Status Check: Where I Stand on My Goals from October

December 7, 2015

Back in October, I decided I needed to be more ambitious with my writing. Doing NaNoWriMo for a second time did not feel like enough, and I thought I could push myself to do more. In that post linked above, I laid out five specific goals that would comprise the focus of my writing through at least November. In my head, that was always going to extend through the end of 2015. This is partly because some of them were by their nature going to extend beyond November and because I wasn’t sure it was realistic to get them all done in 30 days.

But why not see where they stand today? Here’s each goal with a brief description of how it’s gone since October.

1. Wrap up whatever is necessary for Best Hikes Near Minneapolis and Saint Paul

We had a brief, unexpected, scramble to get some things done in mid-November, resulting in a couple of days where I wasn’t able to do much for NaNoWriMo. But otherwise this has been pretty quiet. We expect to get the next round of edits mid-December, which will likely lead to a busy week or so. Barring anything unexpected, that should be the last big thing before publication next spring.

2. Outline and write the first 50k words of a draft for a new novel as part of NaNoWriMo 2015

Doneski. I wrote just a shade over 50k for my second novel draft, titled Reaper. What this means is that I have basically the first 25% of the book, several big scenes from the middle 50%, and then most of the last 25%. The big difference from last year is that I jumped ahead and wrote the climactic scenes where last year I ended up muddled in the last third with no ending. The next step is stitching together the continent parts and then editing into a readable whole. That means there’s a lot left to do, but it feels like the narrative structure is largely in place. I cannot overstate how important that is compared to last year’s project.

3. Finish the ending of The Witches of Nicollet Island

Straight up did not get to this. That changes this month. The ending is outlined, though mostly in my head. Still, that’s more than I had for the last, oh I don’t know, YEAR or so. How I will go about writing this is quite similar to what I did with Reaper. I’ll write the climactic scenes and then go about stitching the pieces together. This requires some big changes to early parts of the book, but some of that I had already started months ago. I’ve been away from this story long enough that I’m legitimately excited to look at it again. That’s a big change from where I was last spring.

4. Continue with my existing goals for Lost Caws

This continued unabated, though the posts were often shorter and sillier than they had typically been before. That’s okay! I think it was probably more fun that way. I don’t have any plans to change how I use the blog at the moment, but I think there will be a need soonish to reevaluate what I’m doing here and figure out if it’s the right way forward. We’ll see. That feels like an early 2016 project.

5. An undisclosed–for now–collaboration project

Still undisclosed, but it’s definitely moving forward. I’m a little over 60% done with my portion, which doesn’t mean much when you don’t know what it is, I suppose. It’s actually the thing I’ll be focusing on most for the next couple of weeks. It’s a project I’m having a ton of fun working on, and I’m excited to share it when we know more about exactly how it’s gonna manifest.

Keep On Keeping On

The only goal that saw really no progress in November was working on the ending for The Witches of Nicollet Island, but apart from that I feel pretty good about what I got done last month. There were a couple of times I sat down to work on Witches, but I kept feeling that it was taking time away from making progress on the word count goals for Reaper. Not to mention that it’s challenging to switch your brain from one set of characters and problems to another. Things get muddled in your head, and it can make for some confused writing.

But these goals were good goals, and probably the right ones for me at the time. Now that I don’t have the self-imposed pressure of NaNoWriMo to drive my work on Reaper, I’ll have an easier time jumping back into the ending of Witches. Between that and the other goals that still need a lot of work, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy through December.

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