Winter’s drawing in

It's a sheep. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
It’s a sheep. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I had a 3-gig weekend – or a 4-gig if you count that we left one early and stopped off at another on the way home.

On Friday evening we first headed off to see a friend in her band, then on the way home we stopped of at a local where there was another band playing, one we didn’t know but they had a saxophone …

On Saturday we ran some errands, took the dog for a ride, Rufus and I were both treated. Then Saturday evening my favourite front man was playing in my favourite band – and the other WaGs made me feel welcome too.

Sunday I was supposed to be working, but I ended up cogitating and more navel gazing. I bid for another 6 jobs and opened negotiations on another. And Sunday evening we headed out for our third/fourth gig of the weekend.

Three-gig weekends are very tiring, and I’m just a spectator. I take my hat off to the musicians and performers who do it every week.

The temperature dropped quite significantly over the weekend, but we had 2 glorious days of sunshine. I managed to get washing on the line, but I can feel that winter’s on its way. It’s going to be a cosy winter this year, I think.

I have a very busy week ahead because my hours are shorter. On Thursday I’m off to Birmingham for the day to see my parents, and Friday this week is an errands day. So I have to squeeze 5 days’ work into 3. Obviously I’m not going to manage that physically, so I have to prioritise.

I have a non-fiction to edit and a fiction to edit. I think I have another non-fiction edit on the way, too. I’ve also been promised a non-fiction to proofread. I have an article to write, pictures to chase, a walks report to write (if I get the data) and submit. I have job boards to surf. I have the gig list to update, and the diary to do. And I have a few bureaucratic forms to fill in.

I also have a novel to write and a non-fiction to write, but as those aren’t earning straight away I may have to concentrate on them in my spare time. The business manager already isn’t happy with the other “pro-bono” work I do for the Ramblers or on the gig list, so I have to justify any time spent on the writing at the moment – because my current priority is to earn money.

Only 3 more pictures from our holiday to share this week. This was just one of the many sheep that accompanied us on many trips, and it was taken by the poet/business manager/favourite front man/boyfriend extraordinaire/my biggest fan.

Right, a non-fiction first, I think …

Didn’t really do diddley squat yesterday

The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I didn’t really have a Do Diddle Day yesterday. I set the Do Diddle posts to publish automatically and it was about 11pm on Wednesday night when I remembered I hadn’t cancelled the post on the blog. It’s a nice picture, though, so I decided to leave it – and hopefully no one would try to contact me.

I had a busy week this week. I have a wonderful new business manager (who also happens to be the poet) and he worked out a proper pricing module for me. This has made it so much easier to bid for work, and quicker too, so saving time that isn’t actually paid for.

It turns out that I’ve been charging roughly half what I should be charging minimum for proofreading, and about a fifth of what I should be charging minimum for editing. This is based on the average time it takes me to edit or proofread 1,000 words or a page.

Unfortunately, people don’t seem to want to pay the going rate for anything and want to get everything as cheaply as possible, and even free. Sadly, that doesn’t pay my mortgage nor buy my groceries.

This week I bid for 14 jobs at the old rate, and now I’m hoping everyone declines me, because now I see why I seem to be working all hours yet totally skint. Yesterday I bid for 6 jobs at the new rate. Today I hope to bid for a few more. Time will tell if maybe I’m just not working fast enough.

I’ve had a new edit come in this week and another revision on an old edit. I’ve also been promised a new edit. The non-fiction edits actually come well within my new pricing module. The fiction edits, unfortunately, are coming well outside. I seem to spend more time on the fiction, yet I get paid less for it. I’ll have to think very carefully when another new edit comes in.

The non-fiction regular work is fine. I have one lot of revisions, one new book and one on the way. The fiction regular work is less fine. I have one lot of revisions in and one new book. I won’t be chasing for work there in future, but I will still have to consider it if I have nothing else in.

Because of the new pricing module, I’ve had to increase hours worked on paid stuff and decrease hours worked on my own stuff. If I want to do my own stuff, I need to get up earlier. This work will generate income at some point, but it is still speculative and I can’t guarantee how much I’ll be paid or when I’ll see it.

I still have a lot of navel gazing to do, clearly.

