Well hello, Mucus Monkey …

blog thumbnailOnce again, good intentions have gone down the drain, mostly due this time to a swift bout of head flu.

When I let the animals out yesterday morning I thought I was feeling better, but I went back to bed (it was only about 5:30am) and woke up 6 hours later. I got up and got dressed, and just that act of getting dressed totally exhausted me.

So I sat around, reading, feeling sorry for myself.

I did start some work, but kept being distracted. And then I found out that nuisance neighbour isn’t just fixating on me any more. He’s started on the lovely young chap on the end, a serving soldier, for daring to challenge him over driving through his washing.

Numerous times nuisance neighbour has done this, knocking washing on the floor or just dirtying it so it has to be done again, without apology or anything, and when soldier neighbour complained, nuisance neighbour apparently reported him to the police for parking his car in the way of nuisance neighbour’s van.

It seems the council and the police have both said we can all park our own cars on our own properties at the back, but if our way is blocked by someone else doing the same thing, tough. There’s no right of way, just an etiquette thing.

So now nuisance neighbour has, apparently, reported soldier neighbour for vandalising his van by throwing down nails and stingers to puncture his tyres.

Well, I walk the dog around there every single day and I’ve never seen such a thing. But nuisance neighbour has also apparently told the police that I’m filming the back of the house so will provide them with the necessary evidence.

Erm, I don’t think so. Apart from the fact that I’m not yet filming the back of the house anyway, what makes him think I would want to help him?!

What a deluded idiot.

Anyway, I await the police visit with interest and, meanwhile, will pass the information on to my solicitor.

The head flu isn’t much better today. Well, the stuffiness has gone from behind my eyes, but the mucus monkey has settled into my sinuses and I have a barbed wire throat. I’m not as tired, but I still don’t have much energy.

So far today I’ve updated the gig list, which was already late for February. And that’s it. Next job, the job boards I think.

Nail Your Novel (book review)

nail novelI had quite the productive day yesterday. I’ve found a new book – oh yes I have – and like many others it starts off really well and positive, but unlike many others, this one is actually holding my interest and keeping me writing.

On Sunday evening I wrote nearly 600 words onto index cards for Catch the Rainbow. I’ve been looking for hints and tips about using index cards for ages, and finally I seem to have found some. Then yesterday, I wrote nearly 900 words of the book. This is a result for me, and a process I intend to stick to.

For years and years I’ve been reading books on how to write, and so many of them disappoint and end up donated to the library, because they all have such useless exercises in them, or none at all, that contribute nothing to my job as a writer.

I don’t want to write 13 different versions of the view through a window. I don’t want to describe the folds in the face of a total stranger. I don’t want to imagine stepping out of my front door and into an oasis of calm with waterfalls and wood nymphs everywhere.

I want practical exercises and suggestions for getting my bum on that seat and getting my novel/short story/article written. Yes, I want someone or something to tell me, right, go and do this now, and when that’s been done, do that next … and so on. I want something that moves my work forward to a publishable end, not exercises for the sake of exercises because I’ve got all day.

I’m halfway through this book already, and there I stay for a while, because I’m currently in the middle of “write the first draft”, and writing the first draft takes a while – as it should. And even though I can plan for England, the tips in this book helped me to fill some gaps and show me the structure of the novel as a whole.

I can still add to it, and I can take away, nothing is cast in stone. Bur for something that does exactly what it says on the cover, this is the one. There are also ideas and hints about kick-starting partially written novels hidden away in cupboards gathering cobwebs, virtual and real.

For anyone else who may be interested, the author also has a website. Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. I have the Kindle, but when I’m feeling flush I may treat myself to the paperback as well so it can sit on my bookshelf.

Aside from this I also corresponded with my solicitor over nuisance neighbour and fielded yet another complaint via The Environment Agency. Apparently I’ve been polluting my storm drain. I don’t have a storm drain … Nuff said. I was in touch with The Environment Agency too, because when I did actually report nuisance neighbour for pouring neat bleach down the storm drain that he does have (on police advice), the agency told me it was nothing to do with them. Yet they responded to a trumped up imaginary complaint and threatened me with legal proceedings. They say the letter I received was no such thing, but I beg to differ – and am still awaiting the promised apology and confirmation that there is no case to answer to.

I also had cheques to bank (hurrah!) and a dog to walk. And I finished making a raspberry trifle that will be my puddings for the next few days.

Today I’m not feeling so grand. It started with a weepy ear at the weekend, through a “bit of a throat” yesterday, to full head flu today, and I spent the morning in bed trying to sleep/sweat it away/out. I have work to do, though, and stuff to see to. “Liggin’ in bed” (as they say around here) is not really an option.

February targets (list alert)

Last week I was very, very busy.

Friday was spent mostly trying to make sense of February – bidding for any extra work I think I may need, agreeing to new jobs from existing clients, planning properly so the workload – and the income – is spread out more evenly, and making sure I make time for my work as well as everybody else’s, although everybody else’s pays the bills (mine will and should eventually).

Saturday I went along to another write-in in Leeds and I wrote over 1,200 words, which included the first draft of a short story and an outline for a new filler.

Sunday was spent weeding out work I don’t want – ie work that doesn’t pay enough or that would take me too long to make it worthwhile – and coming up with a to do list for February …

… and here it is …

Writerly

  1. Allocate 2 hours every day to WRITING
  2. Write walks report for local papers weekly
  3. Write and submit 1 story for fave story market
  4. Write and submit 1 filler or reader’s letter
  5. Write and submit 1 article or RTE (reader’s true experience)
  6. Arrange interviews for non-fiction #1
  7. Revise book proposal for non-fiction #1
  8. Write at least 1,000 words per day across all writing projects 
  9. Attend Leeds write-in at least once a fortnight
  10. Complete 1st draft of 1st story for new anthology

Editing and proof-reading

  1. Surf job boards daily (x 2)
  2. Bid for at least one job per day
  3. Try and win at least one new job per week

Jobs already in

  1. Edit historical fiction #1
  2. Edit historical fiction #2
  3. Proof-read historical non-fiction #1
  4. Draft outline for paranormal article #1

Other

  1. Enter daily competitions daily
  2. Walk dog daily – 30 minutes minimum weekdays; 1 hour minimum weekends
  3. Update gig list weekly 
  4. Update diary weekly 
  5. Raise invoices weekly 
  6. Filing daily 
  7. Shredding daily 
  8. Tidy desk daily
  9. Bake weekly 
  10. Visit parents fortnightly 
  11. Daily yoga workout
  12. 2 high-energy workouts per week
  13. 1 x < 5-mile walk
  14. Ensure I do diddley squat on my monthly Do Diddle Day

The pic at the bottom is February’s photograph in the calendar. It’ll appear again on this month’s Do Diddle Day.

Pugneys, Wakefield
Pugneys, Wakefield