SWAGr for January 2020

This is it! This is the first post of the tenth anniversary year for StoryADay! Expect big things for the anniversary this May!!

In the meantime, post your goals for this month and let us know how you got on with last month’s goals.

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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!)

21 thoughts on “SWAGr for January 2020”

  1. My February goal is to write a shot story and enter it into a writing competition by the end of the month. Basic steps to that goal:
    1. Pick a contest ending in late February or the month the March from the Poets & Writers Grants & Awards database.
    2. Write a short story – aiming for the middle range of their word count.
    3. Revise and polish.
    4. If I have time, post it here for critique.
    5. Triple check the rules of the contest and follow all of them to the letter.
    6. Submit finished short story before midnight February 29.

  2. My goal is to attend a local writing group for the first time and to enter my 4 stories in competitions.
    I am also making an annual subscription to The Writing Magazine.
    My attempt to organise my writing continues.

  3. I’ve just been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’ve already fought a lifetime of battles with Depression, Anxiety, and ADHD, but hearing this – and feeling the incredible difference that my box light makes in my energy and mood – makes me so much more determined to beat the odds and become a professional writer! Now I understand why I kept losing the initiative and desire to work on my fiction! Now I have a bright beacon of hope to fight it with. (Seriously, I could slap a sticker on this box light and call for Batman.)

    I’m trying to be smart about it and set my first goals at a moderate level, like easing your way back into the gym.

    1 – Average 750 words per day in January.
    2 – Finish one short story first draft.

    That’s it. If I do better, awesome.

    1. Oh congrats on getting that diagnosis and what is, I hope, the beginnings of a way to fight it.

      Glad you’re here and making commitments. Love the tiny goals! (Which aren’t actually that tiny. Manageable, maybe?)

  4. For the first time ever, I have BOTH a personal planner and a writing planner. Every January I go through every closet, every drawer, the file cabinet, etc. and clean out/get rid of. I’ve already “done” my desk, so tomorrow it’s on to the closet here in the study. Believe it or not, all this cleaning/tossing is empowering when it comes to writing–because I am OLD and need lots of sit-down breaks. LOL
    So my January goals are:
    1. Write two chapters a week until this dirty darn novel is rewritten for the umpteenth time.
    2. Start journaling again twice a week.
    3. Scale back blogging from 3X/week to 2X/week.
    4. Post daily on my FB author page.
    Enjoy reading everyone’s goals–I couldn’t do a lot of them, but I’m betting you all can! We all press on!

  5. I used Julie’s annual review to help come up with realistic goals for this year. In hindsight, I did not maintain a good school/life balance last year and my writing (and fitness and poor, poor garden) only received intermittent attention.

    This month my primary goal is to begin a new writing schedule. Once school starts later this month it will only be 30 minutes a day but it’ll be 30 more minutes than before!

    -I plan to write a story for every season so this month I’ll be working on Winter.

    -This year, one goal is to write and submit 6 stories so this month I’ll work on character development and plotting #1.

    I’m so encouraged to see all the other commenters and see all the different stages everyone is in! Happy writing 🙂

  6. December 2019 was weird. I left a soul-sucking job on the 7th, took a week to get my head out of 10-hour data entry mode and back into creative mode with plans to revise an MG book and seek publishing opportunities. Then my youngest kitty (5 yrs.) got sick on the 19th and crossed over on the 30th. Today, the 1st day of a new decade and a new year, I am pulling myself out of a funk to discover (re-discover) myself this month by:
    1. Writing a dystopian cozy story
    2. Submitting story to an anthology
    3. Unearthing and beginning the rewrite on said MG book
    4. Updating my website
    5. Announce a unique 12th night Tarot-related project
    6. Spend some me time on me (knitting, reading, daily fresh air jaunts)

    1. So sorry to hear about the kitty, but glad you’ve freed yourself from the soul-sucking job.

      I love your plan, especially that you’re building in ‘me time’. It’s so important.

      Also, announcing a 12th night Tarot project sounds interesting. You KNOW I’m a fan of making things public 😉

  7. Deciding that this is NOW and time to write….discovering how rusty I am from not actually doing any significant writing for so long….goals for January:
    –write something (anything) every day.
    –publish five pieces of writing to MEDIUM (first one already submitted!)
    –start keeping track (in one organized spot!) of all ideas for stories, poems and essays.

    1. Rusty…yes, I know how that goes. Glad you’re planning to write “something (anything) every day”. That’s a great way to slough off the rust. Just stay alert to when you start to get disatisfied. It doesn’t mean that your new efforts aren’t working; rather it means that you’re ready for a new challenge. That’s the point where ‘something (anything)’ might need to morph into more concrete goals. No rush, though!

      What do you write about on Medium?

      How are you planning to keep track of your ideas? Paper? Online? I’m endlessly curious about other people’s systems and how (if) they work!!

      1. I happen to belong to Medium to follow some other folks, so I’m just using it to write my short thought/essays for now. The one I submitted today is called “Resolutions”.

