Archive for November, 2008

Setting goals for your writing

I receive email newsletters from a number of excellent writing centres, groups and web sites. These vary in quality from week to week or month to month. Most, however, contain something I can easily apply to my writing to improve it.

This week I received a very passionate email from a writer here in Australia. It was all about setting goals in order to give your writing direction and impetus. Strange that I should read this article immediately after setting a few writing goals for myself.

I know it’s not New Year yet, but there was a special need for me to revise my writing goals. Two days ago I finished attending my Writing Course for the year. I now have a break from lectures until next February. It was time to review what I’d achieved this year and to determine where I am heading over the next few weeks, months and years. In fact, I take a long term view with my writing, especially my blogging. I realised early on that steady income from writing, and blogging in particular, takes time to develop.

Consequently, I have reset some goals, extending over the next five years.

I also break this down into yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. To help me I keep fairly accurate records of what I actually achieve. This keeps me honest and accountable to myself. I no longer beat myself up if I get behind a little, but it sure motivates me to keep going.

Over this next few weeks, do a review of your writing (or blogging) achievements for this year. Then jot down a few goals for next year, and for the next five years. Then get back to the writing so you can achieve those goals.

Good writing.

Related articles:

Doing the writer’s jig – over and over

Excuse me while I do a BIG writer’s jig around and around and around the room.

I’d better sit down. I’m feeling dizzy.

I’m doing the writer’s jig because I’ve had a huge writing success this week. On Thursday we had a book launch at University where I am doing my Master of Arts in Creative Writing course. Every year they ask for submissions of stories and poems. On a number of occasions during the course of the year, lecturers went out of their way to ask me to submit certain pieces I had written. This might sound like publication was automatic; it wasn’t. As the course has really blossomed in numbers this year the competition was fierce.

Most who submitted their work would have been pleased with two or three pieces being published. I was gobsmacked; they published eleven pieces of my work. This included one short story, one poem and nine other poems in the form of sonnets.  I’d never written a sonnet in my life until a few weeks ago.

Then there was a further honour during the launch, I was one of only four (out of many dozens) to be asked to read out some of my writing.

I think I might jig around the room one more time.

Good writing.

A very busy time of writing

I am nearing the end of the second semester of my Master of Arts in Creative Writing course. With only nine days to go the pressure is really on to get all those assignments finished and handed up.

I’ve been writing a 4000 word short story over recent days. It currently stands at about 900 words, so there’s a fair way to go. I’m not concerned about it because I spent a great deal of time thinking about the plot and jotting down an outline. I still have to get the words down though. I also need to have at least a thousand words ready for the workshop I am leading the day after tomorrow. I’ll get there – but will take some effort.

I’ve also been working on the major poem for this term. The requirement is 100-150 lines of free verse. Sounds easy – until you go to think of a topic that can be sustained for that many lines. I put the finishing touches to it a few minutes ago and then printed out copies for the workshop tomorrow. I ended up with 140 lines called ‘Chaotic Kathmandu’ relating a few experiences from a visit several years ago to that fascinating city.

I’ve also been working on two journals over recent days. One is due tomorrow and the other next week. We are required to submit our rough, handwritten copies – in journal format – of all of the poems we have written this semester. Earlier this evening I put the finishing touches to that one too. The other journal is for the prose writing unit and that is almost finished as well. Both of these I’ve worked on steadily throughout the semester, so it’s no big deal near hand up time.

Several weeks ago it was my turn to present a tutorial paper. This was a discussion of the work of the Australian poet, Bruce Dawe.  I received the paper back today: another distinction. That makes 15 out of 15 so far. Can I keep up the pressure I’ve put on myself?

Happy Birthday to me

I almost forgot to wish myself Happy Birthday!

(Sounds of wild cheering, delirious laughter and the occasional boo.)

Yep. Another number clicks over on the calendar. Another year older and wiser… well, older anyway.

Funny, I don’t feel any older than yesterday.

Had a great day yesterday. For my birthday my daughter took me to see the play “Ying Tong: a walk with the Goons.” This is an hilarious stage adaptation of the very popular BBC Radio show called “The Goons” starring Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers. The actors did a superb job of imitating the wacky range of voices as they appeared in the original show. They also managed to include most of the common catch phrases used in the original.

My daughter knew I’d enjoy the show. When she was growing up she recalls everything in the household stopping at 11:30am every Saturday morning so that I could listen to the show. In total, I now have copies of over 140 shows, either on tape, LP record or in script form in books.  It would have been great to have had the shows filmed, but you can’t get the wood, you know.

Never mind, any more excitement and I would have been deaded, you know. What, what, what, what? (He’s not very bright – only 4 watts.) Look – he’s fallen in the waaaa- ter!

Goodnight folks.

That was the Goon show.

A rotten time to get sick

Oh, no!

I have a terrible head cold.

It started Monday evening with a roaring sore throat.

On Tuesday I was really miserable and the throat became worse.

Yesterday the sneezing started – every five minutes. And then the nose started running and the head aching. I’ve been going through tissues faster than a dozen girls watching a romantic comedy or a family of spinsters at a wedding.

I guess that there is no really GOOD time to be sick, but this has to be a rotten time for me. You see, I have seven assignments due in the next three weeks. This is for my Master of Arts in Creative Writing.  All I feel like doing is sleeping it off. At least I managed to get quite a large portion of a novel read today. I have to read it before next week’s lecture. Good thing it was interesting – at least the first half was, but it’s taken a turn for… I’d better not give away the plot. Bit silly saying that, actually, seeing I haven’t mentioned the title.

I’ve been reading The Well written by well-known Australian author Elizabeth Jolley who died last year.  Sssssh – don’t tell me the ending – please.

In reality I have been really blessed with NOT having any sore throats or colds or the flu for over four years. I’ve been clear of all that since retiring from classroom teaching. When still teaching I’d pick up some bug every four to six weeks or so. I was beginning to suspect that I was allergic to children, school, work – or all three. So I really can’t complain.

Still – this sneezing is taking it out of me – probably the best place too – so don’t stand too near.

Good (achoo!) writing folks!