SWAGr February 2016 Check-In

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!


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. )

A Month Of Writing Prompts 2015
Don’t forget, if you need inspiration for a story you can still get ALL THE PROMPTS from StoryADay May 2015 and support the running of the StoryADay challenge at the same time. Give a little, get a little :) Click here.

26 thoughts on “SWAGr February 2016 Check-In”

  1. OK, it took me a few days but I’m back with my February commitments.
    I will:
    * Get the darned book proposal out.
    * Write 10,000 words of fiction
    * Get pages to my critique group and incorporate their feedback
    * Submit a short story to a specific anthology project (this one feels like a stretch goal, but it’s important. The anthology deadline is April 30 but I want to get in early)
    * Post Write on Wednesday posts to StoryADay every week.
    * Post about “Permission To Write” here at the blog.
    * Attack my list of ‘to do’ projects in preparation for StoryADay May

    If anyone here would like to post either a writing prompt or a Reading Room post (recommend and provide your ‘reading notes’ on a short story) check out the guidelines and let me know. I love promoting community members and the Reading Room posts get a LOT of hits…

  2. My goals for January failed spectacularly but I’m still trudging on for February:)
    So here it goes –
    My Goals for February:
    1) Write Morning Pages Daily
    2) Write 500 words of fiction
    3) Blog post a day
    4) Edit, polish and make a combined submission of flashes, poems – at least three a week
    5) Critique one story a day

  3. Well, it’s not good that I’m late to posting about my January goals! But I did well:
    *finish the short stories to submit to five different contests/journals: mostly done, submitted 2, 1 is almost finished (deadline is Friday!). But the best part was that I am very happy with what I have been writing
    *post to my blog every Sunday: done (usually on Sunday, sometimes Monday)
    *continue with the historical fiction class: I am on week 8 (of 12). I love the class, but am not so keen on this self-paced thing (I prefer some deadlines).
    *things I added on: I joined an online writing group of people from a website I frequent. I’m not sure how active I will be, but we’ll see!

    On to February!
    *short stories: Finish for Friday this one I am working on, plus 3 others (1 mystery and 2 other)
    *continue to post to my blog on Sundays
    *finish the historical fiction class

    1. Wow, that’s great that you’ve (almost) finished all five stories. Well done.

      Glad to hear the blog posts are going well too. And yes, I know what you mean about deadlines. I’ve written SO much more on my current project (i.e. all of the writing beyond the opening chapter) because I know my critique group is waiting for pages every two weeks. Deadlines are good, m’kay?

  4. Oh man, I’ve not checked in here for a couple of months, I think. I’ve been writing all the time, though, so that’s good, right?

    I didn’t achieve much in Jan, but I kept posting every day on my blog and I got my two January Mslexia guest posts out in time. I’ve finally started running again in the second half, as well – I love running because it gives me an hour to think through story ideas. I hope once I’m over the ‘ouch everything hurts’ period, I’ll get the ideas going.

    So, February goals
    – write 500+ words every day
    – submit to MIR13
    – blog post a day
    – final two Mslexia guest posts

    1. Hey, I’d rather you were writing than posting here, but I’m glad you’re back!

      Posting every day on the blog, sounds good, along with two guest posts.

      I would never have thought of running as a relaxing thing (because I spend the whole time thinking about not-dying) but I do get what you’re saying because I love to walk, for the same reason. Lots of time to let your mind work purge all the rubbish and start thinking about stories. There’s definitely something about the rhythm and blood pumping that is conducive to creativity.

      Love the goals you’ve set for February. They sound challenging but achievable. Good luck!

  5. I did a decent job with my goals for January! I wrote the short story for the anthology I’m part of; the anthology is ‘Crows On Heartstrings’, with a doomed-love-of-any-kind theme, and the story is ‘The Ninth Daughter’, a weird thing I’ve been describing as a ‘Stephen King-esque fairytale’. Perhaps when the Kickstarter goes up for the anthology I can link to it here, if anyone’s interested. Oh, and having a story I describe that way made me finally get into reading King – I’ve tried a few books in the past but never made it. Now I’ve just finished The Shining and I think it’s my favorite of those I’ve read so far.
    Didn’t rewrite ‘Sabuyashi’, oh well. Wrote a little bit on my NaNo novel, and had a plot breakthrough. And the edits for the novelette I talked about writing last year – which I can’t recall if I said was accepted? – came back in, and I got almost done with them. Sketched out some plans for the year. So January was pretty good.
    February goals:
    – edit ‘The Ninth Daughter’ and help promote COH.
    – begin work on a romance novelette for a themed collection due at the end of March. Try to get at least half done.
    – continue working on NaNo novel, and efforts to pin down a schedule.
    – rewrite ‘Sabuyashi’ if there’s time.
    – rewrite/pretty up my Patreon in hopeful anticipation of getting my serial and other stuff back on track.

