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. )
21 thoughts on “SWAGr – Accountability for October 2017”
Hmm, it’s Oct 6 and my goals for the month haven’t crystalized yet. Bad, Julie!
Last month I turned out a stack of 100 word stories as promised and have been posting some of them on Instagram, which is fun. I’m going to try to keep that up at least once a week, this month, because it gets me jazzed about writing and sharing my work. So much of this is about confidence and belief in ourselves. This is something I do that makes me feel good about my writing. So I should continue that.
* I’m focused on running the October Critique Week group next week. It’s always inspiring to critique other people’s writing, so I’m looking forward to that. But between that and an impending family visit, there might not be a huge amoutn of time for short story writing.
* I’m committed to turning out a new chapter of the work-in-progress novel for my IRL critique group to see, next week, and then another before the end of the month. I’m going to try to get to my 10,000 words of fiction goal.
I need to plan my writing goals for the next 3 months and the next 18-24 months. I have some ambitious things in mind, that will need plans.
* I have so many ideas about what I’d like to do around short fiction. I pledge to think about them and decide on my strategy, and a plan for the next few months.
* I’m going to keep writing fiction first thing in the morning, because that is working so well for me. I have a tendency to find something that works and then think “Oh well, I’m cured! I obviously don’t need to stick to that thing that works, anymore!”. So I’m going to NOT engage in that insanity, this month 🙂
I managed to write one new short story draft every day in September. Only published a few of them online, so I didn’t technically meet my goal for the month. Still, I think it will be better to give the pieces some time and go through a proper revision process before publishing them. I see a lot of potential in some of them and want to make sure they are as good as they can be before I send them out to the world.
I sat to write down my goals for October and this is what I came up with:
– Complete a daily posting challenge on Medium.com
– Publish 3-4 short stories every week for the Medium partnership program
– Submit short stories to one contest per week
– Write more poetry
– Complete a novel outline for NaNoWriMo
– Translate a few of my short stories into Spanish
– Complete an outline for a non-fiction book
– Post once a week on my blog
– Find a local writers group
– Enrol in a creative writing course
At this point of the list, I realised I was losing my mind. This definitely needs some streamlining. I don’t know what I should drop and what I should keep.
Oh Dan, I sooooo sympathise. I had this scattered, do-it-all urge for years.
Something that has helped me streamline is to figure out what my long-term goals are. Do I want to continue to grow StoryADay? Do I want to become well-known in my niche? Do I want to hunker down and write novels? Do I want to get short stories published (by other people)?
Since, of course, the answer to all of those is ‘yes’, I have to focus on the next few years, or even the next 18 months.
Once I prioritized those things, it became much easier (though not entirely easy) to see where I should be focusing my time and what steps I should be taking to push forward the projects that matter most to me at the moment. I’m also keeping in mind, where I’d like to be in 6 years (the year my younger kid leaves school!). When I sit down to work, I can do things simply because they entertain me, but I’m also more likely to knock out the things that are on my priority list first.
If you’re going to make serious progress in any area, you need to pick one or two, perhaps areas that are complimentary and that don’t feel like a grind when you settle down to do them. Stick with them for 2-3 months. Let the other stuff go for now. And maybe, in a couple of months you’ll realise that you picked the wrong ones; that they DO feel like a grind and you have come to dread doing the work you’ve set yourself. And you know what? That’s OK. Re-target and resume. Better to make a switch two months from now than to flutter about among all of them, depending on your mood that day. (Ask me how I know…)
So my assignment for you this month, if you’re willing to accept it, is this: rather than committing to the tasks on your list, do some serious journalling, planning and thinking about your GOALS. Think about where you want your writing to be in 18 months (thinking longer-term, at this point, gets a bit pie-in-the-sky but you can certainly do some of that too).
Then, decide on what you will commit to doing, in one or two areas by the end of the year. Even if that commitment means slacking off on some of the other things on your list. Put those things on a “revisit these next April” list (or whatever works for you).
And seriously, give yourself a couple of months to focus on your top priorities before you make any changes. Don’t zig-zag and change things up more often than that.
Remember, there’s no rush. Every piece of writing you do will teach you something.
What do you think?
I’m a few days late (which is in keeping with how my September went!).
My plans for September were:
*to use the Story a Day prompts (about 750 word stories or outliens): I didn’t do all of them, but did manage 8 or 9 (was quite pleased with them).
*work on the novel in progress (draft 2!), by taking a short online class on the ‘first 50 pages’ and otherwise: The class was super helpful, although of course it has created more work for me.
*finish a short story in progress for an anthology call. I did not finish, but I have found a new (hopefully more useful) approach to take.
And for October:
*more on the novel. I am currently working on strengthening my sense of the characters and fine tuning the beginning. I am going to science fiction convention mid-month and am registered for a couple of writing workshops that I am looking forward to.
*finish the *#(*# short story I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of months.
*debate Nanowrimo with myself.
Hope you all have a good month!
I love your updates, Monique. They are always inspiring.
I’m currently shying away from revising a novel, myself. I wonder if I need to sign myself up for a course to force me to make time for it…
And ah, the annual “will I or won’t I” of NaNoWriMo. I’m fairly sure I won’t, but I did enjoy it the couple of times I took part. Maybe I’ll put it on the schedule for next year…
Good luck with your plans!
I didn’t make any commitments at the beginning of September, but I did manage your 20 x 100 word flash fictions to the suggested topics, which was a lot of fun!
