Annual Writing Goal Progress in Q1, 2024 (What’s Working Well?)

4 Apr 2024 | Writing

Title image: Annual Writing Goals: Progress in Q1, 2024 (What's Working Well?)

We’re a quarter of the way through 2024, with three months down already. 

Some years, I get loads done in this first quarter of the year (Q1). But the first three months of 2024 didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped, with a huge number of coughs/colds/bugs going around at my kids’ school (and at home too).

I’ve made some writing progress that I’m really happy with, though! Here’s how 2024 is shaping up so far. I hope some of my goals – and my thoughts on what’s been working for me and what I want to tweak – might help you with your writing goals too.

Recap: My Writing Goals for 2024

At the start of the year, I wrote about my writing goals for 2024, which are:

  1. Write 250+ words of fiction every day
  2. Finish and publish my novel Reaper
  3. Write four short stories
  4. Write weekly blog posts and newsletters

Most of these have been going well – though that’s partly because I’ve had less freelance work than usual during Q1 (I’m starting to see significant AI disruption to my writing gigs). 

I’d always planned to move away a little from freelancing during this year to focus more on Aliventures again, so I’m trying to see this as an opportunity to do just that!

Progress on Goal #1: Write 250+ Words/Day of Fiction

This goal’s been going really well!

In 2023, I started out aiming to write 500 words/day, but found that didn’t work well once I was into the editing/revision stage of projects, and it fell down during really busy periods.

This year, I went with a smaller goal – and I’ve been able to hit that goal every single day. I wrote a total of 32,946 words during January, February, and March.

What’s Working Well

The things that have worked best for me are:

  • Having a smaller goal than last year. 250 words feels like “not enough” … but it’s adding up fast. I’ve actually averaged 362 words/day, so I’m generally writing more than my goal.
  • Writing first thing in the morning when possible. I definitely have more creative energy and motivation at that time of the day, in our current season of life/parenting.

Tweaks I’m Making for Q2

One small tweak I’m making for Q2 (after having to do a lot of backtracking when I realised I’d missed counting a day somewhere on my spreadsheet!) is to record my daily wordcount in my novel/short story documents, as well as in my spreadsheet.

A bigger change I want to make is to be more deliberate about carving out time for other stages of the writing process, particularly brainstorming new projects and revising/editing current ones.

Progress on Goal #2: Finish and Publish Reaper

I’ve made some progress on revising Reaper … but it’s been slower than I’d like. 

I’ve been making some fairly large changes, like integrating one character more into the story (he’s getting added into a character’s backstory so several parts of the narrative are changing) and making some changes to the ending.

What’s Working Well

Having longer writing sessions (an hour or more) has been so helpful with the goal … unfortunately, I’ve only managed that twice! 

Most of my progress was when I had a couple of hours as a block one evening, then several hours on a Sunday afternoon/evening during a writing retreat.

Tweaks I’m Making for Q2

I definitely need to make some bigger writing blocks! I can draft new material OK in my daily short writing sessions, but when it comes to integrating new stuff and reshaping the novel, I definitely need longer to really get into it and see the bigger picture.

During Q2, I’ll be looking ahead more to plan space on my calendar for these larger blocks of time. My husband and I are also working together to make sure we each get one evening a week off from childcare/household duties, so I’ll often be using my time then for Reaper.

Progress on Goal #3: Write Four Short Stories

During this quarter, I wrote and submitted a short story to a Writing Magazine competition. I was a bit last minute with this one and had to stay up late on the day of the deadline (15th January) to finish it … but at least I got it done!

I also wrote a second short story, this one for the Swanwick Writing for Children competition, and sent that off right at the end of March. I came second in this competition last year, so fingers crossed…

What’s Working Well

The two things I’ve found most helpful on this goal are:

  • Using my daily writing time to draft the short stories in little chunks. It’s hard to sit down and write a full short story in one go, but I’ve been building them up across four or five daily sessions.
  • Having deadlines! I might have managed to draft these stories without the competition deadlines … but I don’t think I’d have revised and edited them, with my main focus being on writing my 250 words/day.

Tweaks I’m Making for Q2

I’m pretty happy with how this goal has been going! But since I’ve already written two short stories, I’m taking a break from them for the next three months to focus on other projects.

Progress on Goal #4: Write Weekly Posts and Newsletters

I’ve been keeping up with the Aliventures blog posts and newsletters well. (You can find the blog post archive here and the newsletter archive here, if you’ve missed any over the past few months.)

It helps that I’ve had less freelancing work than usual, as this has given me time to use for getting ahead on planning and drafting content.

What’s Working Well

Most of the time this quarter, I’ve been:

  • Planning ahead in my content calendar so I know what I’m writing for the next 3+ months.
  • Having outlines for at least the next couple of weeks of posts and newsletters.
  • Getting somewhat ahead with posts and newsletters … sometimes I’ve been almost a whole month ahead, sometimes only a week ahead!

Tweaks I’m Making for Q2

I’ve noticed during Q1 that a couple of blog post steps haven’t gone as smoothly as I thought, so in Q2, I want to:

  • Allow extra time (or add in an extra step to my process) for posts that need examples to show a particular writing technique. It always takes me ages to find good examples, partly because I invariably get distracted by reading bits of the book I’m looking through!
  • Planning ahead more with old posts that I’m updating and republishing. I haven’t been doing a very good job of incorporating these into the content calendar … but there are plenty of old posts buried in the archives that could do with an update.

How about you? What have you accomplished over the past three months with your own writing? (Please don’t feel bad if the answer is “nothing”. It’s a brand new quarter now and you can set some fresh goals.)

I’d love to hear what’s been going well and what you’re learning along the way – just drop a comment below.

About

I’m Ali Luke, and I live in Leeds in the UK with my husband and two children.

Aliventures is where I help you master the art, craft and business of writing.

My Novels

My contemporary fantasy trilogy is available from Amazon. The books follow on from one another, so read Lycopolis first.

You can buy them all from Amazon, or read them FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

1 Comment

  1. Tyler Bains

    We write goals just like this, use separate books for each. We have a quarterly book with goals, a monthly book and a daily planner. If the tasks are not aligned with the goals, they are chopped.

    Reply

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