Elizabeth: Monthly Goal Check-in


Welcome to the Eight Ladies Writing monthly goal-setting / holding-each-other-accountable post. Yes, it really has been a month since the last one.

Time flies when you’re having fun, right?

“I enjoy hard work; I love setting goals and achieving them.” ~ Jewel

Justine gave us her update in yesterday’s post and Nancy told us all about her four-legged writing interruption earlier in the month. Now it’s time for the rest of us to chime in.

I’ll go first.

My specific goal for August was to complete the four scenes that I knew were missing from my story (one scene a week).

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Here’s what did happen. My house was infested with ants. Seriously, everywhere I looked, there they were – sink, bathtub, floor, laundry basket, bed (that was really annoying), swarming out of the outlets, trailing along the window frames, all over the kitchen cupboards – little ant highways as far as the eye could see.   Anyway, that meant that a lot of my time was spent cleaning ants off things, trying to get rid of them via non-toxic methods, more cleaning, resorting to spraying Raid all over, more cleaning, finding yet another busy ant highway, and finally resorting to the use of Terro (thanks to all who recommended it). They’re all dead now.

Some good came out of all of that cleaning, besides a sparkling clean house. It gave me a lot of time to do story brainstorming. So, while I did not wind up with four completed scenes for my current manuscript, what I did wind up with is the first two acts of a new contemporary story all plotted out, with the third act coming along nicely. The characters have names, the scenes have beats (maybe not great ones, but beats all the same), and I’m pretty confident I’ve got the conflict-lock down pat.

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ~ Douglas Adams

Not the progress I had planned to make this month, but really good nonetheless. It has also been a really good boost to my creativity, which had been in very short supply in recent months. All in all, I’m going to call it a win even if the destination I hit was not the one I was actually aiming for.

This does mean, however, that I need to be a more aggressive with my goals this month in order to stay on target. So, that means setting aside the new, fun story, and getting back to work on The Traitor. I need to finish those four scenes, incorporate the beta feedback, and get the manuscript ready to go out to the agents who have requested it. Piece of cake, right?

Now it’s your turn. Jeanne, Rachel, Kat, Kay, Michaeline – you all made writing plans for August – how did those go? Did you wind up with improved sexual chemistry, a book out for critiquing, a full draft done, revisions finished, or a new (draft) scene every day? Inquiring minds want to know.

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

For all of you out there, what are your (specific and achievable) goals for the September? What can we hold you accountable for?


14 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Monthly Goal Check-in

  1. Because it’s been goal-review time at work, I’ve been thinking about goals and the way I tend to not pay attention to them until their deadlines go whooshing by me. I know such things differ wildly from person to person, but I wonder if you wouldn’t do better with a weekly self-check-in? I know that I need the status update to be visible to other people in order to truly motivate me. If the same turns out to be true for you, you could do something as simple as a Monday morning Facebook post along the lines of “Spent X hours staring at my story. Got Y net words down on the page. I’m Z% of my way toward meeting my monthly goal, so someone hand me a damned cookie”.

    • That’s a very good plan (if I can substitute cupcake for cookie, I’m there). That’s very much what I do in my day job and how I hold my team members accountable.

      As it applies to my writing, I’m pretty sure “X” would be a much higher number than “Y” and “Z” would be on a very slow trajectory. The visibility factor would certainly be motivating though.

      Oh, and sympathies on the goal-review thing at work. Just finished that here – a process no one enjoys.

  2. I don’t remember what I said my goals were, but I wrote a query letter and a synopsis and I made some progress on incorporating feedback into the ms proper. I’m a bit lost in the wilds of Wisconsin at the mo, but when I get back—count on it! I’ll get those things sent out! (That would be the September goals.)

    Also, I like the idea of a weekly check-in. I’m going to do that with Self.

  3. LOL, like Kay, I didn’t remember my goals for August very clearly. I probably need to put a poster on my bedroom door, or tape them to the cover of my laptop.

    Anyway, the goals were here: https://eightladieswriting.com/2015/07/29/elizabeth-whats-your-goal/

    And I failed in that, but I did make some progress in that I tried a new POV, and got some writing done. (-: And also did some more reading in my era. Drug addiction was just becoming a major problem by the end of the 1800s, and I can recommend a good book by Howard Markel called The Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted and the Miracle Drug Cocaine. “Have a Coke and a Smile” meant something else in the beginning . . . .


    Oh, and Rabid was quite good for someone writing werewolves, vampires or mad dogs. Life was so much more dangerous in the good ol’ days!


    • Trying a new POV sounds interesting Michaeline. Did it work for you? I’ve always written in 3rd, but one of the new stories I’m playing with has been pretty insistent that it belongs in 1st, so I’m going to have to give it a try.

      • Too early to tell. I think the POV might be fine; I’m struggling with when to put Bunny’s “coming to the city” moment. Originally, she’d been in NYC for a year or two, and had established professional and social contacts. Along with changing the POV, I bumped up her arrival. In the new version, she’s been in the City for six weeks, she’s running out of money, and she is trying to convince a stranger (Mr. James) to hire her for his magazine. The stakes are higher, which is exciting, but it totally messes with the way the rest of the story is supposed to go. She has a lot less support, and some of the conflict is gone, because it’s harder to fight with strangers than friends. (Or is it? I’m so confused . . . .)

        • Sounds like you’ve got a lot to keep you busy Michaeline and are making good progress. My two-cents is that it’s just as easy (just different) to fight with strangers as it is with friends, just different motivations involved. Looking forward to hearing how you resolve Bunny’s dilemma.

  4. How annoying that I was out and missed this post – so, checking in late, I’m afraid. My goals were a) to do 50,000 words of my first draft and b) to send off my previous story to the RNA critique group. Well, I did b) – admittedly on the 29th August, but still under the wire. I didn’t do a) – I only got to 33,000 words by the end of the month. However, given that, quite unexpectedly, I was left as the sole childcare person (apart from 4 days of childcare in the whole month) and still had my day-job work to do, I am really pleased with 33K. I have to say that knowing that I had publicly committed to 50K really helped me to keep going (often, just in 15 minute stints, when the children were playing or watching tv).

    My goals for this month are a) to get to 80,000 words (as of today I’m at 38,500) by the end of the month (children back to school, so more feasible) and b) finally to join the RWA.

    Glad to see everyone else making progress – if you think of a way of doing weekly goals/check in, I’d be up for that.

    • Love the “join the RWA” goal! It’s a good one and easy enough to do. You should be able to knock that out of the park.

      My critique partner Jenn and I were discussing summer vaycay and decided that we will not have writing goals over the summer. They’re just too difficult with kiddos running around. Our serious writing (and critiquing) time happens once all the littles are back in school. Hopefully our future agents/editors will understand that. 😀

      However, it doesn’t mean summer isn’t a time to work…we plan to plot out new books next summer and write them once school starts. Much easier to be pulled away from plotting than from writing.

      Good luck on your goals, Rachel. I know you can do it!

    • Rachel – “only got to 33,000” sounds like great progress to me. Congratulations! Now you’re motivating me to have a nice big word count to report next time around 🙂

  5. I, too, am dealing with an ant problem. Fortunately, mine aren’t in the house yet, but I’m going to give Terro a try. I tried Amdro (fire ant bait), but it’s not working at all.

    Can’t wait to read some of the new story, Elizabeth!

    • Justine – this seems to be a really bad year for ants. All the hot and dry, I guess. Hope yours stay outside with the scorpions.

  6. Pingback: Elizabeth: Back to Basics – A New Story | Eight Ladies Writing

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