    1. Wow, great update Maureen.
      I don’t think you mentioned that the novelette was accepted. I’m sure I would have remembered that! Congrats!!!

      And yes, please do promote the Kickstarter when it’s live. In fact, email me and we can do an interview for the blog and I’ll make sure it goes in the newsletter (I’m committed to doing a monthly round up of “Stuff from the StoryADay Blog This Month). It’ll be interesting for everyone to see how these things work, I think.

      I’ve not ready any early Stephen King, and got into his writing relatively recently with “Lissy’s Story”, which surprised me no end (I didn’t know what a really good writer he is) and then “11/22/63” which I loved (sucker for a time-travel story).

      Love, Love, Love hearing how much writing you’re getting done and how much of it is getting out into the world. Yay!

      1. That would be great! Should I use the email the StoryADay stuff is sent out under?
        Time-travel books tend to be very hit-or-miss with me, but 11/22/63 looks fascinating. I’ll have to add it to my to-read list. 🙂
        I love being able to come here and talk about what’s going on! It helps me feel like I’m making actual progress.

  6. I got so carried away having set my 2016 writing goals, I realised halfway through the month that I hadn’t set any specific goals for January! Anyway, I’ll focus on what I have achieved and then come up with some objectives for this month.

    The resurrection of my novel is going very well; having produced a new opening chapter in December, I have just completed the next four chapters in January, just over 10,000 words. Now I’m hitting the previously written chapters, so progress may slow down a bit.

    I submitted my application for the mentorship scheme in the middle of the month. Notification of interviews (if shortlisted) are due in a couple of weeks, with interviews held last week in February. I’m also applying to a regional writer development programme (covers one year), applications have to be submitted by the end of the month.

    I’ve dropped short stories for the time being, which is working well for me progressing the novel. I was impressed by last weeks Zeitgeist Write on Wednesday prompt and I shall be returning to that for one of my new short stories in the next month or two.

    So for February, I’m hoping to write / re-write three more chapters of the novel. I’ll submit my Writer Development programme application, and see what comes of the mentorship submission. On top of that, I will try to plan out my Zeitgeist story ahead of making it a March objective.

    Happy writing everyone.

    1. Glad to hear the novel’s going well. I’ve been thinking about the different ways to track progress and what I’ll do when I get to a more ‘revisiony’ phase. I think I’ll have to settle for a “worked on my revisions” checkmark on my writing log, rather than worrying about meeting word counts. How do you judge your progress when you’re in that phase?

      Thanks for the Zeitgeist comment.

      It’s hard to work on short fiction and long AND everything else. I’m worried about my own ‘submit to an anthology’ goal. It’s important (because it’s a small anthology call and there’s a good chance of being accepted) but I’m having trouble tearing myself out of my novel and I don’t know that I have a short story ready to go that I want to submit. Maybe I’ll do a novel-world-side-story!

      Good luck with the Writer Development program. That sounds fascinating. Hope you get in (not least because I want to hear all about it!!)

  7. Hi Julie and everyone else! I reached my goals from last month which was to write every single day. I was hoping to have a word goal of 750-1000 words a day, start my novel, and supply content for my fiction blog. I did it. I’m currently at the end of chapter four of my book, I wrote eight posts for my blog, and I stuck pretty good to the daily word goal. The moments I was most proud of: still waking up early on the weekends and not being tempted to sleep in and writing through a bad cold I’ve had.

    My February goal is the same as January:

    – Continue to work on finishing my novel. I have it outlined out to be 12 chapters. If I can finish chapter four and have chapter eight done by the end of the month.
    -Continue to write flash fiction stories for my website and supply content for it. I did eight last month which was the most I’ve done for it, so I would like to do 10 this month.
    -Writing has become a daily thing. I intend to keep at it. The trick for me is to keep having ideas flowing. Besides the work on the novel and some flash fiction stories, I want to come up with ideas to start preparing for May’s story a day.
    -The final thing, besides the fiction blog I have, I also have a food blog with a growing newsletter. I never got to make one for January. So I hope to write out some newsletters and content for that blog as well.

    Good luck everyone!

