October blog

Setting targets is one of my themes this month: in the blog below and NaNoWriMo on the Articles about Writing page. There are plenty of prompts to get you going, plus competitions and an interesting website in Tips to help your editing.

You can read about my Irish writing retreat below and about fellow writer Claudia’s experiences of retreats in Iceland and The Clockhouse in Shropshire.

Taking stock, targets and retreats

New Year and Spring tend to be the times of the year when we make resolutions and have a jolly good clean-up and clear-out. But in the past few weeks, I’ve been talking to a surprising number of people who tell me that autumn is the time when they take a look at their house, their hobbies, their lifestyle, their finances. 
        Perhaps it’s the effect of having had a holiday; perhaps it’s the change in the weather – summer clothes packed away, winter clothes to the fore; or perhaps it’s the evening classes being advertised at local adult education centres.
        Whatever the reason, it certainly doesn’t hurt to review different areas of our lives from time to time – and writing is one of those.
        In one of my classes, we reviewed our New Year objectives just before the summer break and set ourselves mini targets for the next two months, like entering a writing competition. When we resume this month, we’re going to decide what the group wants to do in the next three to six months: perhaps produce another anthology of short stories and poems. For a group, this keeps everyone interested and, usually, makes sure everyone submits their contributions on time 🙂
        On a personal level, I’ve found that writers definitely fall into two camps: those who set targets and those who don’t. I’m definitely in the former but I’m more than ready to admit it’s probably because I used to be a radio journalist with deadlines every hour that just couldn’t be missed!
        Of course if you’ve been commissioned, for an article or a book, then your editor will be the one setting the deadlines. On your own, with no such target set in stone, it is much harder.th-2
        I TRY to write 500 words every day, 1000 a day on holiday. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But I find regular writing, even when it’s hard to get going, really does help me. And yes, I do keep a chart, ticking off successful writing days: a whole column of ticks can be great motivation for carrying on. 
        If you are keen on writing every day, then NaNoWriMo is coming up next month. Don’t know what that is? I explain all in this month’s Writing Article.

thumb_p1010483_1024My writing retreat to Ireland was excellent. I got as much writing done as I expected. I think I originally set myself too high a target (2000 words a day!). But Ireland, and the Kingdom of Kerry in particular, is just too beautiful not to spend a large part of every day walking! So a thousand words a day, sometimes more, was much more realistic. So I enjoyed the scenery, the food, the friendliness of the Irish and Americans, and I got on well with the next few chapters of my novel.

Last month I mentioned a writing friend who was trying out Arvon’s new writing retreat – The Clockhouse in Shropshire. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Here’s the link to her blog.

Happy Writing!

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