I also updated the gig list this week for October and I’ve done usual admin work.

I’m not sure yet if I’m going to the Leeds write-in tomorrow. I may prefer to spend the travel time actually writing now I can’t justify writing during my working week. I do have 2 gigs this weekend, though – one on Saturday and one on Sunday, both in Doncaster.

Today’s picture is of the lovely little cottage where we stayed when we went to Dent.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, have a good one.

Should’ve done this yesterday …

Look what the poet found across the River Dove ... (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Look what the poet found across the River Dove … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

It was a very busy weekend in the end starting with an emotional gig Friday night. It was emotional for several reasons, but the main one was to say farewell to someone off on a university adventure the next day. Also, someone I thought was a friend surprised me quite disappointingly … so they’ll probably be going into the next novel …

On Saturday we were at a charity boxing match helping to raise funds for several charities. That started at 11am for us, and finished close to 4pm. A quick rest and then we were off to Leeds to surprise another friend in his band. We had a good night and enjoyed dancing along to some less familiar tunes that aren’t done to death on the gig circuit.

Sunday was another day of rest.

Yesterday I started the new week with a vengeance and got quite a lot of bitty work done, admin work, diary work, planning work, those kinds of things. I also reviewed a book edit that really needs to be signed off now, but there are still tons of problems with the layout and with someone keep tinkering. If this book comes back with more work I’m going to need a new fee. I don’t mind correcting my own mistakes, but I’m not really responsible for everybody else’s too. Or a faulty system.

That job took longer than I intended, and so today I’ve done the walks report, and submitted it to 6 local newspapers, and I’m just doing the blog I should have done yesterday. Other jobs today include more admin work, surfing the job boards and starting the next historical fiction edit.

This Thursday would normally be a Do Diddle Day, but because I’ve already had quite a lot of time off this month with flu, along with a couple of unexpected, unscheduled Do Diddle Days, I’ve decided to cancel it and work. I need to catch up with some work and I need to get the invoices out.

Today’s picture was taken along part of the Dales Way long distance footpath. It’s the River Dove, just above Dent, and it’s one of mine. I love the mist in the background. Enjoy.

Errands day

Walking near the Dales Way, just above Dent. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Walking near the Dales Way, just above Dent. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I always used to have an errands day. It was the day I went to the library to take books back or borrow any, the day I went to the bank, the day I dropped off work or picked work up, the day I nipped to the stationers. A proper errands day. I’ve not had one for ages and not a lot of non-work stuff has been done as a result. But today I had an errands day.

I’ve been to town twice, once to get cash out for the weekend and buy a few bits and bobs (such as malt extract for baking, and dull but essential things like slippers – only £6 from the market!), and once to get my radio re-coded in the car.

To save time, I knew I had to go back home and get a search party out for my log book, but I threw a request up on Facebook to see if any friends knew where my closest Citroen dealership was as they’d re-code the radio for free. By the time I reached home, 3 friends had replied with a selection of dealers and the phone number of one I called straight away.

Over the phone we established that yes they could do it, yes it would be free of charge, yes I had the chassis number, yes they could call up the code, and yes I would need my log book and at least one other form of identification. I then searched every tray, box and basket for my log book, which I knew had recently been replaced by a new format, so it would be in my post somewhere … I eventually found it, properly and safely filed where the old log book always was, and the defunct one already shredded. I should have gone to the proper place in the first place.

Then it was back to Perrys of Barnsley, who had my code waiting for me, and I was straight home again.

Bloomin’ marvellous.

And now I have music and other noise inside my car again. I’ve been without for the best part of a year, maybe more. The next non-work chore will be to burn some favourite music to CD so I have a selection without risking damaging the originals.

So that’s pretty much taken care of today.

This week I’ve also updated the gig list, negotiated new work, discussed and reviewed old work, visited my parents, and loads of other bitty jobs. Tonight I’m taxi-ing friends to a gig, tomorrow I’m taxi-ing for a charity boxing match, tomorrow evening I’m probably taxi-ing for another gig, and Sunday we’re having a doss day.

Today’s picture was taken during a walk in the rain on out last full day in Dent. That’s a map around my neck.

