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!)
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. )
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65 thoughts on “SWAGr – Accountability for June 2018”
I am super late with posting my goals this month but need to stay accountable!
This month I only have 1-2 goals: to finish edits on my first poetry zine and the second short story zine accompanied by photos. Once I finish this and order the booklets, I’ll get back to finishing some scary stories I have had on the back burner so I can compile them into a self-published horror anthology. Trying to keep to one project at a time to avoid burn out!
OK, it’s June 6 and I’m finally getting to the SWAGr post. I’m a very bad leader! 😉
What did I commit to last month? It’s probably a bad thing that I can’t even remember, isn’t it? But in my defense it was a long and busy month!
WHAT I PROMISED TO DO:
* Post all the prompts- DONE (so proud of myself, esp as I was posting two versions of all the prompts this year!)
* Hang out with the superstars — Yay! This was not a hardship
* Write every day – I wrote SOMETHING every day, though I’m not sure I could claim complete stories…
* Don’t ignore my husband’s birthday, coming up in June! — I did not ignore his big round-number birthday! This also explains why I wasn’t posting on June 1. There may have been a fancy lunch. And cocktails.
WHAT I WILL DO IN JUNE
* I will write and polish one story, ready to be sent out into the world
* I will polish up and re-send out the stories that bounced back in Jan-April
* I will read through some craft books about revision and decide on a plan for my novel
* I will pursue my secret-squirrel goal that I’m not talking about yet.
* I will read a ton of short stories and finish the 2 novels I’m actively reading.
* I will do some StoryADay admin stuff behind the scenes.
* I will take lots of time to hang out with my visiting parents and my off-school kids. I will continue to write fiction throughout June, as an act of self-care and sanity (love my family, but the introvert needs what the introvert craves…)
That seems like more than enough. I will report back on July 1!
Good luck everyone, and don’t forget there’s the podcast to listen to and the Write On Wednesday writing prompts to comment on, so we can all get mid-month accountability check ins (even if you don’t write to the Wednesday prompt).
Lovely goals! And happy Round-Number birthday to your husband, too!
OK – I’m really late posting here, and don’t have the time to finish reading and commenting on everyone else’s posts first, the way I wanted to. But here are me belated-but-in-progress SWAGr goals for June:
1. I submit my short story “R.I.P. Left Shoe” (crafted in May, alongside my fan fiction for the challenge) to the Little Bird Writing Contest – GOAL COMPLETED!!!
2. I finish spot revisions, posting, and sharing my May 27-31 stories.
3. I attend the final Superstars Hangout and connect with fellow serious writing-folk. GOAL COMPLETED!!!
4. I draft a short story each week using the Write On Wednesday prompt.
5. I draft, revise, and post a flash fiction story to #thursthreads each week, using the prompt.
6. I complete the JuNoWriMo challenge: 50,00o words split between 2 Kifo Island novels – Still Nameless and The Last House.
7. Over the course of the month, I visit all other SWAGr commenters.
8. I post my July SWAGr goals on July 1. =D
I love the fact that you wrote your goals as if they have already been achieved. I think I’m going to steal that!
Glad you made it to the Superstars Hangout!
I’m glad I made it, too!
I’m not sure where I read this form of goal-setting, but the “I” statement written in the present tense tends to be believed by our brains, which then set about making those circumstances true.
For me, it means I focus on possibilities rather than obstacles, and writing goals this way has definitely made me both more productive and more efficient!
And…steal away! =D
After doing the challenge has anyone ever gone through the prompts again in the same order the very next month? I was thinking about how differently I might write from them in the same order the very next month. Maybe I will try that in July….hmmmmm
I feel like I need to do that, myself! Maybe in September…
Hi! I’m Elizabeth.
I loved doing Story a Day. Completing it made me feel like I could punch through a wall. A wall made of goals.
About five years ago I was merrily and erratically writing and occasionally publishing a story or two, and then I hit a block. Mostly that block was about not feeling like I had a good sense of pretty much any of the skill set it takes to write a good story. When I did succeed, it felt like a fluke, and that scared me. (Yes, I am familiar with imposter syndrome.)
Since then I’ve been skill building and writing in some lower pressure venues and just working on craft. I’ve found myself at a juncture where I need to make my writing into more of a revenue stream (or find a job that pays more: yuck!). I’m feeling a lot more like I know what I’m doing, I guess? And well? Onward and upward?
So this month, my goals are to resuscitate my blog, edit and submit some of this pile of short stories I’m sitting on (thanks, Story a Day!), and reread the two half novel drafts I’ve been sitting on for a while now, preparatory to trying to finish them during July / Camp Nano.
