Happy New Year!

We didn’t do too badly. The only things I didn’t manage on the list were: make a yule log; ice the Christmas cake; Santa run to Leicester; trip to that thar London. Everything else we did. I’m very happy with that.

I’ve been having a think of what I’d like from 2014 but, once again, I’ve decided not to do a massive great list for the whole year, but to do just a smaller one each month, as things change. I don’t really feel as though I achieved much, work-wise, in 2013, and this has to change.

So, for January, my main target is to write at least 1,000 words every working day. I know I can do that because I did it in April, 30k in 30 days. At the end of the month that gives me a target of 24,000 words, which means just 24 working days. (There are fewer in February.) I’ll still have my monthly Do Diddle Day.

Other targets for January include (on every working day):

  • write 1,000 words a day
  • surf job boards
  • daily competitions
  • at least 4 hours on paid bread and butter jobs (editing and proofreading)

Weekly:

  • blog (3 times)
  • walks report
  • diary work
  • invoices
  • weekly gig list update

Monthly:

  • monthly gig list update
  • Do Diddle Day

Personally, there are daily, weekly and monthly targets too, such as:

  • walk dog
  • yoga
  • go walking
  • days/trips out
  • loads of gigs

And that’s it. That’s my list for 2014. Sorry for any disappointment, but with work coming in all the time, it’s difficult to plan too far ahead. And when work does come in, I can be booked for several weeks.

Here’s to a very happy, successful, healthy and prosperous new year.

Okay, I’m updating the blog … (and a list alert)

020Meet our tree topper. He comes out every year, so this is an old photo, but I didn’t have anything as festive more recently, so I’ve wheeled him out again. Isn’t he great?

Well, it’s been a busy old week with me pitching for jobs quite furiously and winning quite a high return too. But then I suppose that’s the way it goes – speculate to accumulate.

I’ve been finishing off a couple of outstanding jobs, mostly electronic edits, and I’ve been doing this new work as it’s come in.

The faint-hearted may wish to look away now …

As of today I have:

  • one more set of electronic edits to complete
  • some authors to re-email
  • 2 books to send to the typesetter (I won’t wait now for author responses as there’re hardly any changes)
  • an update to send to lovely already boss
  • a new project to collate and start editing
  • the gig list to update
  • more jobs to look for and pitch for

And that’s just work. At home we have:

  • Christmas shopping (for gifts)
  • wrapping of said gifts
  • mince pies to bake
  • festive biscuits (cookies) to bake
  • a yule log to bake and ice
  • the Christmas cake to ice
  • the Santa run to Birmingham
  • Santa run to Leicester
  • a Santa run to Doncaster
  • Christmas grocery shopping to do
  • Christmas dinner to cook (and eat)

But wait, there’s more. We have a social life too:

  • yesterday we went to see Roy Wood at Holmfirth Picturedrome
  • on Saturday we go to Wolverhampton Civic Hall to see Thunder
  • (Saturday night/Sunday morning we incorporate the Santa run to the Midlands)
  • Christmas Day on our own
  • Boxing Day we go to see some friends of ours play their last ever gig in their band
  • at the end of the week we hope to nip to London

This has to be my busiest Christmas schedule in a long while. Fortunately we have 2 weeks’ holiday, although with one of the jobs I’m about to start I’ll probably have a bit of a dabble in that too, as and when.

Roy Wood was absolutely fantastic, he really was. I’ve known the man all my life but never managed to see him, and we nearly didn’t this time either, as they sold out of tickets very quickly. The poet, though, bless him, made a special trip to Holmfirth yesterday to see if any tickets had been returned – and they had. And so we did go to the ball after all.

We also wanted to see the support band, Slyde Alive, as a few of our friends are in that band. We got drenched as the average rainfall for a whole year descended on Holmfirth in the half-hour we were walking from the car to the venue. But we had a really good time, met up with some friends, and are determined to go again next year.

Thunder is a Christmas present to the 2 of us from the gig buddy and her bloke. It will give us the opportunity to also visit my family in the Midlands, and we’re staying with my parents Saturday night. Sunday morning it’s off to my sister’s before heading back.

We’ll pop over to Doncaster to see the poet’s family, but our first Christmas together is going to be a quiet time.

I probably won’t get chance to post again, so tell me what your plans are over the festive period and then make sure you have a goodun.

Happy Christmas! 🙂

Ooh, tis snowing … (list alert!)

tree
Picture: Ian Wordsworth

And I don’t mean outside, I mean on the blog. I was looking for that function only last week and couldn’t find it, but it looks as though they’ve retained the setting from last year. This is nice as I’m actually starting to feel a bit like Christmas already this year. In recent years it’s taken a little while longer despite it being my favourite time of year.

We put the tree up yesterday. For the first time in years I had help and it looks lovely. We’ve stuck to just red trimmings this time and it goes with the lounge just perfectly. We also baked the cake – with one spare (for testing purposes, of course) – and I had help with that too, in the stirry bit where the mixture gets a bit too heavy. I’ll ice it a bit closer to the time when I’ll also make the Yule log, the mince pies and tarts, and any festive biscuits.

I’ve been doing a lot of catching up with work just lately, hence my absence from the blog. It’s been work away from the pc and keeping off the pc has resulted in me being more productive too. Last Thursday and Friday I started work at 8:30am both days, and both days finished well into the evening.  I also updated the gig list for December and I pitched for 13 jobs.

The other catch-up thing I did was sort out all of my current writing work in progress. I haven’t done any proper writing since my 30k in 30 days in April and I’ve been determined to get back into the swing of that. So last week I kickstarted it all by:

  • pitching a brand new article
  • outlining two brand new short stories, and
  • outlining a brand new filler, all firsts in ages.

Then I armed myself with a book I quite enjoyed reading the first time, The Positively Productive Writer by Simon Whaley, and gave myself a pep-read via the Kindle. This book will be staying by my side throughout 2014 as there’s a month-by-month guide as well.

The next jobs I did last week included:

  • emptying the hard-copy-editing folder (books)
  • turning 3 short stories around and sending them off on their merry way again
  • sending 1 book off to the client, and
  • printing 2 draft 3 articles off for editing and submission.

News just in: The book I sent back to the client on Friday has just this second been paid for. I like that kind of work.

After a busy weekend, with a gig Friday night, a visit to Birmingham on Saturday, a double gig Saturday night, a walk yesterday and all of the weekend Christmas activity,  I started the new week very well with my first Yoga workout in ages. I did a bit of this yesterday when my back started to really hurt again, and it did it the world of good quite quickly. So now I want to do something every morning again, just like I used to.

This week, then (and those of a nervous disposition may want to look away now), here is my to-do list:

9781846948510_The Positively Productive Writer_PB.indd

  • complete electronic edits on 2 books and submit for typesetting
  • complete brand new filler and submit by Wednesday
  • write walks report and submit to 6 local newspapers
  • write 3 blog posts
  • update gig list on Wednesday
  • write and submit 1 commissioned article, and source pictures
  • kickstart Devon Ellington’s 5 Stories in 10 Weeks with a short flash fiction piece
  • edit and submit 2 speculative articles (RTEs – Readers’ True Experiences)
  • write draft 1 of a new short story that’s actually a sequel to a previously successful story
  • surf the job boards daily.

What are your plans this week?