Have a great weekend.

Grammar Nazi At Work

Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yes, I’m a bit of a grammar nazi. But I try not to bandy it about too much as not everyone is as bothered as I am about quality, standard or consistency – or just plain being correct. So with emails, texts and social media, I tend to just ignore mistakes, typos and general bone idleness.

However, when it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I’m slightly torn. I’m annoyed too when it’s promotional literature that a client has paid for – surely if they’re paying a professional rate, they should get a professional job. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned like that.

For example, if I see a poster on, say, Facebook, that has anything to do with a campaign or something else I have a lot of interest in, I tend to share it with everyone on my list. But if that poster has any grammatical errors on, I just like it and move on.

When it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I really do want to share it … but if there are grammatical or spelling errors … I tell them.

This happened this morning on FB, and I won’t name the organisation as they fixed it as soon as I sent them a private, friendly (I hope) message. Within minutes there was a new poster available that I felt more able to share.

So, today’s question is this: Would you tell them or would you let it go?

Navel gazing
I’ve had a bit of a navel-gazing week. I wasn’t very well on Monday still, following our little flu epidemic last week, and yesterday I just couldn’t get on with much work beyond mechanical-type stuff. I didn’t know what the problem was until I received a phone call from one of my lovely bosses, as I had plenty of work in. But the problem turned out to be, I didn’t want to do it (for various reasons I won’t go into here); I wanted to work for lovely boss.

So we had a chat and he does have plenty of work for me, and this has given me light at the end of the tunnel, if you like. Now that I know I don’t just have this work in I really don’t want to do, but I have more, more enjoyable work on the horizon, I was able to find my mojo again.

Writing bag
I started by upgrading my writing bag to one I can fit the editing/proofreading folder in as well.

I’ve added my Teeline Shorthand for Journalists course to the bag and intend to work on this for at least an hour a day.

The current novel is in the bag – The Beast Within: A Marcie Craig Mystery.

My Kindle is in there, with a few reference books for writing I have open, a collection of stories from Arthur Conan Doyle, and a novel.

I have a journalism workbook in there too, and all of the current short writing work in progress, plus all of my various notepads and a pencil tin.

Current WiP
Today I’m editing a book and tweaking another. I’ve already updated the gig list for the week. Tomorrow I’m in Birmingham to see to a few things with my parents.

Today’s picture
While we were on holiday in Dentdale, we also ventured over to the Lake District. There are osprey at Bassenthwaite, and from the RSPB viewing platform up on the hillside we had a very good view of the adult male and the two juveniles – one male, one female. The adult female had already migrated about a week or so before we arrived.

In today’s picture, taken by the poet, you can see the lake and a bar of sand where the juveniles’ favourite perch is. We also watched the male juvenile have a go at a spot of fishing.

While there we also saw a jay, some finches and a beautiful red squirrel. I’ve never seen a red squirrel before, so that was a special treat for me.

Enjoy the view. 🙂

Another bridge?

Another bridge - Ribblehead Viaduct (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Another bridge – Ribblehead Viaduct (Picture: Diane Parkin)

I had a lovely weekend.

Once again I knocked off for the week fairly early and spent Friday evening watching someone else’s telly.

On Saturday I made it to my first Leeds write-in in a while, and while I didn’t get a great deal of writing done, I did manage to sort everything out, organise my workload and come up with some more topical story or article ideas for the coming months.

Saturday evening was spent watching my favourite band.

Sunday was a proper doss day. I decided not to take my germs to Birmingham, but to save them for this coming Thursday when Mom and Dad would like me to accompany them somewhere. Instead I was treated to Sunday dinner out once we’d done the shopping, and then we just chilled on the settee in front of the telly. We’re both still a bit rough and didn’t fancy anything strenuous – like a massive dog walk or anything.

Because of germs and still feeling slightly under the weather, plus a bit of a restless night, I’ve lost most of today catching up on sleep. But when I reached my desk I did quite a lot of online stuff, so that I can sit downstairs, in the warm, and concentrate on some editing I want to shift.

I also have some tiny tweaks to do to a book I edited last week, I’m awaiting the go ahead to do some other author revisions and check layout, and then it’s on to normal work for this week – the walks report, the gig list, surfing the job boards, writing.

