Nancy: August Accountability Thread


It’s the first Monday of August, which means it’s time for the accountability thread! Okay, okay, you caught me. It’s Tuesday. Life intervened and I couldn’t make it by the blog on Monday, but that doesn’t mean we get out of sharing our July progress and posting our August goals. Even though some of us (ahem) might really like to skip that part about sharing July progress, or lack thereof.

First, a reminder about how this works. The first Monday of each month, we’ll invite you to share your plans and goals for the upcoming month. (Okay, yes, I keep saying Monday and today is Tuesday, but just for this month we’ll call in Monday-ish. Monday-adjacent. You get the idea.) As this is a writing blog, we’re dying to know about your writing goals, but feel free to share other life goals as well. Learning origami, taking up daily meditation, or perfecting your crow pose? Tell us what you hope to achieve by August 31st, 2017. Then be sure to come back the first Monday in September to share your progress!

I’ll go first, but only because I have no choice. Fair warning: it’s not pretty, people.

July Goals with Outcomes

1) Finish the second ginormous revision of my Victorian Romance novella and submit it to beta readers. Seriously. 

Not completed. I really was serious. And I made some important progress. I untangled some plot problems identified by critique readers as well as a few new ones I’d created in fixing the old ones. I’ve really connected with these characters and know them so much better than I did at the start of the summer. And I’m about halfway through the revision, which is more like a total rewrite than I’d hoped it would be, but the book is getting stronger page by page.

2) Choose an editor, a proofreader, and a cover artist for the novella. 

Partially completed. I’ve gotten through the first round of down-selecting, and have narrowed it down to two contenders in each category.

3) Write the first draft of Act II of Take the Money and Run and submit it to my coach for comments.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, that didn’t happen. Not completed.

4) Read one book a week, every week. I’m dialing this down from two, because I really need more writing time if I’m to have any hope of completing goals 1 and 3. 

Completed. Finally, a goal I not only met, but exceeded! I read 9 books in July. Yes, that might have had a little something to do with falling short on my other goals, but what the hell. Those were 9 good books.

August Goals

1) Get through All the Things for my daughter’s wedding, which is happening in September. Everything from helping out of town (including international) guests with travel and accommodations to getting final dress fittings to planning the post-wedding (next day) brunch. Mother of the bride is nearly a full-time job at T minus 27 days.

2) Start a new consulting gig in my day job world. Yeah, that one definitely wasn’t on any of my 2017 plans, but it kind of fell out of the sky. There’s a lot to discuss. So much so that I’ll devote a separate post to that topic. But in the meantime, I’m putting it on my August list. This is a gimme because I’ve signed a contract and start billing hours this week, but hey, after my poor showing in July, I need a few things I can put in the win column.

3) FINALLY finish that novella revision. I’ve told you enough about it. Now I just need to shut up and do it.

4) Pick an editor for the novella (and the rest of the Victorian Romance series). Finalizing a proofreader and cover artist would be added bonuses. Fingers crossed.

5) Work on Act II of Take the Money and Run. I’m not even promising to finish the damn thing. Just work on it. Baby steps, people.

Now it’s time for all of you playing along at home. How did your muses and writing moods and best-laid plans treat you in July? What amazing and lofty goals are you setting for August?

8 thoughts on “Nancy: August Accountability Thread

  1. I have such modest monthly goals, and yet, I still don’t reach them. My goal for July was to finish the revisions on my WIP. More accurately, to finish them by July 24, when I’d be leaving for RWA nationals. Did I get that done? No, I didn’t.

    So my goal for August became, finish the revisions on the WIP. As I left Orlando, I was so full of new ideas and techniques, it seemed that finishing revisions in a month might be a bigger task than I’d thought it was in July. But by the time I got home and looked at the manuscript, I was sick of it. I’ve been working on this thing for a long time, and it might be about as good as I can make it. I still need to pump up the emotion in the climax, but then I think I’m going to fall back on that old end-the-Vietnam-war plan—I’ll declare victory and get out. Will I meet my August goal? YES, and then some. 🙂

    • Yay for a (soon-to-be) completed revision! I understand the urge to totally revise when you get inspired by new ideas and techniques. The combination of my novella’s hot mess status (caused in part, I think, by long interruptions to writing it) and inspiration from my Story Genius course has led me down the path of a complete rewrite. The book needs it, and as the kickoff for the series, I’ll be glad to have it be as strong as it can be. But OMG, what a tough slog!

      So, with completion on the horizon, do you have a publishing plan in place for this book?

