Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Saturday, January 06, 2007

2006 GDR Round-Up


What project(s) did I leave unfinished last year that I need to finish for my own peace of mind?

A Friend To Die For - 40% complete -Started doing catch-up in June but got caught in other things. Slick for NaNoWriMo took over totally in November - 70k in one month.
Stella - Completed in May. Sent out on submission after several re-writes and beta reading. The band, Yello, declined to be involed. Several publishers still waiting.
Working with Websites - 65% complete - No work done to date. Found it hard to get motivated enough with this and too much other work I considered priority. Technical writing isn't creative - it's technical and requitres a different frame of mind.

What creative goals do I want to achieve over the next year?

* Complete Stella and A Friend to Die For - Stella completed in May. A Friend to Die For scheduled for June but never got touched.
* Complete drafting and development of Hunting Jack - Complete. Used it to get back on the rails after New Year. First refraft complete Feb. plus ending re-written. Second re-draft started March. Third draft and new chapter completed in June 06. Out on submission, several agents still waiting.
* Look at developing Jackie McCann as a character - Decided to change ending of Hunting Jack so to make it a possible serial, though this not applied as yet Looking at series of books through Jackie's life. Thought of using NaNoWriMo to write HJ sequel but chose something new in Slick instead.
* Write regular non-fiction articles on areas of interest .i.e step-dad, music, Scotland's arts - written a lot of articles and some were published, nothing regular though.
* Be more involved with Scruffy Dog Editorial work - Story/poetry readings, regular column and book review. Magazine moved to quarterly in November due to work contraints on Ed's and amount of submissions coming in.
* Produce more photographic work - No work done to date. Photo session for Poolside Poetry in September at Portobello Beach - freezing cold in shorts and t-shirt. What fun!
* Adapt What A Waste into a stage play - Not started. Not in pipeline any more.

What financial goals do I want to achieve over the next year?

* This is not my driving force. Getting published and recognised is more important to me. Of course, in the transition from full-time office-worker to full time writer this has to become an issue, but until I feel I am at a certain standard with my writing and inner-belief, then I cannot use it as a means to forward my art.

* Aim to target more paying markets and develop work relations through publications already accepted to. - Made a couple of submissions to Glimmer Train in January. Worked with Wildchild for accepted story, Under the Skin, for March issue. They remembered me from last year and my Heart of a Child story. In Feb, also, several chase-ups to submissions resulted in informal emails in return from editors. Should keep my name fresh with them. Submitted On A Monday Morning in March - more quality correspondence with editor. Received payment for RLS article from Literary Traveler.

* Make Fringe Fantastic as much of a financial success as possible. - Lots of leaflets, cards and posters handed out during Xmas and January month. Book reviewed in Issue 25 of Scotland Magazine and Spring issue of East Lothian Life. New leaflets designed in April. New PR campaign planned for summer festival. Fringe sales poorer than expected in August, although interest was higher than normal, no money made. New ideas for outlets in pipeline at end of 2006.

What creative steps are necessary to achieve these goals?

* Focus more heavily on fiction - Stella and Hunting Jack complete and on submission. Slick worked on heavily in November and December.
* Do lots more research for fictional work - Lots of research needed for HJ, Stella researched heavily. New HJ chapter researched and completed. Some done for Slick but more planned for re-writes in 2007.
* Research, target and develop more paying markets - submissions list now heavily added to in Feb and re-organised to get the best out of my subs. Kept on top of regularly.
* Be more organised with marketing and develop PR relations - working with editors more closely where appropriate. Met a lot of good contacts at the Book Festival.
* Try to make more time to read more books - trying to find time to read is hard. Getting there though. Getting much easier to squeeze in time. Got through more books second half of year.

What steps do I need to take on the technical front to achieve these goals?

* Grammar - Read more books and pay more attention to what other writers do also.
* Internal Thesaurus - Try to take more notice and use my Thesaurus more often, whic I tend to forget I have.
* Editing - I have read more books on this and worked on a process that I continually tighten.
* Upgrade my PC - New RAM cards added in Feb. XP added in April along with broadband connection and multi-ISB port. Need new internal hard drive and processor upgrade to complete the overhaul. Long-term need new monitor (got flat for Xmas), mouse (new) and keyboard (got). In May got hold of new processor, mother board and sound/graphics cards. Need to find time to put this all together. Also tore apart old PC given to me and may be able to use parts in this for upgrade.

