Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Out With The Old...
I ended 2014 by succumbing to the horrible sore throat and coughing bug that seems to be doing the rounds. I did feel well enough to make the first meeting of the New Year with my writing group yesterday and knew it was time to get back to my writing. So, here goes...

 In my very first blog post on January 1st 2014, I wrote

I need to set myself some goals. I think, I procrastinate, I dilly-dally and dither so.........in 2014 I must WRITE,WRITE, WRITE! 
Here are the goals I've set myself:

  • Start a writing blog  
  • Write regularly and more often
  • Get at least one story published in a woman's magazine
  • Get back on track with my novel and finish a first draft.
I look forward to sharing my progress with you. Any advice gratefully received!

How did I do? Which of those goals were achieved?
  • The Writing Blog - achieved    Apart from holidays and over Christmas, I have managed to post quite often. I am very grateful to the writers who have commented regularly - you know who you are so a big thank you! - and although sometimes there may not be many actual comments, the 'stats' reveal that the blog is being read.
         Stats - 51 posts with 317 comments, 9663 page views which included 4612 from the USA, 3828 from UK followed by page views in China, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Romania and Poland. The post with the most views was the Woman's Weekly Workshop one.
         I'm sure the fact that after each new post, I put a link to my blog on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page as well as tweet on @JanBayLit has widened the readership.
  • Write regularly and more often - achieved in part   I still don't write as much as I could. I spend too much time thinking about it. It's as if I need deadlines all the time - competition deadlines and the keeping up the word count of Nano worked for me. All I need to do is set deadlines for myself, I suppose.
  • Get at least one story published in a woman's magazine - not achieved    Over 2014, I sent two to Take a Break Fiction Feast, two to The People's Friend and one to Woman's Weekly. That's not enough, is it? 
  • It wasn't all doom and gloom on the short story front, though. Four more stories have been published on Alfie Dog Fiction, one of which was selected for the ghost anthology The Day Death Wore Boots.
  • Four of my stories have been published on Cafe Lit and three more on Creative Frontiers, one of which was serialised over five days. 
  • My story 'Missing Without Trace' was long listed in the Alfie Dog Short Story competition and my entry, 'Second Chances', was long listed in the Worcester LitFest Flash Fiction competition. It was included in the anthology Fifty Flashes of Fiction
  • Get back on track with my novel and finish a first draft - almost achieved Although I haven't finished the first draft entirely, I have completed a great deal of it, 52000+ words. I'm definitely back on track with it and know where I'm going. Taking part in Nano in November was the way I achieved so much progress towards this goal. It proved I can sustain my ideas in an extended piece of writing and I'm excited about completing the first draft in the early part of the  year.
  • I didn't achieve all of my 2014 goals but as this blog is about my writing journey, I certainly feel I have made progress and am looking forward to the year of writing ahead.
...In With The New

Here are my goals for the New Year:
  • Complete the first draft of the novel and work on it so that I feel ready to apply to the RNA New Writers' scheme at 12.02 a.m. next January 1st. I had hoped to do that this year but knew it wouldn't be ready by the deadline in 2015. The piece of advice that I kept hearing in my mind was 'Make it the best you can.' Yes, I know I could have sent it in even though it wasn't finished but I know I have to finish a complete first draft before I can set about getting it 'to the best I can.' 
  • Continue to write short stories and submit them to competitions and magazines. Perhaps set myself a goal of two new stories a month with the end of the month date as the deadline. 
  • Aim to get one story accepted in a print magazine before the end of December 2015.
  • Aim to make the short list of a short story competition sometime during the coming year.

I hope they are SMART targets for me.
Do you think they are specific enough? 
How I be able to measure my success? 
Are they achievable for the stage I'm at on my writing journey? 
Realistic for me?
Is a year too vague? Would it be better to break the year down into smaller chunks of time? 

What do you think? What are your goals and targets for 2015? I'd love it if you'd leave a comment. Thanks. :-)

Thank you for reading my blog and all good wishes for a very productive year in 2015! HAPPY WRITING! 


  1. I'm like you in that deadlines are a big help in motivating me to get things written. Even setting my own helps a bit - would that work for you?

    Odd that you've blogged about SMART targets ... you'll see why I say that when you go to our Yahoo group.

    1. Yes, I think setting deadlines for myself would help, Patsy.

      Have just been on to the Yahoo group site and read SMART - what a coincidence! I think when I thought of 'goals' I remembered having to set SMART targets for my pupils in school and thought that could be a way of describing what I hope for in the coming year. I can't get back into the site at the moment - technical difficulties it says - so will leave some comments once I can.

      Thanks for commenting and good luck with all your writing goals. :-)

  2. Good luck with this year's writing goals, Jan.

    1. Thank you, Wendy, and with yours. I shall be reading your blog with interest. Thank you, too, for commenting.

  3. I think you've had a pretty good year. It's hard to have getting stories published by one of the women's mags as an achievable goal when you're reliant on an editor to accept your story in the first place. And you probably need to send more stories out than you have done.

    But don't beat yourself up about 'thinking time' - I believe it's a valid part of the writing process, and I know I need that time to go through ideas in my head and work through the one that I'll eventually sit down and write. I no longer see that time as wasted, because I know for me it's necessary.

    Good luck with this year's goals! I'm in the process of drawing up a chart of which comps I want to enter this year, and then I'll be looking at where to submit over the next few months. Plus, I want to revise my novel after a year of having it rejected by agents last year, continue on with the work in progress and add to my short story collection.

    1. Thanks, Kath. Your point about sending out more stories is so true. I like your idea of seeing the competitions at a glance. You have lots of goals, too, so I wish you good luck in achieving them. We'll have to spur each other on! :-)

    2. Thanks for commenting, Kath.

  4. Happy New Year, Jan, and congratulations on all that you achieved in 2014, especially your success in NaNoWriMo. Best of luck with your writing targets for 2015, especially the one about getting a short story published. I'll look forward to tweeting about it!

    1. Happy New Year to you, too, Sue. Thank you for all your support during NaNo and for your regular retweets. I appreciate your comments. :-)

  5. I've found the big problem with setting specific goals is that I feel I've failed if I don't manage to achieve them. I started last year with a very ambitious to-do list, but I only managed to tick off about half of it and somehow the failures overshadowed the successes. This year, I've just got some vague it-would-be-nice-if's. For example, it would be nice if I could write at least one blog post every week but it won't be the end of the world if I don't.
    Good Luck, here's hoping we all surprise ourselves!

    1. I think we're all so different, aren't we, Linda? For me, writing definite goals and the attempting to achieve them is hopefully the motivation I need whereas others prefer your way. Whichever way works for us, let's make 2015 a good one for writing! I shall be popping over to your blog regularly! ;-) Thank you for commenting.

  6. Looks like you made a huge dent into those 2014 goals Jan! Well done. I also find I'm more productive if I have a deadline, although that really didn't help with Nano (which I failed miserably!) I am keeping my fingers crossed for you for gaining publication in the womags - keep going, keep studying what they are currently taking, send out more and you will get there I'm sure.

    You've done brilliantly with getting 52,000 words of your first draft done! I'm at a mere 6,500 (hangs head in shame) with mine. I have been rather focused on my debut though and trying to get an agent. So that's my main goal of 2015: to snag an agent. Others are to carry on with the next novel, enter more competitions (for the novel and short stories) and, like you, attempt to get at least one more short story published in the womags.

    Good luck to you, and all the other writers who have set themselves goals :)

    1. Thank you, Samantha, and good luck to you too. Your support has been great over the last year and I really appreciate that. :-)