Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New goal and own goal

Kate Ellison of the blog Southern Scrawl has changed her name to Kate Avery Ellison. She's also got a book available on Kindle from Amazon. Congratulations to her on the publication of Once Upon a Beanstalk. There's another Kate Ellison. This Kate has a book, The Butterfly Clues, due out next year. If anybody knows this second Kate Ellison, could you please point her in the direction of Southern Scrawl so Kate Avery Ellison can forward the lovely emails she's been getting for her?

The girls go back to school tomorrow. The beginning of September has always been my New Year, the time when I make plans and set goals. This year is going to be slightly different in that the only goals I'm going to set are writing ones. I'm posting one of them here in the hope that I might work on that procrastination habit of mine, and hold myself accountable. Well, anything's worth trying, right?

The big goal, then, is to stop faffing about. A few words written here and there followed by deletion, is no good to anyone. I can tell myself it's okay, it happens to everyone. Or I can realise that aiming to one day be a professional writer means behaving in a professional manner. This is why I've ripped the guts out of my current wip and am, to all intents and purposes, starting again. My big goal then, is to have the first draft of this story finished by the end of October. I have other opportunities that I won't be able to take advantage of if I don't do this properly. Playtime is over and the new term has started.

Talking of procrastination, here's what can happen when you suffer from it. Today is a perfect day to tell you this story as it was the final day of the football (soccer) transfer window. (Mixed fortunes for my team). Readers who have been around for a while may remember this post. For those who don't want to read it, it tells of an idea I wrote down in my early teens that later turned up as much of the plot line in the film Sleeping with the Enemy. It happens of course, there's no such thing as an original idea. To be fair, at the time I wasn't ready to write any novel, let alone that one.

It was a different matter last Summer. That's when I first began to think seriously about trying to write a novel. I thought about the old old adage 'write about what you know', and this is the outline I came up with:

Summer is 15. She has supported Liverpool FC all of her life, it's something she shares with her dad. She's never seen them play live as they live on the other side of the country. Her father gets tickets to the 2005 Champions League final to be held in Istanbul, Turkey.* Dad dies a few weeks before the match and Summer decides to run away to Europe to watch the match, taking her father's ashes with her. The story will end with her walking into the stadium at the start of the match.

There were a lot of notes, but that was the basic premise. I love Liverpool FC and I was really excited about this idea, but then that nasty little voice crept in. The one that told me it was a stupid idea, that boys wouldn't read a book about a girl, and girls wouldn't read a book 'about football'. I should have written it anyway, because it was the story I wanted to tell. Instead I wrote something else, that turned out to be a novella rather than a novel.

A few days ago, whilst struggling with the current wip I decided to make some more notes for my football tale. Whilst doing research I found this story (and how did I miss this back in May?) Again, for those who don't want to read it, it's a news story discussing an upcoming film about a boy who runs away to Istanbul to watch the 2005 Champions League Final in memory of his dead father. If there's something you really want to write, just write it. Before somebody else does.

*This final is widely held to be the best ever in the history of the competition. Liverpool, the underdogs, were 3-0 down at half time. Nobody had ever come back to win from that deficit in this competition, much less against AC Milan. They finished the match 3-3, then Liverpool won the championship 3-2 on penalties.


  1. I'm right there with you on the "get down to business & write goal". I've been distracted by a great many things, and it's about time I finished my revisions. :D

    You're right, write that book before someone else does! Good luck reaching your goal.

  2. I know I've been distracted lately. Hopefully with school starting (meaning less noise in the house), I can get back on track, too. Thanks for the kick I needed today. :)

  3. I'll be cheering you in your writing goals next month. BTW, when I wrote my first book and queried it, I found out something similar had just sold. Rats.

  4. Sarah, reading this tells me you have great ideas, but you have what Zig Ziglar (an American motivational speaker) calls stinkin' thinkin'.
    You can be an incredibly successful writer if you'll listen to your heart instead of that dumb assed(sorry no polite way to say it) voice in your head.
    Now, get to work. I want a draft on my desk in six weeks Missy.

  5. Procrastination comes easy with the challenging writing projects for me. The ones I feel more comfortable writing are a breeze. But right now I am trying to write my first YA short story and for some reason it is so much harder than writing adult short stories.

    I have a post coming out on Friday about procrastination and writing that will be on WOW! Women on Writing's blog The Muffin if you'd like to check it out :)

  6. Thie last note was from Rick . I was logged onto Jilda's iPad. Ooooops.

  7. I agree with you, I need to stop dreaming of writing my current WIP and just sit down and write it. :) Thanks for the advice and good luck!

  8. I need to stop "faffing" about too. Thanks for that new word that I'm going to use all week now. :)

  9. Well,

    all the best for your goals! Blog helps a lot to stay focused on goals!!

    Keep posting updates and it will be cool!! Sept is surely, beginning of new year!!!

    with warm regards
    Another Author

  10. I think it must be summer fever becasue I have had the same issues. Maybe now that school is starting again I will find some kind of groove? Let's hope so.

