SWAGr – Accountability for February 2018

Every month we gather here to discuss what we’ve achieved and commit to making more progress in our creative lives in the coming month. We call it our   Serious Writer’s Accountability Group or SWAGr, for short! (We’re serious, not sombre!)

What people are saying about StoryADayMay 2014

Leave a comment below telling us how you got on last month, and what you plan to do next month, then check back in on the first of each month, to see how everyone’s doing.

(It doesn’t have to be fiction. Feel free to use this group to push you in whatever creative direction you need.)

Did you live up to your commitment from last month? Don’t remember what you promised to do? Check out the comments from last month.

And don’t forget to celebrate with/encourage your fellow SWAGr-ers on their progress!

Download your SWAGr Tracking Sheet now, to keep track of your commitments this month


Examples of Goals Set By SWAGr-ers in previous months

  • Write a story a day in May – everyone!
  • Revise at least 10 short stories – Iraide
  • Write two short stories. – Jami
  • Attend one writers’ conference – Julie
  • Write fable for WordFactory competition – Sonya
  • Re-read the backstory pieces I wrote in May and see if I can use them within my novel – Monique
  • Research the market – Jami
  • Focus on my serial – Maureen

 So, what will you accomplish this month? Leave your comment below (use the drop-down option to subscribe to the comments and receive lovely, encouraging notifications from fellow StADa SWAGr-ers!)

(Next check-in, 1st of the month. Tell your friends. )

26 thoughts on “SWAGr – Accountability for February 2018”

  1. I want to write Story #13 in my Missionary Kids’ series… actually BEFORE May. I have the basic idea, I’ve free written on it. but it needs some fleshing out and a bit more structure. “A Twins Tornado” could be the title, or “Dot ‘n Bee,” or “One Birthday Too Many!”

    Whaddya think?

  2. Yes, scheduling the space for spontaneity but not what I do in that space. Tricky, but effective. When the weather is nice, I hop on the Metro with my wallet and notebook and ride a few hours listening to music and daydreaming. Being stuck inside makes it harder, but I do get good ideas while cooking.

    For the multimedia journal, I started by curating a collection of my tweets, facebook statuses, and journal entries (paper and online), and I am now creating a few pages about each month. Somedays I draw, some days I do calligraphy (both old, rusty skills). But I am also doing photo collages and trying out storyboarding apps and video production editing tools as a way to string them together. I think next up is a pop-up page. Just a different way of visualizing.

  3. Despite some unexpected travel (or perhaps because of it), I had a pretty decent January.

    My goals for January:

    *Find a balance between a schedule and spontaneity.
    (Still working on this one, though being intentional about it every day certainly helped.)

    *Reassess the academic project and develop a plan for completion
    (I actually managed to do this on a short impromptu trip which included a day at a friend’s co-working space and five hours on a train. Fewer distractions than at home!)

    *Complete a multimedia work, “2017 in Review”, which traces my life as recorded in tweets, Facebook posts, photos, and paper journaling. It’s a sort of scrapbook I am using to learn some new tech skills.
    (Classic case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach, or whatever the writing equivalent might be. I managed to complete two months and start a third, mainly because the “learning new tech skills” took more time than anticipated. But the new skills are paying off in the result, so I don’t feel too bad.)

    My goals for February:

    *Re-work the introduction to my book to reflect the changes I made in the plan for the whole project.
    *Complete two more months in the “2017 in review” project.
    *Update my two blogs more consistently; one post a week will be fine for starters.

    1. Isn’t it odd that you can actually schedule spontaneity? Being intentional about it is the only way to get it done.

      I’m intrigued by the multimedia journal project. What tech are you using to produce it?

  4. So many interesting goals and so many accomplishments 🙂 I am looking forward to your podcasts about flash fiction, Julie!

    I am happy to say that January went well for me as well. I wanted to edit and submit two flash stories and I did it. I also wanted to do a first edit of a longer but still short story and that I didn’t do, so this is still on my goals list for this month.

    Also, I want to edit and submit two flash pieces I wrote last week (again … maybe this will become a habit this year). And I want to write a first draft of a short story I began to sketch last month.

    Have a productive month, you all 🙂

  5. Well, I submitted a short story and two poems to our county Arts and Heritage Festival contest. Results in late March – fingers crossed.
    I participated in Storystorm 2018 and accumulated over 30 ideas. One, in particular, keeps calling to me. So, this month, I want to do some research on the topic and hopefully begin writing.

    1. Fingers absolutely crossed for you.

      Oo, I wasn’t familiar with StoryStorm, though I do have a friend who takes part in her Picture Book Idea Month challenge. Sounds fun.

      Hope that story gets some of your time this month. Good luck!

      1. Tara Lazar changed the name of her picture book challenge to Storystorm. It’s great fun and a super way to generate ideas, for whatever genre you might write.

  6. I think my biggest goal this month will be to write my goals down! Perhaps I need a SWAGr sheet?

    I can’t really remember what I wanted to hold myself accountable for. The first draft of the novel is finished, and the editing is proving to be a real challenge.

