2014 Goals Post: Mabon Edition

It’s been an interesting few weeks since my last goals update, although (stop me if you’ve heard this before…) not necessarily as productive as I would have liked on fiction.


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

Nice to see a green and no reds, although I also have more holes appearing from goals with no targets assigned for the last period. In other words, better results but on fewer things.

1. Finish Song

Here is the plan:

  1. To complete the outline.
    Last action: complete detailed outline.
    I did a lot more work on character goals and plot details but I then realised that I was stalling by trying to build the perfect outline rather than just making words when I actually have the material I needed to forge on with the writing – hence my reopening the word mines.
    So, calling this done.
  2. To complete the second draft in line with the outline.
    Last action:
    continue second draft process.
    I started in on the drafting, and then hit a wall because of time lost to other priorities. I will witter on about this a bit more in discussing fiction productivity below, but I am still nominally working on this draft so this counts as a worked-on-but-still-incomplete goal.
    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 am making progress, although not as quickly as I would like.

Goal Assessment

Goals from Lughnasadh were:

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

Total: I declared the outline as complete as it needs to be and I stand by that. The drafting I have done is of 6/15 scenes, which is 40% – not quite the 50% I was looking for. So, call this a yellow – a pretty greenish yellow, but still yellow.

Goals for next update: the next six weeks are all about drafting: I need to get to the end of this draft so I can write something else in November. If that fails, then I will write my 50k on this draft instead…

My goal for the Samhain update is:

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

Metric: Yellow for finishing act three, green for all of them.

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 I can shop around.

Having said that, I have been doing more reading lately, especially in near future SF, which I think can reasonably be considered as market research.

Still, I think I have to call this goal abandoned for this year since there’s no reasonable way that I will have a novel to shop in the next three months.

4. Be productive in fiction

I am feeling very frustrated that I have not been more productive in words, but there are lots of things which have been pulling me away from the keyboard:

  • blogging – this blog keeps me writing, but sometimes it is all that I write.
  • roleplaying – between A New Dawn with my gaming group and the fantasy dungeon I have started for my boys, there’s more writing time gone.
  • cycling – I like running but I love cycling. Unfortunately, if I ride to work then I don’t write on the bus, and I have done a rotten job of writing a lunch time – especially because not all lunchtimes are available.

I have the nagging feeling that I can achieve only a limited number of things, and that writing fiction is too far down the stack. How can I increase its priority level?

Goals Assessment

  • write early in the morning – I’m going to call this achieved since I have been getting up early in order to do most of my blogging, although it has not been fiction writing.
  • write at lunch when I ride – I started riding to work again in late August and think I have managed to write at lunchtime roughly twice in all that time. So, mark that a fail.

Total: 1/2 – yellow

Goals for next update: keeping both of these goals but adding a third – writing some fiction, let’s say at least a thousand words a day. This was the word mining goal for September.

  • write early in the morning
  • write at lunch when I ride
  • write 1,000 words a day of fiction
  • plan for NaNoWriMo – because it’s only six weeks away now.

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: lose more weight.
    Remarkably enough, this was actually achieved! My weight went up a bit at the beginning of August, but with eating (slightly) better and exercising more I’m back down to post-stomach flu weight. So, hurrah! Now I just have to keep this going…
    Next action: continue weight loss trajectory.
  2. figure out a team training plan.
  3. races.
    Last action: ride to work a couple of days a week.
    Last action: train for Beat the Blerch
    I have been riding to work two or three days a week since the middle of August. Hurrah!
    I also trained for, and completed, the Beat the Blerch half marathon. I’ll write a post about that a little later.
    That’s it for races this year, so this goal is complete.
  4. injuries.
    Last action: no new injuries.
    Success! I have not had any more injuries! Which is actually a good thing, because the existing ones have been nagging at me – my right ankle is always weak for a day or more after a long run, which is distressing. What I really need to do now is get less injured in this period between race seasons.
    Next action: nurse my injuries so they can heal.

Goals Assessment

    • lose another five pounds – I lost five pounds! Admittedly not actually from the point where I was after the last update, but still. This was a more healthy loss, based on diet and exercise rather than gut-churning illness, so I am going call this one achieved.
    • train for Beat the Blerch – achieved, although in truth the training was marginal.I still feel the ghost of June’s stomach flu.
    • participate in Beat the Blerch – achieved. I ran most of it, although things fell apart rather in the last couple of miles. Still, I got to the end and got my medal.
    • ride to work a couple of times a week – definitely achieved.

Total: 4/4 – green!

Goals for next update: since all my races are done for the year (the next one is likely to be Shamrock in March) my goals now are focussing on losing weight and maintaining or improving fitness levels.

    • lose five pounds – five pounds in six weeks is something I should be able to manage.
    • ride to work until it’s too wet or cold to continue – the dark doesn’t worry me and the rain is only a minor concern, but when we start to have a risk of ice on the roads I get much more concerned.
    • nurse injuries – I would really like my ankle and foot pain to go away.

Metric: yellow for 1-2, green for 3


Things that may sabotage these goals –

  1. bad writing choices – again I come back to doing the blogging when I should be fictioning, but social media and other time-wasting do not help.
  2. roleplaying – and speaking of non-fiction writing… there is going to be a new season of A New Dawn in October, as well as my boys’ game. AND will only be one or two sessions over the next few months due to collisions with Thanksgiving and the like so the impact should not be large, but “should be” is often a long way away from reality.
  3. kids’ sport – Saturdays and one or two evenings a week are going to be largely blown with supporting my kids and helping at practice until the end of October. In point of fact, I am writing this post on what should have been a practice evening, but the boy was injured and so did not go. Normally, Monday would not be a writing time in the evening at all.

I am glad the fitness goals have been achieved, since a stronger body will lead to a more productive mind, but I’m still not doing enough writing – close on Song, which is cool, but not quite enough. Having said that, if you make all of your goals then maybe your goals aren’t challenging enough.

Time to make those fingers fly.

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