Summer Successes and Autumn Goals

This post is third in a series. You can find part one (covering January to April) here and part two (May to August) here. As outlined in those previous posts, I’m tackling this year in chunks, setting myself goals for four months at a time, rather than having a single set for the whole of 2019.

It seems to be working out.

My only year-long goal – the Goodreads reading challenge – has me sitting at 44 books completed off a total of sixty. That’s 73% complete/4 books ahead of schedule.

Before I get into my goals for the rest of 2019 going forward, let’s take a minute to recap on my summer goals and how well I did (or didn’t) achieve them.

In May, I set myself the following tasks:

  • Lose more weight
  • Continue to submit my first novel to agents
  • Make edits to my second novel and send it to beta readers
  • Draft yet another novel during Camp NaNoWriMo in July
  • Attended two publishing conferences
  • Complete my tax return

From that list, what I didn’t do was lose weight or write a third novel. The number of things I achieved (listed below) definitely outweigh these two failures, which I’m obviously delighted about, but they are still two pretty big failures. Though I will point out that I did take part in Camp NaNoWriMo, as planned, and got a few words towards book three in my trilogy. Overall, I wrote 25,000 words during July, much of it fanfiction works in progress that I wanted to get out of my head at long last.

Here’s the full list of what I actually did achieve:

  • Edited, proofread, and formatted a novel on behalf of a client
  • Edited my own second novel, as planned
  • Submitted my work (novel number one, poetry, and some short stories) to more places than ever before
  • Had some work accepted (one poem published in FourXFour, a poem in Altered Reality Magazine, a short story in Down in the Dirt magazine, a short story accepted for the next Flash Fiction Armagh, and two more poems forthcoming in October)
  • I set up some reading opportunities for myself (the aforementioned Flash Fiction Armagh, a Women Aloud NI event for Belfast Culture Night, a bookshop reading in October – more details on that to come – and I did a wonderful storytelling session with Liz Weir MBE in which we read my children’s book to a live audience at Mo Mowlam playpark as part of Libraries NI’s ‘Big Summer Read.’)
  • I attended the publishing conferences I wanted to go to, and got my 2018/2019 tax return in six months before the deadline
  • I also won a flash fiction bursary for the Bridport prize (courtesy of Kit de Waal), plus another thing which I am under strict instructions not to reveal yet (more on that later, too)

All this while continuing to deal with a lot of health stuff.

So, where does this leave me? Well, I still really want to sort my weight out but, aside from that, here are my plans between now and new year:

  • Complete admin for Belfast Writers’ Group
  • Put together Belfast Writers’ Group third anthology
  • Continue archiving my old fanfiction to Ao3
  • Take part in NaNoWriMo in November
  • (related) finish draft one of book three
  • Attend [secret thing]
  • Study (this one is a bit vague but this post is already long enough, so it’s – again – something I’ll come back to fill you in on later)

What I will end on is this: I am proud of myself for getting to this point and so damn excited for what’s still to come. It’s probably premature to say this new model of goal-setting is a success, or that this is my most productive year to date, but it certainly feels that way. Stay tuned for more updates!

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