Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Writing Goals

Thanks to Rachelle Gardner, I have formulated some Christmas Goals.

I'm not very good at goals. They make me rebellious, even if I set them for myself. Sometimes I set wildly unrealistic writing deadlines to motivate myself, and they paralyse me. Other times, I set deadlines that are too easily attainable and I think 'Oh, I have ages' and then the deadline creeps up on me and I think 'God, I am such a failure, I couldn't accomplish something in two months that would take most people two weeks. . .'

That being said, goal-setting is something I have to get better at. And Christmas seems like a good time to start - I have quite a bit of time off work in December so I'll have long empty days to catch up.

So here we go (deep breath):

My big goal is to finish my novel if at all possible, and if not, to fully immerse myself in the last few chapters. I still have a lot to learn about the characters in those last few chapters, and that could take me longer than I anticipate, so I don't want to be too prescriptive about that. I want to spend a lot of time just writing about those characters, getting to know them, finding stuff out, without thinking too much of what might make it into a final draft.

My Christmas Plan is:
1. Write something every day, even just a paragraph or two.

2. Get to know the characters for my last few chapters better, and write as much on this as possible.

3. Do some final reading for more detailed research into the period I'm writing about. This shouldn't take too long as it's very specific research and I have one short book that's all about this era. I just need to do another read-through for detail.

4. I'm also going to keep blogging over Christmas. Turns out I rather like this blogging-regularly malarky and anything that keeps me using language, thinking about langauge and structuring sentences for easy readabilty has to be a good thing, as it reduces the likelihood of me writing more sentences as terrible as this one.

I have to do something to prove I deserve that netbook I'm just about to order.


  1. Oh that hated paralysis when the pressure is on in writing. We'll beat it, don't you worry, Writers Thingie will lead us to glory!

    Speaking of, turns out our intern is writing a novel as well; I've invited her along.

  2. Brilliant, the more the merrier!

    Speaking of interns, did you see that INTERN may be interning again in a new publishing house from February? I'm delighted for her. And for me, as a loyal reader :)

  3. Ellen, those sound like great goals. I think telling yourself to write a bit every day (even if only a paragraph) and exploring characters is much more attainable than specific word counts--less paralyzing!

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  4. words like malarky mean so much .. it conveys so meticulously the nebulous specificity :)

    love it.

  5. Thanks Christine, I'll be sure to keep everyone updated - it might motivate me more!

    Shelby, I'm glad someone else shares my enthusiasm for word coinages of nonspecific meaning. Some people can be quite meh about it :)

  6. 1. Write something every day, even just a paragraph or two.

    I'm stealing this one.

    What's a netbook? Or should I ask which netbook? Of course, you deserve it, btw -- you're writing every day!

  7. I'm after an ASUS netbook (small, light, easily portable laptop) with decent battery life. Mostly so I can take it to work and write on my lunch hours. Or to cafes on my free weekends and evenings. Sometimes I find it hard to write in the house.

    I'm not writing much every day - but at least if I keep it up, I will feel like I deserve my new toy!

    Btw GhostFolk, I forgot to tell you I was surprised that your favourite book in your profile is Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. I didn't think Roddy Doyle was especially well known in the States. Have you read any of his other books?

  8. I think Paddy Clark (they misspelled the title on the first printing of his dustjacket here, btw) Ha Ha Ha is absolutely wonderful. It may have something to do with the time of my lilfe when I read it. And, of course in my mind, it is YA.

    Yes, I have read other works. But, again, the YA element in PC-HHH makes it a stand-out for me.

    Roddy Doyle is very well respected here, for sure. I think he is considered a bit of a "literary" read rather than commercial fiction. The Commitments is likely the work he is best known for over here because of the popularity of the movie.

    Novels that are about kids that are sold as adult fiction tend to capture my attention. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Last Picture Show, Catcher in the Rye, even Steven King's Carrie.

    I'd like to see YA fiction in general keep up with more than first-person solo character approaches. And, it does. :-) I just remember when I was a kid I thought most YA was lame and was already reading The Exorcist, Jaws, Valley of the Dolls, etc.

  9. I just realized that PC-HHH is set in Dublin and so are you. :-) How would you describe the city to an American?

  10. P.S. Be warned, I think all of Ireland is just like Ballykissangel. And all the people are just like the characters in Waking Ned Devine.

  11. :) Almost none of Ireland is anything like Ballykissangel, I'm afraid. And Dublin isn't much like the Dublin of the Commitments anymore, although that was very accurate when it was made. I saw the movie when I was 11 and have liked Roddy Doyle ever since. My favourite of his is The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, but Paddy Clarke is a close second.

    Ooh, I don't know how I'd describe Dublin to an American because the only part of America I've ever seen is some of Manhattan Island, which has nothing in common with Dublin at all. It's small by most standards (population a little over 1 million), has a small, compact city centre, and it sprawls out into enormous suburbs due to the building boom in the last few years.

    The city centre is full of very mixed architecture, less because we are so great at preserving old cool stuff and more because for so many years we couldn't afford to knock things down and rebuild them. If I walked through it without stopping and someone asked what I remembered, I'd say 'Red bricks, grey, trees, statues, yellow and blue buses, pointy buildings and crumbly things.'

    It's also just small enough that it's unusual to go into the city centre on a weekend afternoon and not see at least one person you know.

    I'm a little embarrassed that I can't answer this question better as I once wrote for a travel guide to Dublin. . . now, if you needed to know where to get the best ice-cream in Dublin, that would be my time to shine :)

  12. Actually, I also meant to mention that when I was in college, Roddy Doyle gave a talk to the writing society I was in at the time. I can't remember much of it because I arrived late, but he was lovely! Plus, again because of Dublin being so small, I have seen him wandering around the city a few times. I was most upset once when I spotted him carrying a bag from a bookshop I don't like, but I decided on reflection that Booker Prize winners can shop where they like.

  13. Which bookshop? Oh and your description of Dublin seemed dead on to me.

    Also I'm nicking your goals. I'm desperate to get a new battery on my netbook now so I can use it again for writing!


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