I now have a 3 x 300 words competition I’ve paid for to complete by mid-month and a completely blank sheet of paper on them (which doesn’t daunt me at all!), though I was spectacularly unsuccessful when I entered the same thing 3 months ago and having read the winners, I need to be savvier/wackier and less linear in my storytelling to see if I can outsmart the judges this time 😉
I also have a regular short story I need to do by the 4th and have managed to put together 750/1000 of it this morning, so I’m going to let that simmer for a few hours and see what I can add/change/edit tomorrow to make the very defined 24 hours I’m allowed to submit.
On a more commercial note, I really do understand the structure of the ‘business’ I want to write into (20 x readable but not perfect 10K stories – a size I can manage, I think, though my tendency is ‘the shorter the better’), but I’ve been struggling to clarify what’s holding me back. I want to write to a financial gain, but something is getting in my way. I know I don’t like revision and editing and I already have 4/5 stories (including last year’s 62K NaNoWriMo) that I have had edited and then I have frozen. So I have a psychological ‘obstacle’ I’d like to crack somehow – appreciating that you have it is half the battle, I believe (I am a coach in my day job!). I also acknowledge that I have a domestic challenge mixed with time management where my boundaries for being disturbed are simply not clear enough, nor do I have a writing regime. All this need to be bottomed out before I can make bigger progress towards my longer-term goals.
Because I really do like writing. I love it in the moment though and finding a structure that works for me to make business of it has eluded me.
Oo, Martin, lots of meat in this post. You’ve got the cogs in my brain turning.
We should definitely talk…
I write almost every day poetry. Short and sweet :). I need to get ready for NaNoWriMo and I plan to prepare the plan of the novel. The idea is older, but will pick it up again and draft the main characters and the action plan on how I want to achieve the word count.
I will still write poetry :), which I always publish on my insta or fb accounts @AmanitaByNight .
I love it that you’re writing little complete works almost every day. Keep up the good work!
Going from poetry to NaNo-Noveling seems like quite a jump, but maybe it isn’t. Do you find the constant creativity helps with the longer works?
I’d love to hear more about your action plan to achieve the word count.
Well, I wrote every day in Sept – some of those days were poetry. Now, I plan to revise at least one or two of the stories I wrote and submit them to a couple contests. I’m also going to go back and listen to the podcasts I missed in Sept. I picked up an Alice Munro book at a used book sale, so I’ll be doing some reading too.
Well done, Candace!
Isn’t it lovely to have a bank of stories you can revise and slot into submission calls?
Glad to hear you’re reading and catching up on podcasts too.
My plan for this month is to write at least 750 words every day. I’ve got a couple of fic exchanges to do, plus I’ve started on a new mystery, so that’s been exciting. I’m going to use this to gear up for NaNo, so even if I don’t get the total wordcount, I’ll still be getting close to it.
Smart plan. I’m finding my natural daily rhythm has me producing 1300 words before I feel like taking a break. Not enough to fulfill a NaNo writing day, but if I can get those 1300 words done, and then come back later in the day, it grows.
Breaking the back of that first 750 words is a great way to get ready.
Do you have a novel idea yet? And will you set aside the new mystery?
I don’t really have one planned yet. I’m thinking about leaving the mystery alone until November, but if I suddenly get an idea for it, I’m going to go ahead with it before I forget.
My big writing goal for October is finishing my dissertation. If I have bandwidth to spare, I will be gearing up for NaNoWriMo 😀
Sending good vibes and lots of focus your way for the dissertation. I’m sure that feels overwhelming, but imagine how awesome you’re going to feel when you hand it in!!
Only a writer would think “NaNoWriMo might make a nice vacation after my dissertation…” 😉
*as the first post, not is 🙁
What I’ll do:
Write at least 390 words each day the completion of a rough draft of my novel.
Publish at least one spooky short story is the first post on my blog.
Notes and Achievements:
The story that was accepted at the end of August has been published. See my pinned tweet.
The StoryADay story that I submitted somewhere has been rejected again this month. I may post it on my blog, or I may post a new story.
The goal of writing a scene a day for the rough draft of my novel proved to be too ambitious in light of my other commitments. My scenes have been longer than I thought they would be — usually close to 1000 words. However, I did make progress on the WIP every day this month, except for one that I can recall.
A story for every time and place
Facebook profile: Facebook.com/LisaRutledgeauthor
Lisa, congrats on getting that story published! And good for you, for continuing to look for a home for the other one.
A scene a day does seem ambitious, given that we often need time for research and thinking. But it sounds like just having the goal has helped you make progress.
Is your 390 words a day an average number over the week/month, or do you make yourself write everyday? I know different strategies work for different people (some people find it easier to write every single day, so there’s no negotiation, where others are happy if they hit the average in a month). I’m always curious to know how people approach this.
Good luck with your October goals!
Lately, my plan has always been to reach my target word count each day. I don’t always get there, but that’s the plan.
Being involved in StoryADay last May made it a lot more common for me to reach my goal (Thanks!), even though at the time I was actually writing short stories and not working on a longer project. StoryADay gave me extended practice at not judging myself, just getting words down instead because getting words down every day keeps me in a much better mood. In periods where I haven’t written every day, I found that the more I don’t write, the harder it becomes to write. It’s like I forget how, and then I get depressed because I can’t write.
I came up with the 390 words each day because I keyed into a program that I have what I thought would be the eventual completed word count of the project. Then I keyed in when I wanted to have a draft finished. The program told me how many words I needed to write each day in order to accomplish that. The program is called WritewayPro.
Love it! And thanks for expanding on how StoryADay helped with your process. I find the same thing, but you’ve expressed it beautifully. I feel sooooo much better when I’m writing, and it gets easier the more you do (even if the actual writing itself isn’t easy)
I’m also a fan of the arbitrary goal. It’s better than no goal at all.
Thanks for sharing.