: called it done.
    Well, I was wrong. When I tried finishing the draft, I stalled because the second half outline was out of date and the first half text was out of sync with the new outline. Having made lots of notes on those mismatches, I am planning on getting most of the second half drafted in this year’s November frenzy.
    I’m a lot happier with my outline now, although I wasn’t really expecting to have to work on it!
  2. To complete the second draft in line with the outline.
    Last action:
    continue second draft process.
    As noted above, the draft stalled. I am going to leave this action in process, though, since I will be making lots of words soon.
    Next action: continue second draft process.
  3. Edit that second draft. Pending completion of steps (1) and (2). I won’t be doing this in 2014 though.
  4. Make submission materials. Pending completion of step (3). This goal is also now out of scope for 2014.

Goal Assessment

Goal from Mabon was:

  • complete draft of remaining acts – nine scenes in act three, twelve in act four, plus two in resolution.

Total: I added drafts for another three of the act three scenes, but I didn’t complete act three at all so I should call this red. However, I am going to mark it as yellow since I did tighten up the outline, including fixing some timing issues that had been lurking under the surface.

Goals for next update: NaNoWriMo will give me some velocity to finish the draft, but I need to not only finish the remaining scenes but update the existing material to match the new narrative elements.

My goals for the Yule update are:

  • complete draft of remaining acts – six scenes in act three, twelve in act four, plus two in resolution.
  • complete refresh of earlier material to match outline.

Metric: Yellow for finishing the incomplete acts, green for finishing the refresh.

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

No goals set for this period. At this point I am expecting to start editing in the new year, although I may come back to the outline in December.

3. Look for an agent

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

This goal is pending having a manuscript, but it’s abandoned for 2014.

4. Be productive in fiction

As I write this, I am arm-deep in November word-making, so I find it hard to really complain about how my fiction has been going.

Of course, I wrote hardly any new words before November, which is the period the goals below were meant to cover.

Goals Assessment

  • write early in the morning – mostly achieved, since again this is when most of my blogging has happened. I’ve been doing some novel-related work too first thing, despite the usual problems with plotting when I’ve only just got out of bed.
  • write at lunch when I ride – not every day, but a couple of times a week so calling it done.
  • write 1,000 words a day of fiction – no, not even close.
  • plan for NaNoWriMo – achieved.

Total: 3/4 – yellow

Goals for next update: going into November it is obvious what I need to do there, but what about after November?

  • write 50,000 words in November – I’m scaling my NaNoWriMo goal down from last year’s 100k because that was crushing on top of everything else.
  • keep blogging in November
  • finish the Song draft in December if need be – my plan is to finish the draft in November, but if I write too much for early scenes or add scenes on then I will end up running off the end of the month.
  • review the Shapes outline – last year’s novel needs some attention since it’s been all Song this year.

Metric: Yellow for two or three of these, green for all four.

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: continue weight loss trajectory.
    I have lost a bit more weight since the last update, although I also seem to have plateaued on the trajectory. The reasons are clear: I’m eating the same, but despite riding in to work most of the time that is all the exercise I’m doing. Getting back to running is something I will be doing soon (but see goal #3).
    Next action: drop off the plateau.
  2. figure out a team training plan.
  3. races.
    Last action: none, because goal complete.
    Last time I said that this goal was complete and it was, because I was done with my 2014 race schedule, but I neglected to factor in training for 2015 races.
    Now I’ve signed up for the Shamrock Run Half Marathon (the first year they’re doing this distance), and my day job team has gained entry to the Hood To Coast again, so I need to start running again in December.
    I have also been consistent with the cycling, which has helped a lot.
    Next action: restart running.
  4. injuries.
    Last action: nurse my injuries so they can heal.
    Since I have been cycling to the day job rather than running, my ankles are feeling a lot less tender. I also haven’t had any more injuries.
    Next action: remain uninjured during restart of running training.

Goals Assessment

    • lose five pounds – I lost another three pounds. What happened was my trajectory continued down as long as I was participating in my son’s sport training sessions, but when the season ended I stopped doing that extra work on top of the cycling. Writing on the treadmill has helped, but not apparently enough.
    • ride to work until it’s too wet or cold to continue – it’s stayed warm all the way through October, so fully achieved. I also learned that my rear bike tyre was shredded, but then I hadn’t replaced them in ten years so fair enough. I was just lucky not to have a blow out – Kevlar linings work.
    • nurse injuries – my ankles seem sound. My foot still creaks a bit, but it’s far better than it was.

Total: 2/3 – yellow.

Goals for next update: need to start training for next year’s race schedule.

    • lose five pounds – standing goal, I think.
    • ride to work until it’s no longer safe.
    • reach 10,000 steps a day.
    • prevent injuries – hoping that the cycling has been sufficiently healing.

Metric: yellow for 2-3, green for 4

Getting This Done

November is always my writing time, but keeping that momentum going never seems to get easier. I will probably be starting up A New Dawn in December again, which will likely be damaging for the writing.

I have not figured out how to fit all of this in.

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