    1. That is awesome! Writing every day is surprisingly hard and you resisted the weekend lie-in? Superhero!

      Pushing on when it’s difficult (either because the words aren’t coming or because you’re under the weather) is so rewarding. Good for you!

      Good luck as you head into the ‘murky middle’ of your novel. Just keep pushing on and making things difficult for your protagonist, and you’ll get there!

      Keep up the good work!

  8. Things being what they were last month, I didn’t set a goal for it, BUT I did finish my goals for December, so I’m very proud of that. I ended up doing 4 fanfics for two fic exchanges, three of the fics in fandoms I’d never written before, so I was very pleased!

    Fic exchanges, btw (since I forgot to answer this question two months ago), are groups where you sign up for a few fandoms or characters you want to write, request some of your own you’d like to read, and then wait for the magic mods to give you your writing assignment. Once you get it, it has to stay a secret. You usually have to write to a set number of words (in the case of Yuletide, it’s 1,000 min.; in Big Bangs it’s 10,000, although those you only write for you) by a certain date. It’s really fun because there’s so many different fandoms and works available once it’s over, and it’s always nice getting a fic for a present.

    Anyhow, this month I’ve got a couple of goals, but they’re all about the same purpose. I’m doing another Big Bang, this time focusing on female characters in fandoms or original works. I signed up for four of varying lengths: 1,500 words; 5,000; 10,000; and the biggest 25,000. (I am a huge glutton for punishment, why do you ask?) I’m planning on a mix of fanfic and original fic for them.

    With how things have been, however, I’ve decided on something: If I finish even ONE for this COMPLETELY, then I’ll do all four fics. If I reach the end of February and haven’t, then I’ll drop all but the Tiny Bang (1,500) and the Big Whammy (25,000).

    So, here’s hoping I get some fics done!

    1. That’s really interesting. I have heard of fan fic, of course, but I hadn’t heard these kinds of exchanges explained before. That really sounds like a lot of fun, and a great exercise to get people writing.

      And wow, yes, that’s a lot of writing. Good for you for having a contingency plan, that you can still call a ‘win’. (Thought I’m not sure I’d call a 25,000 word story a ‘fall-back position’!)

  9. Hello Julie and the rest of the SWAGr team! I didn’t commit last month, but I did reach some goals. I completed 2 challenges except for 4 days were my wifi was down from the snow storm that blew through here. I also organized my writing goals for the rest of the year.

    For February:

    1. Write 29 Horror Stories
    2. Write 10 new poems for publication
    3. Plot out my WhoDunIt story for March

    That’s about all I can commit to at the moment. See you all next month!

  10. Welcome back, everyone! I’m starting us out this month, slightly stunned that I met all but one of my goals for January. I didn’t feel like I was doing so well, so this review has been REALLY useful. Gosh, I’m glad someone set up this group 😉

    – Write 10,000 words of fiction (mostly on the novel, which is heading towards the climax) – DONE and the amazing thing is, I was almost 3,000 words from my target yesterday morning. I just couldn’t let myself start this year by missing my first month’s target, so I got up early and wrote, then did a second push in the evening and wrote almost 4K words altogether. And I moved my story forward. WOOT!
    – Write some non-fiction pitches (including a book proposal) and get them out of the door in the first half of the month. – DONE with one exception (the book proposal. Someone kick me if I come back next month and say it’s still not done?)
    – Speak at a local writers’ group – DONE and lined up another speaking gig AND an editor gig on an anthology. Connections and networking FTW.
    – Continue to work on the marketing course I’m taking – DONE I let this slide a bit at the start of the month, but got back into it towards the end of the month, when ALL my productivity soared again. Coincidence? Apparently I respond to the idea of ‘having an audience’ as a reality.
    – Go to a book launch party for StoryADay regular Sarah Cain’s fabulous debut novel, The 8th Circle. (Yay!) – DONE. Fun. What more can I say? Meeting up with my network of writing buddies in real life to celebrate someone’s success? Yeah, that was a real strain.
    – Set up an editorial calendar for StoryADay and start planning for the May 2016 challenge! DONE (you can see it here. Lots of good stuff coming, including a month on Permission to Write, right here in Feb.

    I haven’t actually pinned down all of Feb’s goals yet, so I’ll be back at the end of the day to make my promises.

    How about you? What will you do this month? We have a whole extra day, this year! LEAP!

      1. Thanks. It didn’t feel like I’d done as much until I wrote it all down. Tracking is good. Accountability is awesome. It’s so great knowing you’re all here to check in with 🙂

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