Nancy: October Accountability Thread

As Jilly mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s already October. Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere! Like many people, I find the cool, crisp air and explosion of colorful leaves invigorating and uplifting. It gives me energy and a renewed sense of purpose. It probably even helped me get in gear to post our first Monday accountability thread on (who woulda thunk it!) the actual first Monday of the month. So I’m already doing a better job of accomplishing things in October than I did in August and September.

While Jilly and a few others shared their goals for this final quarter of the year, I’m eating a slightly smaller elephant (one bite at a time) by setting some goals for this tenth month of 2017. But first, I give you the September recap, with less success than I’d hoped to report.

September Goals

1) Finish the novella revision. You have to be as sick of seeing this goal on my list as I am. This one is a good news/bad news story. I have made progress! I can see light at the end of this seemingly never-ending revision tunnel! But I’m not done, not yet. I think there are a whole lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is fear of finishing, of letting this thing go and moving onto the next step of the process which will end in eventually releasing it into the world. It will never be perfect. It will never be as wonderful on paper/screen as it was in my head, not even close. And I’ve been having a hard time making peace with that. September was, at least, a chance to realize this and to fight through some of the harder parts of the rewrite.

2) Make my one-year writing plan. Yay, a success! I’m able to check this one off my list. And I actually have a two-year writing plan, with built-in flexibility and the prerogative to change it if necessary, but as it is, it’s a really good plan!

3) Sign up for a 6-month book coaching program. Done! However, I now won’t be starting the 6-month journey until November, but it’s all good, because that fits with my two-year writing plan.

4) Re-engage with this and other special online communities. Well, I fell short on this one, too. But I did at least get back to reading posts (most weeks), interacted with a few groups on Facebook, and I took advantage of the opportunity to connect with a few of my tribes live and in person in September.

October Goals

Out with the old goals, in with the new. Except, of course, in the case of that novella…

1) Finish the novella revision. Seriously. I’m sick of saying it; you’re sick of hearing it. Here’s hoping I officially cross this one off the list this time.

2) Finish the next 30,000 words in my WIP. This is another in the Victorian Romance series. My writing plan says I’ll release that (damn) novella and the first two full-length books in the series in 2018. This is the second of the 2018 full-length books, and after October’s 30k words, I’ll have 20k or less left to go. Even with my painfully slow revision process and all the steps that need to occur between first draft and publication, I’m dangerously close to achieving that 2018 publishing goal if I hit this October writing goal.

3) Get on a writing schedule. It doesn’t have to be rigid, and I don’t want to beat myself up if I miss the occasional writing session. But I want to get back to some good habits I once had. With the really big personal and professional obligations of the past few months behind me, this feels like the right time to do it.

That’s it. Nothing that I haven’t done before. Nothing I can’t do again, if I get my writing house in order. How about you? Tell us what goals you plan to accomplish this month as the days get shorter and cooler, and the smell of freshly-baked apple pie wafts through the air (or is that only at my house?).

5 thoughts on “Nancy: October Accountability Thread

  1. (-: Well, here we are in October! September flew by!

    Here’s the September thread:


    Uke: I thought about starting new songs, but no. Just didn’t get around to printing out the music. I’ve been playing, but the autumn crunch (getting certain around-the-house things done before the first frost) has bitten into my free time.

    Honestly, where did the time go? For some reason, I thought I’d made these goals about a week ago, but I’ve had a full twenty+ days to act on them, and nothing has happened. Nothing. Except five jars of salsa. I can hug those five jars of salsa to me during the long winter ahead.

    Well, falling down on goals this month means there’s a good chance I can do better in October. Isn’t it funny that most of the goals I made for September are actually well-suited for October? Maybe I was goal-setting too far in advance.

    Here are my goals for October:

    Story input: I’m reading Captain Awkward’s blog, which is an advice column. Excellent story fodder and great for finding motivations for characters. I’ll keep reading it, and get to letter #300 by the end of October. I will read at least one horror story. I will watch at least one of my Halloween movies — probably Beetlejuice or Ghostbusters. (I want to do both!)

    Story output: Be good with writing sprints. Make time on Wednesdays to start a short story/work on a short story. Girls’ Choice, not mine. (Today I stumbled upon an old Halloween short story I’d written, and I like it very much.)

    Uke: Allow myself time to play the uke. I long for it, but wind up reading too much Captain Awkward, and it’s bedtime before I know it. I found a tutorial for the Addams Family theme song, so I’ll work on that.

    Get outdoor plants put in the windows: I’m halfway done with that, and it’s an easy goal, so I should be done with that by this weekend.


    National Novel Writing Month is coming up in November, so October is really a chance to clear the decks and contemplate exactly what I want to do for that. So, I’m going to make time to just sit and think with my eyes closed. Every Tuesday? Career Meditation Hour? It can’t hurt.

    • I’d never heard of the Captain Awkward blog, but I’m afraid to visit is, as I might not want to leave ;-). I’m being diligent about looking out for ‘shadow comforts and time monsters’ (which I might address in a future blog post) to be aware of when self care and mental breaks turn into numbing out to avoid getting work done.

      I won’t do NaNo this year. I’ve come to the conclusion that my brain type isn’t one that responds well to the spirit of it. I have to plan, plot, outline, and write part of the story before Nov 1 anyway, so I might as well keep on keepin’ on with my targets of 30k-40k words per month. But I’ll be on the sidelines, cheering on you and anyone else from the 8LW community who participates! And having NaNo in play could make for some interesting goal setting in November.

      • LOL, she’s got nearly 1000 posts at this point, so it’s definitely something that could be a timesuck. So far, they are a bit ruthless about other people’s feelings. If you want out of a relationship, you don’t need to justify it — you just get out (safely). Very much a post-birth control attitude, which is great in some ways, but also somewhat the anti-thesis of many romance stories. What would have happened in Lord of Scoundrels if Jessica had taken three looks at Dain and said, “Nope. Nope. Nope.” As it was, they both transgressed a lot of boundaries and broke through to the “real” people inside those boundaries. Which might be considered kind of creepy and stalker-y if condensed down to an advice-asking letter — especially Jessica, who has to fix Dain in order to find her own happiness.

        Still, the interesting perspective means that some angles haven’t been completely explored by modern romance tropes. We can find new ones in the making!

  2. Congratulations on your wins and good luck on your goals!

    September: I’m still not quite done with the massive revisions to The Demon Always Wins. I expect to finish up this week, although I may leave the final step, listing the scenes and checking the chronology, for early November. I’m supposed to attend a writing retreat and that’s good fallback work if the Girls aren’t interested in writing outside the cave (which they generally aren’t. I’m not on my editor’s schedule for a second pass until late February/early March, so there’s no hurry.

    October: 2 goals: Nail down a scene-by-scene outline of The Demon’s in the Details and introduce my website to the world. Those should be very do-able.

    Fourth quarter goal: Finish the second draft of The Demon’s in the Details. Much tougher, but really important if I’m going to release 3 books next fall.

    • Jeanne, I’m going to a writers’ retreat in early November as well. You won’t be in Vermont, will you?

      I love how organized you are about your Demon books and releases. And I’m so glad this grew into a series. I can’t wait to read all of them!

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