Happy Hump Day

I’ve been so busy just lately I don’t know where to start. And I would have started this over on Chrome, but for some reason WordPress doesn’t like Chrome at the moment, although I can’t say I blame them. I only use it because I don’t like everything being with Microsoft, but I also don’t like the way Google wants to know so much about you.  I’ve tried to edit the to do list from Monday over there, and I’ve tried to start today’s post, but it just isn’t working and so I’m back on Explorer.

I’ve used Firefox in the past, which meant I didn’t have to use either, but that one seemed to carry so many bugs that it was taking too long each time I tried to do something simple. And anyway, a lot of websites aren’t written with Firefox in mind. Perhaps I should look at switching to Mac and using Safari instead.

Any Mac/Safari users out there? What are you thoughts and experiences? Answers in the usual place below, ta. 🙂

Mind you, I can’t afford a Mac at the moment, but saying that, the work is piling in. Last week it had already gone mental, and this week I’ve filled up the diary for most of February. One more job and I’ll be taking bookings into March.

In the olden days, when I used to be prolific, my diary was booked up for up to 3 months in advance. I’m not sure I want to get into that position again because that was due to writing several columns for several different magazines. Of course, I’d love to get more writing assignments again, but the columns made me stale and complacent. I didn’t have to work for the work any more, if you get my drift, and so I lost the work-gathering skills I’d previously honed so well.

Filling the diary for a month in advance is good, though. Especially when they’re all good payers or even deposit-payers or up-front-payers. I love those the best, but again, that does sometimes make me a little complacent if the money’s already in.

I have a lot to do with the money that’s coming in now, and I have a lot of work to do to get organised on that side of things. Today, for example, I have several letters to write because I’ve reclaimed my debt management plan from the debt management company and have to let everyone know. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in the last 5 years, but there’s still a way to go.

The dog got his first walk yesterday. I used to walk him every day, to the letterbox, to the post office, to the village shop, or just around the block or the fields, but he’s not had a regular walk for ages – and neither have I. Yesterday I found a letterbox, so there’s one walk I can take him on if nothing else.

I’ve been dodging showers, but I don’t mind getting caught in them. I’ve just been lucky. Today it’s raining again. Perhaps I’ll catch a shower this time.

I still have plenty to do this week, so I’d best crack on.

How’s your week going?

w/c 27 Jan: to do list (and “mumbo-jumbo” alert …)

Eight years ago today I left the marital home “with just the clothes on my back and the cat under my arm”, and spent the night in a hotel. The next day I was allowed to move into a house I’d already started the rental process on (“just in case”). Six months later I bought that house, and I loved it to death.

It was such a sweet, comforting house that seemed to put its arms around you and give you a cuddle. It still does.

But a week ago last Saturday I closed that house and moved into the poet’s. We’d been living in two houses for several months and the disruption for the animals was causing me some heartache. I was also unable to settle to any work as I never seemed to be in one place long enough.

The poet’s house is bigger than mine, so it made sense, although we will be looking for somewhere we’ve both chosen in the coming months. It has a garden too, whereas mine has just a yard.

Meanwhile, the animals have settled and so has my work – and we’re saving so much money on petrol, heating bills and just buying one lot of shopping, etc, too. At the weekend we even did some baking together – the poet made bread while I made fruit buns, and I whipped up a green jelly too.

And we’re working on a freezer challenge (what-can-we-eat-from-the-freezer-for-a-week?) so that we can move his fridge/freezer into the garage (for his fishing tackle) and mine can come over (it won its own mine’s-better-than-yours battle).

It’s been an emotional and slightly traumatic week, but it’s working. And by the end of last week, work started to pour in again – which really supports the case for the law of attraction.

I know I’ve also said it before, many times, but cosmic ordering really, truly rocks. I “placed my order” with the universe a couple of weeks ago and then forgot about it. And while I may have been a little greedy (I’ve not asked for anything for a long time …), it is all starting to come in.