You were certainly a rockstar participant this May, and I love the image of you punching through walls. Yeahhh!
Though we love short stories, here, don’t neglect other streams of income that can come from writing (copy writing and magazine articles springs to mind as nice little side hustles). I highly recommend Jane Friedman’s book The Business of Being A Writer if you are looking to make money from this talent.
But yes, start by sending out those stories!
Concise Goal: My writing goal for June is to compose, edit, and post at least two blog posts.
verbose version: I intended to do Story a Day May this year, and got knocked off track by being diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. This is a totally curable cancer, but it will involve 6 weeks of chemo and radiation, then 4 months of chemo, then surgery. It is entirely reasonable to expect to be cancer free after all of that, so that’s my goal.
In all honesty, I had stopped writing over a year ago, when my heart condition developed into actual heart failure. I claimed I didn’t have the energy to write, that working full time and basic self care was all I could manage, which wasn’t untrue. Heart failure make any effort feel huge, and the medication to control it causes fatigue on top of that. If I’m being really honest, though, I didn’t write because I didn’t want to face how I felt/feel about being chronically ill. Writing is one of the best ways to tune into how I truly feel, and I didn’t know if I could go there and survive.
Heck, here I just meant to post a writing goal, and it’s developed into a barrage of emotional mess.
No, cancer hasn’t shocked me into writing again. A surprising number of people want to keep up with how my treatment is going. I know I won’t be able to remember who I’ve updated about what. The need to have some kind of central “state of the Hope” information has pushed me back to making words. I know it’s not inspirational, but it is true 🙂
In the attempt to write a blandly factual account of my state of health, I know I will find myself going into deep contemplations on how this all feels, and what it all means (if anything) to me. I may not publish those parts, but I might. And if I let all of the scary stuff out via writing, I might, maybe, do a bit of creative writing. I might even come to terms with the state of my health.*
*Mind you, I’m not holding my breath on that one, just acknowledging that acceptance is, theoretically, possible.
Hey. I’m a newbie here, but I just wanted to say all strength to you and my best wishes for the best possible outcome on all fronts.
Hi Hope, Thanks so much for sharing this here. I totally understand the fear of examining difficult things too closely.
Interesting to hear that your writing is being channeled into the State of The Hope (love that!). I feel sure that your updates will be so valuable to the people who love you. Giving of yourself and sharing your experiences is a gift. Using your talents, on your own terms, to let people participate in your care (even long distance) is something to celebrate. And you’re in charge. You share what and when you want.
Wishing you all the luck and skilled-doctors the world can send your way. And I look forward to inviting you back into Superstars in September!
June…here I am in the early minutes of the 3rd and I am listening to Julie and thinking about goals. For this month I am planning just to write occasionally. I know that when I can make my writing a full time job I will do amazing things but right now I am lucky to write something like this in the hours when the household sleeps. I miss reading for pleasure so this month I will read two books. I will write one short story and edit it. I may even send it out into the world but I wont promise anything even to myself. That is enough. I want to create more art but I cannot see the surface of my desk yet so I may have to work around that. A big drop in expectations but probably more realistic and achievable. All the best for the next month everyone.
Resting and rejuvenating is definitely an OK plan, by me. I think it’s important not to let too much time go by between writing things down, only so that it doesn’t seem like such a big deal, the next time you do carve out time and desk space, but you have to go with what you can manage! Reading is definitely an excellent plan for June.
I don’t know what my specific goals are yet. I mean, i know my big goal is to find a publisher again, but the more real goals between here and there I’m not sure of.
I am sure the goals will emerge. Keep writing and they will reveal themselves!
For today the goal is to start revisions on my sci-fi fairytale. We’ll see how it goes!
Good luck! How long do you usually set to revise? I know you get interrupted of course, but do you start with a target time?
Of course finding a publisher is such a different job from writing the thing in the first place. Balancing the two can be tricky. You probably need some Steps I Will Take for whichever one is most likely to get neglected (I suspect that might be the ‘finding a publisher’ one.)
Duotrope.com has agent listings now. I’ve been comparing them to the ones in PublishersMarketplace, which is a lot more expensive, and they seem legit. Maybe that’s your first step: write a query and start pitching to agents…
(*Oops, that’s actually more like 5 steps: write a query; have someone critique it; revise query; research agents; send queries to agents…)
Yeah, I know I’m neglecting the agent thing. I have the WIP and I have another finished manuscript, which maybe I could shop around. Though I say “finished” but I’m not sure.
