Targets for 2017


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OK, let’s get it out there. In 2017 I’m going to write my first full-length novel, in a series that I can extend to eight or more books.

To do this, I need to get into good writing habits, and spend time outlining, planning, writing, or editing every day.

To get into those habits, I’m investing in myself by joining a writing accountability and coaching group.

It’s run by Jenna Avery, and some of her colleagues.

It’s not cheap, but I’m hoping twelve weeks of being part of a writing group with active coaches will help me develop habits I wouldn’t develop if I continue trying it alone, and prove a good investment in the longer run.

I’ll let you know how I get on…


Progress, but under target

So did I hit my writing target this week?  No, I didn’t.

Did I do any writing at all?  Yes, I did!  I managed 227 words on one day, so I failed on total words and also the bigger target of doing some words every day.  I did manage to break my duck and get going, which is great!

I also worked out that, at my day-job, I write about 4,000 – 5,000 words a day in emails and presentations.  I think this may be why I’m a bit blasted when I get home 🙂

OK, this next week I’ll try and do my 100 words a day (average) and also try to write on more than one day.


Some actual writing at last!

Here’s my effort so far.  It’s planned to be the initial scene in the first book.  How much can you work out from the sub-text?

* * * *

“I very much need your help, Mick.  Neither of us wants to go public about Melissa, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist.  We’ll make it worth your while and, of course, it won’t be for ever.”

There it was.  The trap was baited and retreat blocked. I knew the game well enough to plot out how things had been constructed to get me here.  We both knew that if I fought this, or went to the authorities (as we had all been told to in this situation), my marriage and pension were over.  All the plans I had for the future were over.

We looked at each other, eye to eye.  I could reject him now (and hope he had others to use instead, although I couldn’t imagine who that would be) or I could play along and hope the price they demanded didn’t get too big.  Telling the Service on the quiet wasn’t an option.  They’d never trust me again and I’d be under fire from both sides. At least this lot might be focused and mercenary enough to keep to their word.

The man staring back at me gave me time for these thoughts to play out and for me to come to the inevitable conclusion.  There was no gloating.  There was no worry or anxiety.  This clearly wasn’t his first time.

* * * *

That’s 227 words in the first 3 days of the week, so I’m behind schedule a bit, but at least I’m finally getting some practice 🙂


Total writing wash-out, but a cracking wedding

Nothing useful done on the writing career this week.

Day-job was quite hard work, went out with old friends Friday afternoon, big family wedding (with 6 hours of driving attached) yesterday, which was great fun – seeing all my rellies again after ages was a real high.  Writing took a back seat.  Blah, blah, the sun got in my eyes, the dog ate my homework, excuses, excuses.

OK, let’s try again this upcoming week.  I want a simple measurable target that I can hit.  Small steps.  I don’t want to be giving you more excuses next weekend.  One thing that has  distracted me is that my first book can’t easily be ‘written’ yet because I haven’t sketched its outline and done the structural work.  I don’t buy the “I just start writing and see where the characters go…” line.  That can’t possibly result in a satisfying story with clever plot, carefully managed tension and unknowns, finally resolving in a “Wow! I didn’t see that coming – nice one!” moment.  Without an outline, I think the story would be a wandering chat, rather than something that’s worth the money.  The simplest targets, though, are ones I hear from other sites and books: write 500 words a day, write 1000 words a day.  I think this only works when the structure is in place (and exciting) and the ‘filling out’ stage begins.

So.  Here’s what I’ll try this week: getting a simple outline of the three books written up; getting a slightly deeper outline of the first book written up; 100 (yes, only 100!) words of dialogue or description written each day that might never make it into the book, but at least gives me some practice and gets me going.  I usually write N thousand words a day on day-job emails and presentations, so 100 for my authoring future should be doable.  If I can get to a regular 100 words a days PLUS some outlining, I’ll be making headway 🙂