Project Blacklight: Goals Review

Good day, everyone!

Can’t believe we’re halfway through the year. I think time tends to go faster the older we get. But maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I figured I’d take the time to reflect on what I’ve done so far and review my goals. Sometimes, I go through my journals, reading the entries, reflecting on my thought processes. I don’t think I could ever create a book based on my entries alone. I don’t have stacks of journals I’ve collected over the years. And now, with a journal app on my iPhone, it kind of makes buying composition books obsolete. (Truth be told, I got tired of my daughter scribbling in my journal. It’s my fault.) So, let’s look back and evaluate where we are so far.

  1. Write Five Short Stories. To be honest, I thought this would be the toughest goal to reach. I was so nervous about how my stories would be received. After creating a tab for it, I felt the pressure to put my stories out there. I’m proud to say that I reached this goal sooner than anticipated. It helped that I had good prompts.
  2. Enter a Short Story Contest. Like the first goal, this is something I didn’t think I’d reach at this stage in the game. Granted, it was an online contest, and I don’t know if I won. But still, a contest is a contest. I give credit to the Short Story and Flash Fiction Society for me accomplishing this goal. I’m looking online for more contests to submit my work. So far, nothing’s peeked my interests, but the joy of writing is being creative and thinking outside the box.
  3. Read More. I haven’t made any progress on this goal. Getting to a bookstore is not easy. And when you’re on a budget, it doesn’t make things any easier. I did try to read a book outside of my comfort zone; a fantasy book. But I found it to be boring. There was too much backstory. I guess that’s expected with a prequel. My reading list continues to grow, however. At some point, I have to put a dent in this list. How else am I going to be a better writer?
  4. Purchase Scrivener. I amended this goal. I’m weary downloading anything on a laptop, which shouldn’t be the case since I bought one six months ago. But that was the case. I did, however, download Open Office, a free version of Microsoft Office. I’m more familiar with the suites offered, not that I would use all of them. The funny thing is that I have yet to use it. I’m not a person who types first drafts; I write them out, then type. Turning off the inner critic is difficult. The temptation to edit while typing is too great.
  5. Find a Writing Group. I feel like I accomplished this goal to a degree. A friend pointed out to me that I needed to improve my writing; she felt I was not in tune with the times, that my writing went stale. After wrestling with this statement, I agreed. So, another friend told me about Scribophile, an online writing group that encourages participation in the writing process. Online chats, making friends with other writers, and most importantly, offering critiques of other works. After earning “karma points” for participation, you can post your own stories or chapters of novels for others to critique. It’s the “circle of life,” as it is. Last week, I joined Scribophile. I’m still learning the ins and outs, but I think I’m going to like this group. I’m planning to join a live writing group sometime this year. It’s my Father’s Day gift from the family.
  6. Find a Critique Partner. I haven’t met this goal. But then, it depends on what I’m looking for. Online, I have found a few people who said that they would be happy to critique my work. But a live person is another story. So, I guess that I’ve met this goal. But, I haven’t written a full draft to submit to anyone. That’s the whole reason I downloaded Open Office and why I signed up for Scribophile. Again, that’s the inner critic inserting doubt and fear into me. I got to find a way to shut him up.
  7. Plot Out a Novel/Novella. This, I can safely say, I haven’t met. It’s not to say I don’t have ideas, but I haven’t fleshed it out to determine whether or not the idea would make a good long work like a novel. Maybe I’m thinking too hard on this goal. This, I figure, would take the most time. I’ve read posts and viewed videos on how to develop plot, characters, setting. Some novels stemmed from prompts, some from character sketches. I feel like I’m not at the point to where I can create something out of nothing. But, we’ll see.
  8. Write Every Day For a Month. I thought writing every day for a month would be easy. How wrong I was. To write every day, especially when you don’t want to, takes planning and sticking to that plan. And sticking to a plan is not easy to do when you’re all over the place. That’s a real issue with me, as I mentioned somewhat in my “Man in the Mirror” post. And I thought if I download the “One Day” app on my phone, it would be easier. I mean, I can set reminders on when to write. And it’s the same time every day. However, it doesn’t really work if you’re not committed to writing. The past couple of months, I came close. At most, I missed three days. So, I need to rethink my strategy and pull out the notebook after all.
  9. Participate in NaNoWriMo. This goal hasn’t been an issue yet. Like I said, I feel like time proceeds faster when I get older. So, it’s only a matter of time when November will be upon us. So, I’ve got to prepare. I only have four months to prep. I know July is Camp NaNo, but I’m waiting for the real deal in November, that is if I decide to take the plunge.
  10. Write In My Blog. As I mentioned in the beginning, this seems like a no-brainer. I wouldn’t have this blog if I didn’t feel like I had something to contribute to the writing world. Now granted, I had high hopes for this blog. And for the most part, I feel like I succeeded. I have a following. People read and comment on my blog. But something I didn’t do when I had my first blog was to follow others and comment on their posts. At the time, I didn’t know how to use WordPress efficiently and to its fullest potential. The joy of blogging comes from reading what other people have to say on whatever subject that they’re passionate about. And I have to say that I discovered a community and made some good friends. So, in that respect, I flourished in this goal.