        I have a Bullet Journal for tracking a number of things, and I’ve added a section for Writing Ideas. It lives on my desk, where I spend a lot of time, including most of my writing time, and where my computer is. I also will just put stuff in my phone on my notes app when I’m away from home. Haven’t started doing that yet, but I find I often get ideas when I”m driving, or away for a day or two, but I don’t want to carry my notebook around with me. I have ADD and I tend to lose and misplace things that aren’t nailed down!

        Thanks for your suggestions re: the morphing goals, etc. I love the short story format, so I’m betting that some of my ideas might turn into stories before long. Thanks for the support, I’m hoping to make lots of use of your site!

  8. This is my first time with SWAGr. The beginning of a new year seems very appropriate. I will write to a daily prompt, but I can’t promise a “Story-a-Day.” I will attempt to write three posts this month, one on each of my blogs. (A writers group blog, a blog on books, authors, and reading, and a devotional blog on Scripture.)
    I’m going on a two week cruise in just 3 days, so I’ll see how I do with this challenge.

    1. Welcome to SWAGr!

      The beginning of the year does have that lovely ‘clean slate’ feeling, but remember we’re not striving for perfection here. Just for ‘a bit more than I was doing before’ 🙂

      I don’t really encourage people to write a story a day year ’round, so no worries there. I think your goals of three posts on the blogs is a great and manageable amount. That way you can put some real thought into them.

      And I might refer you to Jeannie’s comment here, where she said she’s aiming to write ‘something (anything)’ every day. I’m doing that myself: what Julia Cameron calls ‘morning pages’. I’m setting myself a challenge to see how many days I can write first (before answering email or doing other admin stuff) before I crack. I’m aiming for ‘every day’ but I’m not going to be a perfectionist. I’m more interested in watching, collecting data, seeing what derails me or what keeps me on track, and what the practice buys me.

      Looking forward to hearing how you get on!

  9. Hi, all! And happy new year,

    My December goals were to finish a story for an end of month submission date, work on the novella-in-progress, and the first draft of an already outlined romance novella.

    While I did work on the first two, I ended up ditching all my plans and returning to my almost finished novel. After several weeks of work on it, it is now less almost finished than it was, but I have big plans for it.

    I’m renting a space to work in, rescheduling my day job hours, and treating the novel as a part-time job for the next few months. My plan is to have it in a submittable state by end of March. I think this is an ambitious, but doable goal.

    For January, I’m re-writing the first half of the novel with new/more subplots, fewer characters and points of view, and more concrete worldbuilding.

    1. This is very exciting! I was just thinking that I need to schedule some time to do something like this for one/some of the novels I have in various states of completion. (In my case, it probably won’t happen this year, but I’m excited for you!)

      Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  10. Reflection
    1. In December, I revised the short story I submitted for critique of StoryADay.org. I revised it before posting it a second time, and I revised it after receiving the second round of feedback.
    2. I found homes for three of my old poems. I’ve been told they’ll be published January 16. I submitted two more old poems yesterday, and I’m waiting to hear about those.
    3. Another of my poems was published December 11.
    4. All I did on my blog this month was announced the above publication.
    5. I did not work on any novels in December.

    January 2020 Goals
    1. Revise the poems I’ve submitted for critique on Scribophile.com.
    2. Play with the writer software and resources that are included in my writer infostack package and decide if I want to move my novel information over to any of these sites.
    3. Begin working on character back stories and an outline for the novel version of my Snow White retelling.
    4. Post on my blog about my December and January reading and my publications since the last post.

    1. Congrats on the upcoming publications!!

      And I’m excited to hear that Snow White is going to be a novel!

    2. Congrats on the poetry publications! Wondering where you can be found? I also submit poetry here and there….

  11. Last year in review:
    Wrote a total of 119,042 words out of my 150k goal. Posted a ton of fanfics. Got accepted into a publishing anthology!!! Began working full time. Less fun.

    But Woo! 2020!!

    I’m doing something radical this year: journaling. I’ve never been able to keep a journal, but I’ve bought the Hero’s Journal that will help because it’s guided.

    I’ve lowered my word goal for this year to 75,000 words. Since I’m working now (and plan to be for the foreseeable future), I need a reasonable, but slightly challenging goal.

    I’ve got several old things I need to finish in this first quarter, but I’m confident if I just focus on them, I’ll get them done.

    Main goals for January:
    Finish an old commission. Finish both FTH projects I neglected this last year. Begin older commission. Sketch outline for Anthology. Have some fun, too.

    1. Congrats on the anthology acceptance. That’s fabulous. Also, that word count is pretty darned impressive, especially considering the job!

      I’m excited for 2020 too.

      When do you plan to journal? Will you do it on a set schedule? I tend to write when I need it (or first thing in the morning). I’m consistent in that I come back to the journal all the time, but inconsistent in that I don’t write every day.

      I applaud your decision to lower the word count goal. I’m sure that didn’t come easily, but I love the idea of acknowledging the change in circumstances and setting a goal you can reach (and possibly blow past!).

      As you say, Woo! 2020!

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