Saturday, 9 September 2017

Autumn Days


Autumn always brings mixed feelings for me.  On the one hand it’s a season of inspiration.  The start of a new academic year and the time to learn something new or at least be a bit more studious. The season of opportunity where you can reassess your goals for the year and start again.  And there’s the peace and quiet of the kids being back at school after weeks of lolling on the sofa playing on the x-box or watching incredibly stupid American sit-coms - the kids not me, I've worked through the whole thing) and the chance to get back into a routine. 

And as for my goals for the year – well they definitely need a kick up the you-know-where. I started off the year full of plans and determination but they soon fell by the wayside as you can tell from the lack of blog posts.

I’d decided to try using a bullet journal to help get myself organised. My friend introduced me to the concept and said you could buy them ready made, but after some research on You Tube, I decided that a plain ruled notebook would do just as well.  At the back of the book I split my goals for the year up into different parts of my life – home / work / writing and wrote down everything I wanted to achieve for the year.

Then at the front of the book I headed up the pages into months.  On the front of the page for January I wrote my goals for that month and on the other drew a calendar for the month and added in all appointments and events I needed to attend. The pages after then were filled with tasks that I wanted to achieve each day.

It worked in that it focussed my mind on what I needed to do each day  / month and it was handy to have the essentials for the entire month on one page (no more rushing around buying birthday cards and presents at the last minute because I’d forgotten!) but it turned out rather depressing to find several items being carried over from day to day and month to month because I just couldn’t find the time.  I still use it to a certain extent but like most of my resolutions, it seems to have petered out.

It’s been a challenging year family-wise, lots of illnesses and challenges to deal with, some short term but others longer term and more significant and for a while now I have struggling with my own health which impacts on my ability to find the motivation and energy to write.  In June I finally received a diagnosis, and whilst it was a relief to find out what is wrong with me (nothing life-threatening, thankfully) it does mean that I have had to make some adjustments to my life and will be on medication for the rest of it.

On the plus side so far I have survived all those challenges and in the midst of it managed to complete a submission for the RNA New Writers Scheme (not the one I intended but that’s another story) but something I have been working on for a while and am really pleased with.

So, with all that out of the way, its time to reassess my goals and make the most of the rest of my writing year.

The not so plus side of autumn is that is signifies the end of summer, the end of light (if not heat if most of this summer was anything to go by).  Cold, dark days lie in wait.  But I’m going to look on the bright side, batten down the hatches, snuggle up, and try and achieve some of those remaining writing goals for the year.  And hopefully I’ll be blogging a bit more too!

What are your goals for the rest of the year?


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Goals!


Time to Plan!


This is a rather belated post bearing in mind that it is already February but it’s all about my writing hopes for the year ahead.

I can honestly say that although last year was a busy year for me, it wasn’t productive writing-wise. My short stories consistently failed to hit the right spot and I lost my focus. On the plus side I did complete a freelance journalism correspondence course I had signed onto the previous year, through Writing Magazine.  I’ve always been interested in history and love the research but have never had the confidence before to write non-fiction for publication, but now, thanks to the course, and particularly Michelle Higgs, I have the confidence to do that.  Not only that, but I have a number of articles ready to be edited and sent out.  So, one of my hopes this year is to start to generate sales in non-fiction magazines.

The news just before Christmas that from now on Take A Break would only be accepting submissions from a list of approved authors was a blow to the UK womag market.  Although I’ve sent a number of short stories to Take A Break, I never quite got it right so naturally I wasn’t on that list.  And whilst I never might have hit the right note, it was something I had hoped for and was another market for my short stories.  I know some of my fellow writers who had had several stories published in the magazine in 2016 weren’t on the list and were disappointed by that.  I completely understand the magazine’s reasoning for doing what they have done.  They are running a business and it must take a considerable amount of time and effort to deal with the unsolicited submissions.  However, now I fear this will increase the burden on the remaining UK magazines who still accept unsolicited stories and wonder if they will, in the future, chose a similar option.

Some of my friends had significant success last year with the overseas womag market, so whilst I will continue to write and submit over here, I’m also going to do some research and see if I can start submitting aboard.

But what I really felt at the beginning of the year was that I needed to get my writing mojo back.  I dug out a first draft of a novel I have been working on for a while now and re-joined the Romantic Novelist’s New Writers’ scheme.  Now I have deadline of August to whip my novel into shape.


All in all it looks like I’ve set myself a lot of goals this year to fit in between a busy work and family life.  How am I going to do this?  Well, I have a plan which I’ll tell you about in my next post.