  11. Sarah it's one of my biggest fears and keeps me locked static status...someone else having my story before me. As I've had the story in my head for most of my life, and already written it I need to let go and send it off. Eeeks!

  12. I think you've learned an important lesson: don't hesitate, write! Of course you know this by now, but I'm telling you to write because I'm being selfish. You have awesome story ideas and I want to read them! I hope you finish your goal. I'll be here waiting when you do.

  13. Faffing is something that I do so very well, and it's hard to get into that professional mindset where you're able to write like a demon. At least that now we know your goal we'll be cheering you on all the more :)

  14. Thanks for the reminder that I need to make some new goals. They really are immportant as they give you something to work towards and push you to try harder. Good luck!

    Btw-I think there are plenty of girls who would love a soccer story, mine included. Soccer fans at my house!

  15. I love your last sentence - write what you ant to, before someone else does! Brilliant advice. I hope you can follow your new September resolutions. (And I actually like that September is a time to review and make changes)

    When I first started writing my wip, I used to write as and when I (Thought) I could. In the last couple of months, I've gone to sit down at my computer even when I didn't think I had it in me to write (not always, but it is a lot more regularly.) and it has really made a difference to how the novel has progressed.

    If you want to do it, even if it's just half an hour a day, it will keep the story fresh in your mind and you will see it come on in leaps and bounds. Good luck!

  16. I hate when you get pipped at the post like that. I need to set some goals for September, back to school season always feels like a fresh start.

  17. I've lived in Liverpool twice in my life, once when i was a toddler and once at University. My brother is a Liverpool Football supporter.
    At he moment my writerly brain is on a go slow. I am hoping when hubby goes back to work after his 9day break that I can set myself a schedule of writing. Good luck with your writerly goals.

  18. Distraction is terrible - it's always waiting around to snatch us away from writing... I struggle to stick to my goals all the time, but all we can do is keep going forward and trying:)

  19. Goal based work is too much work. If I have to decide a break down of what I have to achieve, i'll be over the job before i begin. Just start, and go to you stop I say.

    Also, I gave you an award.

  20. Sarah - I like your determination to get down to it and write. I need to remind myself to do that, too!

    And I love your idea for a novel! What a good combination of themes! Family, sport, the risks of travel. I like it.

  21. I hear you about the procrastination! It's really hard sometimes to just make yourself sit down and write. It's awful that someone beat you to your previous ideas, but as you said, it's a lesson learned and I know you can get it done this time around.

  22. I'm a terrible procrastinator. Then I have these burst of prolific energy where I write tons of stuff. And I hear it over and over particularly from writers to write what you want to, when you want to. The rest will fall into place.

  23. Great quote: "If there's something you really want to write, just write it. Before somebody else does" :)

  24. In the words of Nike, "Just do it." :) These are great ideas! I love stories involving sports.

  25. It's too bad there are no original ideas. I think it lends itself to the entitlement issues that everyone seems to have.

  26. "Stop faffing about' is an excellent goal. I'd adopt it myself if I thought there was much chance of my achieving it.

  27. I'm with you. There's nothing for it but to stop procrastinating and just do it before somebody else does it.

  28. That is so true, Sarah. I often wonder, as I'm writing, whether anyone would be mad enough to be writing the same thing - I guess the answer now has to be: probably!

  29. I have to say that the BuNoWriMo was fab for making me focus on a story and just go with it... and no re-reading or editing as you went. It was all about bulk at the beginning...

    I know what you mean about September being a new year...
    Good luck with your resolution!

  30. Good luck with your first draft!

    I really like the sound of the story. :)

  31. Oh, Sarah! I was reading your synopsis for your FC novel and thinking of how I could cheer you on to write it.

    Then I read your next paragraph.

    So sorry that someone else already wrote your idea. BUT what a compliment to your line of thinking when it comes to writing a novel that there's a film coming out about almost the very same idea that you thought of.

    From now on, I think you should go with your gut because it sounds like you're right-on!

  32. "faffing"? What the heck is faffing?

    But, wait, I have SO many ideas! Seriously, I can't keep up with them, and I spend a lot of time praying no one else happens upon one of my ideas before I get to it.

    It really scares me.

  33. Distractions seem to join forces and attack in unison. Sometimes I just want to have a spare room with PC, desk, chair, coffee pot and maybe a window. And I've always had a concern, a sense of urgency, to finish writing because someone else may beat me to market with the same story.

  34. I love the big goal -

    Stop faffing about . . .


  35. I need to stop faffing about! Time to start writing!

  36. Happy New Year!
    I'm with you .. time to get my head down and get stuck into it! I've booked into an intensive workshop in November - so I need my wip complete by then. ;)
    Happy Writing

  37. Faffers of the world unite! But sometimes, I tell myself, it's time I need to get my head in the right place. I can do self-delusion too!

  38. Yay you - go big goals! Happy writing (and campaigning!)

  39. I hope everything is going well! With the kids back in school I'm sure it feels like everything sort of falls into place!