    I have been blogging often.

    My new goals – and yes, I am noting them – are as follows:
    Write and submit 4 short stories
    Complete two passes at the novel.

    I think these are ambitious enough.
    Keep writing 🙂

    1. Writing short stories in between revisions can be so rejuvenating. I’m doing that myself.

      And yes, I had to print out and hand-write the SWAGr sheet this month, so I don’t lose track of it. Pasted it in my notebook too. I’m learning to work with my limitations instead of beating myself up for them 😉

  7. Last month was hard for a lot of reasons, but I have partially fulfill my goals:
    -Start with my translation project (an hour a day, including investigation and everything).
    –> Not really an hour, not really everyday, but I made some progress.
    -Start my new writing project, with five characters and five chapters.
    –> Okay, the only way to not finish these, was to not do it at all. But I did work on the story, and it was amazing.

    So, for February I’m planning to keep working in those projects (an hour a day) and one old new goal: a weekly post in my blogs. That has always been a hard one.

  8. Well, last month didn’t go quite as I’d planned. I was having a really hard time getting into the swing of things writing-wise, although I read 25 books last month, so I guess that’s a draw.

    This month, I’m hoping to write 750 words of something every day (not looking good as it’s almost 8pm here and I haven’t started for today). I want to get back into the swing of things with my writing, so I’m prepared for all the exchanges I’m signed up for. Hopefully with them going, it’ll return my mojo.

  9. I’m posting later in the day that I normally do on the first of each month. I wanted to get my writing goal for the day out of the way first.

    My goal for January was to write 396 words toward the completion of my novel rough draft. While I didn’t hit that goal every day, I currently average 429 words a day, so overall, I’m exceeding my goal.

    My goal for February is to finish my rough draft. If I continue with my goal of writing 396 words a day, I should be able to finish it on, if not before, February 19.

  10. I was reasonable last month and my goal was taking a “Finish Your Novel” online class to help me work out a straightforward plan for getting the novel finished without overthinking, while I continue with my editing. So I did that! The class was great and super useful. I now have a multi-month plan for finishing and submitting the novel by the end of August and I have identified the work remaining to be done on plot and characters. Whew.

    So, my February plan is mostly work on character, as well as reviewing the notes I made on the last edit to see what needs to be included/excluded from the story. I have a day by day schedule for this. As a small aside, I had a promising short story idea last month that I have started and I want to get a first draft of that finished as well.

    Julia: I like that you have included non-writing items, so I will add mine. I, too, have knitting that is languishing. I like the idea of committing to two rows a day, as that is always manageable, so I will try that as well. Additionally, I have been using Duolingo (not every day, but my goal is 5 days a week) to learn German (my partner is German) and I will be continuing that.

    1. Very cool. That course sounds awesome.

      Oh, that reminds me I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Spanish (since I live in the US and my French is doing me no good). Keep forgetting. Maybe I’ll add that too.

  11. I got about 3500 words of a modern rewrite of Hänsel and Gretel, based on the prompt from last month. It’s turning out better than I anticipated, and I plan to finish it this month, as well as working more on my novel.

  12. If you want to see how I used my SWAGr Worksheet this month (to record my motivations as well as my goals) you can see it here.

    Ok, here’s what I promised last month and how I got on:

    * FINISH the first draft of the novel—uh, no. Stalled a bit here.
    * Dedicate 2 weeks to revising the previous novel—Nope. Did write a short story featuring the main character in the period after the novel, though, so that’s getting me back into the world.
    * Write a short story—First draft done. Polishing scheduled for today.
    * Create writing prompts every Wednesday—YES!! (Proud of myself!)
    * Podcast at least twice.—YES!
    * Read 30 mins a day—Probably. And on the days I made an effort to record it, I felt very good about the intentionality of my reading (is that a word?)
    * Play piano every day—Not every day, but having it on my list made it feel like a priority, not an indulgence and it always lifted my mood.

    * Finish draft of novel (this is a bit of a stretch goal, but it’s not going to happen if I don’t stretch!)
    * Draft 1 new short story
    * StoryADay blogs, prompts and podcasts about flash fiction
    * Prep for business meeting
    * Build up agent list and start sending out again
    * Revise previous novel and NF proposal (honestly, I’ll probably only get to one of these)
    * Knit two rows on current project every day (need to get this done!)

    That feels ambitious, but in a good way. I need to push myself this month.

    1. I love the idea of ‘reading in the edges’. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to reading: I love real books and i love my e-ink Kindle, which approximates the experience of reading on paper better than any other screen. BUT I’m finding that my phone and my iPad are find for reading a few pages here and there where I can. I even got my phone to read out a non-fiction book I was trying to whizz through recently, and for which there was no audio book available (voice actors need not fear for their jobs just yet, let me assure you!)

      So yes, ‘reading in the edges’ can be a great way to boost your reading time.

      Good for you, for submitting to a contest and committing to more short stories this month. Good luck!

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