What changes do I need to make in my daily life to achieve these goals?

* Continue to convince my friends and family to consider me as a writer first and foremost. - constantly telling people I'm a writer first - Telling people about writing achievements when they happen. Not force-feeding this information though. Made good advances in this through work, the Festival and with friends. The word is spreading.
* Continue to devote time and effort to the act of sitting down to write and of the act of research - Not too hard to manage but do need to still dig deeper and harder with any research I carry out. Hunting Jack needed more research to complete into novel form. NaNoWriMo proved what I can do and the level of writing output I can achieve. No excuses from now on.
* Try to develop my writer's network - lots done on this at Book Festival. Joined two new forums.

What marketing steps are needed to achieve these goals?

* Promote FF to a larger audience including the Fringe Festival in August. - Won't be available first week of August due to family holiday. Plans being prepared. Poorer response than expected.
* Continue to develop the process I built when promoting HJ and FF.
* Develop relations with other writers, editors and journalists - working well with Wildchild and getting valuable experience. Hard to meet writers in Edinburgh for some reason though have joined a meetup group. Still to attend as of November due to date clashes.

How much time each day do I vow to devote to writing?

Weekdays - 4 hours minimum - Not achieved in January. Back to normal Feb. March output excellent and same for year until November when it went through the roof. 5am starts seems to be the key for me.
Weekends - 10 hours minimum - Harder to achieve.Utilising notebooks more and more then transferring stories to PC later.

This is flexible. See working time guide for more information.

With what new type of writing will I experiment with in the coming year?

* Technical writing needs more work - nothing done on this yet
* Poetry for kids - wrote Silly Poems for Wee People Vol.1 for the 2006 PSH Great Poetry Free-For-All e-book project on May 1st. 280 downloads by end of December.


Where do I want to be with my writing in the long-term?

* I want to be a successful and ackowledged writer - I'm more successful and more often recognised by other that this is what I am. With regards to published work, not as mucgh as the previous year but I am building and have been pushing myself into new areas.
* To be able to resign from my job, in the knowledge that I can support my family to at least the standard of living we have now - not there yet.

What will make me refer to myself, first and foremost, as a "writer"?

* Complete A Friend to Die For and Stella - Stella complete
* Complete drafting of Hunting Jack - complete
* Find an agent - in progress via HJ manuscript. HJ being put to the side now.
* Establish myself as a good columnist for TSDR - enjoying the column. Moved to quarterly.
* Be published more regularly in non-fiction markets that are paying and higher quality - being published more this year though paying markets still generally elusive.
* Work with my colleagues to develop The Scruffy Dog Review - ongoing. Now quarterly to provide more focus.
* Persuade others around me to see me as a writer first and an office worker second - ongoing - but significant advances made

What other goals, dreams and resolutions in my non-writing life do I want to work on in tandem with my writing goals?

* Lose my beer gut (or a fair portion of it) - bought a dual action trainer and started using. Then stopped. Found out how unfit I was at the ska festival in Falkirk in April!!! May have lost weght during the year, but no net loss. Not too happy about this.
* Do more DIY around the house - did the bedroom, my office and the downstairs bathroom. However, being married, this is of course never enough.

What new non-writing interests do I wish to add to my life this year?

* Find the time to start fly-fishing again - got the equipment back home. Found a local club that might suit. Started worm cultivation in back garden in May. Nothing more done.
* Develop my tropical aquarium - decided to incorporate my aquarium into my writing by setting up a new blog to follow my experience with my tank and tropical fishes. Tank going well and learning about it all the time. It's good fun, but the blog stalled in latter half of year. Intend to resurrect, hopefully.
* Find inner peace - still a long, long, long way off although major breakthrough made on March 22nd 2006. Been talking to people about religion and heaven etc. I just cannot accept it. Would like to be able to. Every time I see the news religion moves further away from me - or I from it. Religion not the answer for me.
Colin 8:36 pm


Coln, as for promoting FF, try using myspace to a greater extent. It really is a brilliant medium for sharing ideas and art, it is usually associated with music, but if it works for music, surely it can work for other art mediums. Got to be worth looking at.
The inner peace thing is a little trickier, you have the basics in place, a loving wife and family. Work from there.
Good Luck m8.

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