Nov. 2nd, 2009

I intend to make a blog post every weekday during my writing sabbatical. The first one is where I think about why I'm doing this, and what I want to get out of these three months.

Overall goals

1) To write a novel that I'm sufficiently happy with to send off to agents and/or publishers, and send it.

2) To be ready to start a new job as a manager in Jobcentre Plus by the beginning of February.

But there are also other things I'm doing with my time:

- I'm a sort of 'extra' in an English National Opera production of The Messiah - this will involve three rehearsals a week, and ten performances in late November and early December.
- I'm organising two readthroughts - a small one in late November, and a bigger one in late January.
- I'm learning ancient Greek with the Open University.
- I'm starting to practise playing and singing music again after fifteen years of not doing very much on it at all.

I need to devote enough time to those things to make them successful.


Daily Targets

I think the best way of approaching these thing is to have certain things which I aim to do every day.

- Write fiction (average 8 hours, mostly novel, but can include other stuff). That's the main reason why I'm doing this.
- Exercise (average half an hour - this is going to be mostly Wii Fit). After 33 years of denial, I finally admit that exercise is good for me and makes me feel better. Bah.
- Work on learning ancient Greek (average half an hour).
- Practise music (average 20 minutes). I've promised myself a new recorder if I can practice every day for six months. I have yet to decide whether to bend the rules to let the three months I've already done count.
- Spend some time out of the house. I get grumpy and headachy if I stay in all day.
- Read. I can't make good sentences without studying how other people do it.
- Make the house more beautiful. Because I find it impossible not to.

In my daily entries I'll write something about how I fared in each of those respects, and try to also write about something I've learnt, or ask a question. There may be occasional brief excerpts of writing too, though they will be kept to a minimum as my intention is to write for publication.

They aren't hard and fast targets - they won't apply if I'm away from home, for example. And if the weather gets really cold, then neither leaving the house, nor half an hour of exercise, nor eight hours of writing is likely to be a possibility.

I've signed up for Nanowrimo, so another goal for this month will be 50,000 words of my fiction. Ideally, this will be 50,000 new words on my novel, but I'm being flexible and may end up counting substantially rewritten parts of my novel and/or short stories.

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Catriona Mackay

November 2012

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