I know, it seems like an annoying extra step but I think it’s the only way to get anywhere in trad publishing unless you want to stick with small, indie publishers. And a good agent is an ally.
And as to “finished”, you only need to polish up your first 50 pages for now, in case you get a super-quick request for pages. Then you’ll have lots of time to polish the rest while you wait for most of the agents to get back to you (or not)!
I need to get better at posting my stories to my anonymous blog that I keep.
I think I’m too much of a perfectionist and that hinders my progress, a lot.
So once a week in June I will post a story to the blog, even if it’s imperfect, short, and I don’t feel satisfied with it.
Oo, I love the ‘aversion therapy’ idea, here. Do you have a crowd of readers at the blog? Or is it enough just to know it’s out there?
I do not have the huge crowd…yet! 😉 It’s enough for me to know that my work is kinda sorta self published. And that makes me feel like I have achieved some small victory!
My plan for May was to continue with the last-before-I-let-other-people-read-it edit of my novel and do 5 stories a week for Story A Day. I got 20 stories done (some much better than others!), so that was great. The editing continues, slowly.
So, for June, the editing needs to get finished. That is the main goal. Otherwise, I have some new ideas for longer pieces (another novel, a couple of novellas) that I’m mulling over. And I want to get a couple of short stories written/polished and submitted by the end of the month (there are two deadlines I’m working towards).
Good luck, everyone.
I participate in a mini-challenge, loosely organized over Twitter with another writer, where we pledge to write 12 short stories in 12 months #12for12. (The idea being that it’s one a month, so the 20 you just wrote would only count once!)
It is helping to keep me focused on trying to create one crafted and polished story a month.
I planned to participate in StoryADay, but my novel revisions seemed to want my attention. Plus, significant upcoming changes in my paying job are requiring me to spend most of my time on that. The end result was that I drafted two original drabbles for StoryADay. Don’t know whether I will do anything more with them in the future. (Will there be a StoryFest this year?) I also reviewed and made comments on thirty-one pages of my novel rough draft. In the interest of honesty, this doesn’t mean that I looked at a page a day. Some days I looked at several, other days I looked at none.
I’m keeping my goal for this month simple because I still have a lot of work outside of writing to do. My goal is to look at a page of my novel rough draft per day.
I often find that my novels start yelling for attention about five days into StoryADay… 🙂
I love your goal. “look at a page of my novel rough draft” sounds like a tiny thing, but I suspect it’ll be very powerful.
I was hoping to complete the StoryADay challenge, but got sacked from my day job in the middle of the month and haven’t been able to focus on writing ever since.
My goal for June is to start writing again. One story a week, maybe. Baby steps.
That really sucks about your job. I hope things turn around soon and that you start writing again. Do what you can!
hope you find new employment soon and that you can find it in you to write and write and write.
Oh Dan! I’m so sorry to hear that. That would certainly hijack your brain cycles.
I hope you can manage some writing this month (maybe we’ll be reading some darker stories from you as you kill off fictional versions of bosses who done you wrong). And I certainly hope you have a brief and successful job search.
Last month I completed Story A Day. This month, I’m doing two things: 1) joining this group (check!), and 2, starting a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – if anyone has worked with this book before I’d love feedback!
I have gone through the book about 3 times. I love the artist’s dates.
The morning pages were good for me. I went back and reread some a couple weeks ago because I found them…funny enough I referenced people I have NO RECOLLECTION of now…perfect for story characters! ha ha
Thank you, Tammy! I’m excited about it.
I really enjoyed The Artist’s Way. It did a lot to get me to write my first novel. I’ve been thinking, actually, of pulling it back off the shelf and giving it another go.
I found it on my shelf too. The book keeps getting mentioned in different place for me.
Cameron and suddenly.Todd Henry too…☺
Thank you, Marta!
Hey David! I’m planning to carry over my Story a Day habit into spending some time here as well. (Just fyi, I consider you my comments buddy. Let me know if you would like a different title.)
I’ve worked with The Artist’s Way and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it’s good and maybe even important to spend some time doing unstructured writing like the morning pages or any kind of timed writing as a sort of writer’s equivalent of playing scales. Writers tend not to practice enough, I think? We want everything to be a good, usable piece of story right out of the gate.
Eventually, I craved structured fiction writing too much to continue morning pages, but I did that or similarly unstructured writing for quite a long time, and filled many notebooks!
