I’m not a writer who tally up my words, write up goals and mark them off in a diary. It’s partly because I don’t need the motivation but mostly because I’m too busy getting on with things to have much time for reflection. (Not saying there’s anything wrong with journaling. To each their own)

However, February marked my official return to part-time work. While I have been back at uni teaching for the past eighteen months, it was only a few hours a week and for subjects I was well-versed in and therefore didn’t require much effort.

This time round was different. I’d be assigned two new, challenging subjects. To take on the role, I had to set up my toddler in childcare for a couple of days a week. My mental space had to shift to make room to fit in these uni courses that suddenly became my responsibility.

Unsurprisingly, my writing suffered. I received three rejections for short stories that I’d submitted to various magazines and competitions. My manuscript sat opened on my Scrivener window – unedited except for occasionally tweaking a sentence. My writing felt wobbly, hollow. My characters were weak outlines and sketches with no substance. I returned to reading fanfiction, a dirty habit I thought I’d kicked.

I was chatting with my mentor about these setbacks last night and she mentioned she found articulating monthly goals a good way to actually see her progress, which is more important when you’re moving slowly, balancing writing with other life commitments.

So I thought I’d give it a go this month. Write down what I have achieved, plan for next month.

February writing progress:

  1. Six chapters edited of my manuscript Love in the Age of Time Travel (only twenty four more to go. Cue delirious laughter)
  2. Read a couple of books. The Cruel Prince. The Wicked King. Both by Holly Black.
  3. Sent off two more queries/ submission for two short stories. (fingers crossed)
  4. Started fleshing out a proof-of-concept document for a game I’d love to write (which is also doubling up as an assignment example for my games student )
  5. And … that’s all.
  6. You see how little I’ve achieved?! (Weep!)

Goals for March

  1. Edit two new chapters of Love in the Age of Time Travel ready to send to my critiquing buddy
  2. Finish writing my proof-of-concept document for my game idea.
  3. Read a novel suggested by my mentor. A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty. (This is in response to my complaint that YA fantasy heroines were too one dimensional and all felt like reincarnations of Katniss Everdeen)

Writing this stuff down already makes me feel mildly more hopeful about my progress. What have you crossed off your to-do list for February? What are your goals for March?