Today’s picture is another from our holiday in Dentdale, a famous image on the Settle to Carlisle railway, but one of mine this time. Enjoy.

The bridges of Yorkshire Dale country

We took a lot of pictures of bridges while we were on holiday. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Well, I remembered to come back in and post, but it’s been another busy week.

Aside from battling flu x 2 – but winning, we hope – I’ve also finished editing a non-fiction, submitted it to the author and had two responses already, with very minimal comments other than replies to my questions (three of them) and a couple of author-error corrections. Basically, he’s happy with my work. 🙂

I carried out the revisions on the other edit, only to find that the software isn’t working, so that’s on hold again until they fix it.

I had a meeting with a new financial management company, updated the gig list for this week, and I’ve pitched for 15 jobs so far.

Today I start a new edit, it’s another historical fiction, and I’ve already raised this week’s invoices. (Hurrah!)

I’ve also started to do the daily competitions again, while I have a tea break.

The weekend is still a bit up in the air, mostly due to the flu. If I’m still coldy, I won’t be very welcome at my parents’ as my dad is likely to catch it. But we do have at least one gig to go to on Saturday.

What I’d like to do, now I seem to back in the swing of paid work again, is get into the swing of writing – fillers, short stories, pitches, books, novels. I’m starting to itch and I need to scratch it and it’s driving me mad not having any time to do it. And yes, yes, yes, I know I have to find or make the time, but just now everything else seems to be wanting attention.

Finances for a start. I need to build credit control into my working week, as well as marketing, sales and promotion. So, while I’m on the subject, please visit my book pages. Proper books are here, ebooks are here. 😀

If I stay home this weekend, I’ll either try to get ahead on the guaranteed paid work, or I’ll have a potter with the writing. Which would you do?

Today’s picture is another from Dentdale. We saw a lot of bridges while on holiday and liked them. Very much.

Have a great weekend.

Posting weekly

Wordsworth’s garden – come on in … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Isn’t this a lovely picture? Makes me want to wander in, settle down and daydream. It was taken at Grasmere, at William Wordsworth’s house, and it’s one of the poet’s.

Last week just got busier and stressier. I took my car in Thursday morning, which took a chunk out of my day. I had intended to do some work at the library, but lovely mechanic man said they wouldn’t get around to it for hours, so he took me home instead.

The car wasn’t ready until midday on Friday, but I had a lift there and was glad to get it back. It’s running a lot more smoothly, but I just can’t rely on it any more. This is a massive problem, as I can’t afford a new one either.

I started a new non-fiction but revisions came in for a fiction and it seems I have to drop everything when that happens, regardless of workload or work queue. If I don’t act on them immediately, I get nagging emails. Some clients do need to know that they’re not the only ones I have, but obviously I make them feel very special …

The revisions were done but by about 3:30pm on Friday I’d had enough of last week and called it a day. Then it was a really busy weekend, with a gig over in Doncaster Friday night to see a favourite band, then a long session at Doncaster Live on Saturday, culminating in the Buzzcocks – free of charge! – at the end of the night. And on Sunday we were back again to see another friend’s band I’d not seen until then – and they were really good.

This week has been busy again, with that non-fiction edit to finish. I did the manual edits on Monday and started the electronic edits on Tuesday, and I wrote the walks report and sent it on its merry way. But I’m not really very well at the moment. Neither of us is. I don’t know if we picked something up in Dent and it’s been incubating or if it’s something else, but we’re both very fluey and feeling very sorry for ourselves.

Despite this, while I worked yesterday, I did have cups of coffee appear, as if by magic, on my desk, and I did have dinner (lunch) cooked for me. The poet was having a Do Diddle Day! But by teatime we were both really flagging and today I think we’re worse.

This doesn’t get the work done, though. And no work means no invoices and that means no money. So I have to shift that edit, get it invoiced. Then I have to do another revision. Then I have a new edit to start, a novel this time. I also have an article to write.

I seem to be posting weekly at the moment, but that will change again – just as soon as I get back into a swing of things.

I’d best crack on – enjoy the pic. 🙂