I’m behind.  What with one thing and another, I’m doing the July Proposal a week into the month.  Which was not what I had in mind when I got the idea to do the proposal/acquittal thing online, I have to say.  Proposal on the first day of the calendar month, acquittal on the last day.  Only three weeks to get shit done, now.  Not good.  Let’s get down to it.

In August I’ll be travelling to Canada for the Montreal WorldCon, which has served to divide the second part of the year into “pre-trip” and “post-trip” in my mind.  The WorldCon expedition forms a useful psychological marker, a point by which stuff has to be seen to.

The first thing to be seen to is the writing.  Looking at it with stars in my eyes, I’d love to have, well, a pile of writing as tall as I am done by the time I get on the plane.  Looking at it rather more coldly and practically, and gingerly feeling the bruises from being brought back down to earth on three acquittals in a row, I need to adjust my sights.  I’ve got two story proposals out at the moment, and at this point I haven’t received responses on them to know how much work they’re going to require before I travel.  That makes it tricky, proposal-wise, since the next steps aren’t under my control.  Therefore, my goal is to simply keep the discussion with the editors going and have, by the end of the month, a yes/no answer on each pitch.  If yes, a deadline, feedback on the story as pitched and a start on the work.  If no, then feedback and at least the opening of correspondence on an alternative work.  (My relationship with these editors is such that the latter is a viable, proposable aim.)

The second thing is the novel.  Trying to articulate my relationship with the novel, I find myself coming back with disturbing regularity to the image of Inspector Clouseau creeping through his house, nerves twanging, waiting to be mugged by his housekeeper.  Part of what’s disturbing is that I don’t know which of us is which character.  But anyway.  Work on this thing is going to be up in the air depending on what happens on the short projects, but even assuming that they generate a high degree of work (ie they both sell and I have to write both of them before I set off for Canada) I think it’s reasonable to plan on having the novel completely plotted out and with, let’s say, another five thousand words down.  That’s a target that seems stupidly easy to me as I sit here making plans, which on the basis of the last few months probably means it’s going to turn out to be a nice challenge.

Broader writing-related stuff.  Three weeks isn’t a lot of time with the current day-job and training load plus the commitments above, so I’m going to put this heading on ice until after the trip and then see where I stand.  An email to each of three possible collaborators to keep in touch, on the other hand, is not unreasonable; ditto the professional memberships I was chiding myself for letting slide last proposal.  Two emails, two membership applications.  Half an evening’s work, at most.  Four acquittable items for the end of the month.

The blog.  I do like putting stuff up here, and I know people are reading it, and coming back and reading more of it.  I’ve two new review posts in mind, and at least one on writing.  Three posts, that’s one a week and then the acquittal.

Day job.  Steady as she goes.  Again.  Attendance okay, flex in credit even if by a small amount, no catastrophes or disgraces, my backlog cleared by the time I depart.  Nothing unachievable there, all acquittable.

And the same goes for myself, for the personal and fitness stakes.  Just stick with the exercise I’m doing, keep marching through the jujutsu syllabus, not let my diet blow out.  All I want to do here is keep being sensible.

One last thing.  I want to change the way I do these goals.  I think I need to actively check myself against this proposal at the end of each of the remaining weeks of July, make sure I’m not forgetting anything and rebalance my efforts against what I want to do.  To make sure I do this I will, for at least the first month, put up a mini-review of progress week by week.  We’ll see what difference that makes to progress over the month.

It’s hard to do steely determination when it’s cold and my eyelids are sagging.  Good thing I can’t think of anything more to add.  Off we go.