      • I’m doing the Story Genius re-write thing, too. I’m almost afraid to work on the book, because I’m doing a cruise in September with Lisa Cron and I’ll have an opportunity to work with her one-on-one. I’m afraid I’ll have to do a bunch of rework after she sees what I’ve done.

  2. Here’s the July thread:

    Honestly, Nancy, I think you’ve done really well considering everything. Do you think having the goals spurred you to accomplish more than you would have done without a stated set of goals?

    I know they helped me in certain areas.

    Ukulele: vague goals equalled vague performance. I never settled on a new song to learn, although I did play often and enjoyed my hobby very much. Lesson learned.

    Writing: Fell down on the sprints. Did a lot of brain work, but not very much words-readable-by-other-people work. Brain work not noted and therefore not noted as progress.

    Cleaning: Our August guests are not here yet, so I still have a few days and a weekend to get the table cleaned off. I did make some progress on the fridge, though. I feel good about my off-goal progress, and I think that perhaps avoiding the TABLE OF DOOM helped me tackle some of the less scary problems.

    Mowing: Did not burn lawn or garden. Good. Mowed the little areas around the house, and they are looking well-tended and green as of today. Good!

    Phone: I am framing my phone goals the wrong way, I’m afraid. I am quitting earlier, and starting to get the proper amount of sleep, but I’m not making my goals. This is starting to feel like an addiction-level problem, I’m afraid. I’m like a functioning phone-a-holic. It’s summer vacation, too, which works two ways. 1) I have more chances to check for a new YouTube or see if my favorites have tweeted something new. OTOH, 2) I have less stress, and it’s a little easier to say, “This is NOT productive.”

    Conclusions: While I am not doing particularly well with my goals, I’m learning more about how goals work for me, and I’m thinking of new ways of forming and implementing them.

    Ukulele: This is play. Who needs goals? Play four times a week, and have fun doing it. Allow this hobby to take over some of that internet time. Restring the second ukulele. Print out a different version of Happy Birthday for uke each week, and take a stab at doing something creative with the song.

    Writing: Keep up with the sprints. Seriously. Sort out the rest of my life so I can make some space for serious writing in September. Oh, and this is a “wanna-wanna” goal, but I’d like to come up with three stories for a contest that ends August 25th, and choose the best one. I would really like to do this, but given my track record, I’m super-hesitant to commit. I don’t want to fail. (Calendar reminder did not work; just ignored and felt vaguely guilty.)

    Mowing: Hey, July was a win! By this time in September, I want to say the little areas are still groomed. Anything else is gravy.

    Cleaning: Cleaned table, good enough for family guests.

    Reading: I thought I put down goals for this last month, but I didn’t. I actually read more in July than I have in a while. Average of about one book a week, I’d say. I’d like to average a book a week in August, too.

    There. Shaming goals — if I can’t pass these low bars, what kind of person am I? Although, writing three short stories is a very high bar, and if I manage to attain it, I think I really will have learned something about goal setting.

    • Interesting question about whether the goals spurred more accomplishments than I would have had without them. In general, I’d say yes, goals work that way for me. Regarding July, I’d say no. Nothing was going to help me in July. Although reading 9 books probably soothed my soul in ways in desperately needed. When all else fails, read a good book!

      Congratulations on achieving what you did in July. And goals are about aspiration, not shame. Looking up, not down. So push yourself in August, but be kind to yourself, too :-)!

  3. Okay, i’m going to join going forward. My goal for August is to finish the first 15 chapters of my revision to my GH novel, which is a complete rewrite based on feedback from my editor.

    That’s all, if you don’t count fending off requests to babysit, go to lunch, do stuff for the church, etc.

    • Wow, that’s a lot! One of the things that will probably help the revision move faster, even if it is a complete rewrite, is the more time you spend with the characters marinating in your brain (okay, awful image, but you know what I mean), the better you know them and the truer you can write them. I can’t wait to read the finished book!

    • Say “No,” Jeanne. That’s the hardest lesson I’ve had this summer since quitting PTA. I’m still struggling with not helping out here and there at school. But I also see I made very little progress on my book this summer (okay, part of that was family vacations and kids at home all the time), but now that the vacations are over and kids are back in school, I need to stand firm on the blocks of writing time I’ve scheduled into my calendar.

      I’m joining for August, too. Need to sit down and figure out what my goals are, but I’m going to make progress this month. I have to. I’ll post again when I’ve nailed down my August goals.

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