  40. Writing is good. Every time you don't your readers are the ones who suffer. So don't think of writing as your thing for you, but your thing for others. You sound like a very selfless person:)

  41. I've always loved the beginning of September - it's full of potential and promise. Sounds like you're raring to go!

  42. I am big on goal setting! If you don't know where you're going, and why you want to get there, how will you ever arrive?

  43. I know next to nothing about FCs, so your story sounds fascinating already. And you've given me a brand new word--faffing. Love it!

  44. "If there's something you really want to write, just write it. Before someone else does."

    Brilliant!! Sage advice that we all should heed. I'm realizing more and more that people are just so scared by writing, which is ridiculous. Just write! For the love of it.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  45. So true that there's no such thing as an original idea. But as long long as you're not rehashing the same story again and again and again you are leaps and bounds ahead of the film industry!! (Seriously, how many times can they make and remake the same movie?)

  46. OMG, really?!?! Even though a basic premise is the same, no two writers will ever write the same story though, ya know?

    Yeah, September IS kind of like a new beginning, isn't it?

  47. CherylAnne - Thank you, and good luck with your revisions too :-)

    David - Free kicks available whenever you need them :-)

    Angelina - Oh no, that's every writer's fear!

    Rick - Stinkin' thinkin', I like it. Will you give me 8 weeks to deliver? :-)

    K - I'll definitely be checking out your post today, thanks.

    Krista M - Indeed. There's never a 'right time', there's only now.

    Lydia K - It's an awesome word isn't it? I love the English language :-)

    AllMyPosts - You're right, blogging helps. I've told people what I'm going to do now, so I have to do it!

    Jen B - I know you'll get your groove thang back :-)

    Sush - Do it. Let it fly. You might be amazed :-)

    Emily - I have indeed learned. This one hurt a bit; and thank you for the lovely compliment.

    Jamie - We're all guilty of faffing at some point, aren't we? Your cheers will be most welcome!

    Ruth - I agree, goals definitely help me. Glad to hear there are soccer fans at your house :-)

    Rebecca - You really are an inspiration to me. I know things are tough but you keep on keeping on. Sending you hugs x

    Christine M - Pipped at the post is a bit generous. I didn't get past the notes and rough outline stage but, yes, it hurts!

  48. Madeleine - You went to uni in Liverpool? That's very cool! I don't blame you for being out of kilter with hubby home. Lovely disruption, but disruption nonetheless :-)

    tfwalsh - Good advice. Forward and trying - that's me ;-)

    Travis - I admire people who can just put their mind to it and do it. I'm learning now that I need a solid goal. Thanks again for the award, I'll be writing about it next week.

    Margot - I suspect that you are someone who is not lacking in determination. You're definitely someone I admire.

    Crystal - It is hard, but yes, a lesson learned!

    Bish - It's amazing how many writers confess to being procrastinators, and yet we have all these lovely books. It gives me hope :-)

    Kelley - Thank you. It's going to be my mantra I think :-)

    Liz F - It may be an advertising slogan, but it makes great writing advice too!

    Michael - I'd be really interested in hearing you expand on this.

    Patsy - Well, it's okay to faff if you do something constructive inbetween :-)

    J.L. Campbell - Indeed. You certainly have!

    Annalisa C - At least you know yours will be a unique version :-)

    Laura - It's much easier to edit something later when you've actually written the thing!

    Golden Eagle - Thank you. I'll keep you posted on how it's going!

    Lauren - What a lovely way to look at it. Who doesn't like compliments like that? Thank you :-)

  49. Andrew - I was trying to think of a way to describe faffing but someone did it for me - Wiktionary has it as wasting time on an unproductive activity - which is close enough. Apparently, an American synonym is 'dick around' :-)

    We're very protective of our ideas, aren't we?

    Stephen - Welcome to you. Why is distraction so much more ready to attack than productivity is? One of the mysteries of the world :-)

    Jolene P - Faffers of the world unite!

    Alleged Author - If I can, you can. Take a stand against faffing :-)

    Michelle - Thank you :-)
    The workshop must be a brilliant incentive to get writing. Good luck!

    Jo - A faffer AND a self-delusionist? Are we sisters? :-)

    Jolene - Thank you and welcome to you. I love your blog heading btw :-)

    Jen D - Hey there, good to see you coming up for air! I hope you're right!

    Munir - Welcome to you. That's a really lovely way to describe writing. Thank you.

    Talli - I am. I haven't felt this excited for weeks. It's brilliant :-)

    L. Diane - Good point. I have enough of that when I step out of the door, without dealing with it in my writing :-)

    Julie - You'll be surprised at what a versatile word it can be. You'' wonder how you ever managed without it!

    Sarah - 'Just write. For the love of it.' I love that :-)

    Liz - So true. How many Rockys have there been now?

    Christina - You never know, I might it one day. You know, when I run out of ideas ;-)

  50. My son has just started nursery and I agree, this has made September feel like a whole 'new year' for me. I hope you have lots of success getting it written and out there.

  51. Imperfect Pages - Thank you. I hope your son is loving nursery, and you're enjoying a couple of free hours :-)


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