So, that is where I’m at so far. Not to brag, but I feel like I’ve made progress as a writer and blogger. But I know there’s so much more to come and I have so much I need to improve upon. But I want to hear from you. Where are you in your goals? Are you where you want to be at this point? Have you added any goals? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, take care and keep writing.

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Author: G. R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

6 thoughts on “Project Blacklight: Goals Review”

  1. It sounds like you’re having a successful year, and you’ve met a lot of your goals already. Keep trucking on the other ones, and you’ll get there. I think this is the second time you’ve mentioned Scribophile, and I’m interested. Is it free of charge? I will have to look into this. I love reading your blog, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you through the A to Z Challenge and beyond! Keep up the good work.

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    1. Scribophile is free of charge, although there is a premium membership where there are extra features. I’m enjoying it so far, but still have much to learn. I think the most challenging thing, aside from working the courage to post your work, is to critique others. I’m out of practice, and I’m afraid of saying the wrong things. But I guess writing meaningful critiques come with practice and reading with the intent of developing your own writing style.

      I hope that helped. And thanks for the commentary. I’ve learned the best way to be a better writer and blogger is by getting to know others in and out of your “expertise.” The A to Z Challenge definitely helped, and I’m I got to know more people through it.

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  2. Way to go on the goals you have accomplished, George! Scrivener is a great deal. I am planning to do Camp NaNo, and if I “win,” I give away the code to get it half price. I love the way I can organize my writing with Scrivener and even format using the various files. Writing every day isn’t really that tough, but I have failed at that, too, except for this month. I am patting myself on the back. I think I will look at writing as more of a time thing once I finish the 365K Club.

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  3. George, not only are you doing so well with your goals, but you have goals! See, I avoid failure by not setting them … what a lousy life coach I am to myself. My promise on here, I will set goals. I will do a blog post next month on this subject – there, I’ve set myself a firm goal. One I think will be hard to do, but as I’ve made it public here, harder to wriggle out of!

    Like Lauren, I’m interested in the online writing group – do tell us more when you have the time.

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  4. Good on you, George, for making your goals public. I’ve heard from others how helpful that can be. Hopefully, it will help with fulfilling the goals you’re pushing for in the rest of the year, too.

    I have to say, I work primarily with Office (Open and Microsoft) for my initial writing, though Scrivener was a great tool for editing and preparing to publish. For first drafts, I suspect it’s more advantageous for luckier folks who don’t have details bouncing around in their heads all the time. 😉

    NaNoWriMo is a fun exercise. It really helped cement for me the importance of writing every day. Ten years after my first NaNo, I still write every day. 🙂 The key truly is finding the right time of day for you, whether that’s in the morning before everyone’s awake, at night after everyone’s asleep, on a commute, a lunch break, or while dinner is in the oven. Having buddies helps, too – your writing group sounds like a good place for that, already.

    Congratulations on completing so many of your goals, and good luck with the rest!

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