Haha, I consider you to be my comments buddy as well! Thanks for the notes. I’ve been doing the morning pages for 4 days now and I’m enjoying them. After Story-A-Day, it’s nice to still feel like I’m getting my reps in while not having to stress about deciding what to write about.
Also, I saw the note you posted about your blog in the Day 31 comments, I checked it out and saw you posted the story about Chris you’d mentioned earlier. It was very powerful, and I really appreciate that you wrote it, thank you.
“Writers tend not to practice enough, I think? We want everything to be a good, usable piece of story right out of the gate.”
Excellent point!! I think this is where StoryADay intersects with the principals behind The Artist’s Way, and of course Anne Lamott’s principal of the “sh*tty first draft”. We need to practice!
Yes I worked through during the winter, guided by the inspirational Sam Brightwell! It’s fabulous and has got me to follow two passions. Textile art and writing. I put a great deal in to doing The Artists Way and loved doing it. I also got a great deal out. Good Luck David.
Thanks so much, Wendy!
I LOVED the Artist’s Way. I think I went through it for the first time in 2000 and it was so empowering. It definitely informs my approach, here at StoryADay. That and a book by Brenda Ueland, called “If You Want To Write”. It’s very old-fashioned, but I loved it.
Watch out for that week when Julia Cameron forbids you to read anything. It’s incredibly difficult and incredibly rewarding.
Oh, and congrats on your stellar StoryADay May efforts. Not only did you write, but you turned up and commented every day. I’ve noticed that when people do that, they tend to make it a very successful writing month for themselves.
My reflection and goals are here:
I will carry the Story-A-Day momentum into June and complete the draft of my novel “The Sting in the Tale.” I also will complete a 5K word short story due in June for my writing group’s collection.
I also love the name of the novel. Since I finally got a webcam, I hope to see you (and be seen) at the last chat!
Don’t let that deadline get to you. Remember: get the first draft done! Then you can tweak until you’re on the verge on insanity, at which point the deadline will appear, to rescue you.
GERRI here. I sent a story to Women’s World & got a “we like it and will let you know”. They did ask for my mailing address. The other thing I did was send my picture book to Picture Book agency.
I’m very happy about this.
This month, I’ll send out my romance story to an agency.
Big Scary Leaps of Faith here! Congrats on the note, and wishing you the best of luck for both projects!
That’s awesome! Good luck!
I’ve written two pages of A4 lined paper everyday since last November, which is a serious step forward form me! The quality leaves much to be desired but at least I am turning up at the page!
The emails have inspired me and kept my enthusiasm high.
This month I plan to read through my many poems and short stories in the hope I can find more of a focus for my writing.
I am really enjoying writing being part of my day again and I want to move it forward.
This sounds like it could be a lovely process, especially when paired with the beverage of your choice. =D
Turning up and writing is the first step. Well done!
I find that when I start to feel vaguely discontented with my writing, it means I’m ready to push myself to try something new. I just mention that, so that you’re prepared. When you start to feel discontented with what you’re doing now, maybe it’ll be time to start revising/rewriting or it might be something else completely.
Good for you for being willing to write even when ‘the quality leaves something to be desired’. It’s so important to get comfortable with that!
This month I’m going to be taking a short break from writing (i.e. not writing every single day). I’ve got one fanfic due by the end of June, but I already know exactly what I want to write, so getting there won’t be a problem.
Mostly, I’m gonna focus on reading. I’ve got a ton of books I need to read that I haven’t had a chance to get to, so I’m gonna get through those.
Other than that, I have a 10k and a 5k fanfic to write, but I don’t have to worry about them until July.
What are some of the books you’ll be reading?
A lot of library books:
Voodoo Queen (Biography of Marie Laveau)
The Secret History of the Mongol Queens (history)
Undead Girl Gang (YA)
Rebound (YA, poetry)
Last Seen Leaving (YA)
The Ones that Got Away (Short Stories, Horror)
White is for Witching (Short Stories)
The Night Language (Historical, Queer)
What Should Be Wild (Fantasy)
And that’s just the first round I need to finish soon!
Some of the titles are new to me. So, thanks! I’m always looking to add to my list.
Thanks for the list! I am adding them to my TBR as well. There were almost all new to me…unusual !
Thanks for sharing
I’m planning on doing some serious reading in August. Enjoy! =D
Joined late in the season. But, am glad I stumbled upon Story-A-Day. Good work, Julie.
I really found your “story prompts” methodology to work wonders in jump starting daily writing.
Glad to have you here. So glad the prompts worked for you. I’ll be running this all over agin in September, so pencil it in, and keep writing!