To hold myself accountable, I plan to check in on my writing goals for 2023. Quarterly seems like a good time to stop and take account.

Back in January, I set my writing goals for the year, including projects to complete and time goals for hours spent writing, researching, and learning.

So, how did I do?

Research goals

I haven’t done any research for my work in progress this quarter, but I didn’t need to. I’ve been working out the dead zones in my outline and concentrating on scene structure.

Grade: Dropped the class

Writing hours and word count goals

I haven’t stuck to my 10 hours per week writing time, but I’ve also not kept as good track as I should. I had been counting only time actually working on the manuscript, but that meant I’ve omitting time journaling about the novel, reading specific advice on the areas troubling me, and incorporating some of those ideas into my notes for the outline.

Grade: B. Excellent effort, but I forgot to turn in all the work.

Project goals

I happy with my progress on the novel. I completed a rough outline, then compiled a Frankenstein draft of previously written chapters and scenes based on the outline, and am now about halfway through a tight outline, focusing on the causation chain (the but-therefore). Plus, as above, I’ve been journaling ideas for narrative, heightening tension in weaker scenes, playing with the roles of the various characters, and tightening the MC’s back story. I feel good about where I am and am looking forward to getting to the actual writing-writing of the novel.

Grade: A!

Blog goals

I’ve been posting here intermittently, but have been sticking to a blog post a day. I haven’t been posting daily, because I was behind, but I’m keeping to my project of blogging about my concept of Conscious Writing. I have some book posts to write and maybe some other thematic series once I get caught up.

Grade: B-  The work is getting done, but it’s turned in late.

Learning goals

I’ve been watching the BBC Maestro series of writing seminars, starting with Alan Moore’s master class. I also finished Carol Ann Duffy’s seminar on poetry and am halfway through Ed Mercurio’s class on writing television drama.

Moore, of course, is incomparable. Duffy’s lecture series was excellent and made me want to dip my toes into poetry again. Mercurio’s class is so-so, focused on television writing that I consider somewhat formulaic, but does have some good food for thought. Edgar Wright is up next.

I also finished Chuck Palahniuk’s Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different, which was very good. He and I are very different kinds of writers, and not all of his advice was relevant to my work, but he shares lots of insights and exercises. I found a lot to like about the book and journaled my way through it, capturing thoughts I might incorporate into my novel.

I also finished Peter Turchi’s A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic. In this book, Turchi examines the similarities between puzzle-making and writing, and importantly, between writing and puzzle-solving. By puzzle, he doesn’t mean writing a mystery novel, but rather assembling pieces of writing that obscure and reveal, until you have created a meaningful experience. Intriguing premise and excellent follow-through. This one also gave me some ideas for novel, if not actual scenes then how to approach the story as a project.

Grade: A.

Social goals

This one was always going to be a struggle for me. I logged into a writing community twice during my writing nights, and even chatted with the moderator for a bit, a blogger I admire quite a bit, so that was good, if not earthshattering. I went to the library for my writing nights twice. I know that sounds lame, but going out and being around people counts as social for me. It’s a start.

Grade: D. The work I actually did was ok, but I barely made an effort.


So, two A’s, two B’s, and a D. Honestly, that’s about what I expected. The important goals are moving forward. The social goal is intended to push me outside my comfort zone, so it’s ok that I’m off to a cruddy start. I have the year to make hay with this one, so I’m ok with baby steps.