Anyway, “mumbo-jumbo” out of the way, whether you believe in it or not, life’s pretty good at the moment, and it seems to get better every day. Time to start tackling a few unpleasantries in life again, perhaps …

Here, then, is this week’s to do list (those of a nervous disposition may wish to turn away now …):

  • surf job boards daily x 5 
  • daily competitions x 5 
  • write and submit walks report to 6 local newspapers
  • write blog x 3 
  • walk dog daily x 5 ×√
  • write 1,000 words per day x 5 ×
  • final check through non-fiction history book before …
  • … send non-fiction history book to print
  • tackle new debt management plan daily x 5 (unpleasantry #1)
  • daily banking x 5 
  • edit new non-fiction history book before …
  • … send new non-fiction history book back to author via publisher
  • upload gig list for February
  • explore gig list Facebook page
  • diary work
  • proofread new YA book before …
  • … send new YA book back to author
  • invoices (hurrah!)
  • trip to Birmingham

What’s on your to do list this week?

Holly, still gorgeous 8 years on, finally emerging in our new home.
Holly, still gorgeous 8 years on, finally emerging in our new home.

All coming together

It’s been another fair week.

I’m still in the midst of a client’s non-fiction book, but a regular client’s previously promised non-fiction finally arrived on Wednesday, and I also won a new job on Wednesday where my quote included a deposit, for the first time ever.

I felt a bit strange asking for the deposit, but I used to get a deposit when I first edited books freelance, and that was back in the 1990s. Since I’ve been doing it this time out, I’ve not asked for a single deposit. Until Wednesday. And I won the job. I’m very happy about that, particularly as this first deposit is due for payment today ahead of work starting next week.

Since then, all jobs over £120 (apx $200) have included a deposit and a balance, and all jobs over £300 (apx $500) have been bid for in 3 equal instalments.

I currently have 3 books in for editing or proofreading, then, which brings the money in but also allows me time to pursue some writing.

There has been an additional distraction this week in that my mobile phone didn’t work very well at the new house. It’s been hit and miss for as long as I’ve been coming here, but my provider assured me the fault was temporary. However, it obviously wasn’t temporary and the provider finally admitted that their service wasn’t great in this area and there are no imminent plans for an upgrade.

The clue being in the name (“mobile” phone), I was able to negotiate a signal boost box (for this address and for one time only) that’s normally worth £110 + VAT (apx $180 + tax) for FREE. I like FREE things. They promised that the box would arrive between 15:29 and 16:29 hrs the following day (it arrived at 15:49!), and within an hour of setting it up, my mobile phone worked perfectly.

Today the internet’s a bit hit and miss, but at least I can still make phone calls or send text messages. I have the laptop for the internet, but I think it’s the poet’s provider today that’s having a slight glitch.

Fancy them normally charging £110 (+ VAT), though, to make their mobile phones work. I think that’s a bit naughty when we’re already paying for a service and usually locked in for 2 years at a time.

Anyway, all is well now. I have phone, I have internet, I have work, I have money on its way. This is all very good.

At the weekend we’re fetching a few more things over, like my baking goods and those of my possessions that have so far won the mine’s-better-than-yours battle. I also need to fetch things like outdoor coats over and walking-wear. When we can afford it, we’ll hire a van to fetch the bigger stuff over.

What’re you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, have a goodun. 🙂

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w/c 20 Jan: to do list

Well, that’s not bad, is it? Only 3 days into the new working week in the new working/living regime and I’m up to speed, back to normal.

I’m getting used to lots of things, such as sleeping in a strange place, keeping the animals happy (as the cats aren’t allowed out yet properly, although that hasn’t stopped Domino sitting on the new patio), wondering what all of these fancy gadgets are and how they work …

Hopefully, once in the swing of things, the money will start to trickle in again too, and even that has begun, with PLR due in February, Kindle royalties next week, interest on the bank account (yes, actual, proper interest, no matter how small), and ALCS due in March. I’ve also had work come in, brand new and 2nd proofs. So, all is good – so far.

I don’t think I included a link yet to the filler I had published in the Guardian on Saturday. For those who haven’t already seen it, here it is. My Playlist is the 2nd one down. And that’s the Guardian added to the CV. 🙂

Here, then, is this week’s to do list, which actually started on Monday but is now formally confirmed:

  • daily banking 
  • blog x 3 
  • daily competitions 
  • daily job search 
  • send contact details to the Guardian 
  • send bank details to the Guardian
  • walk dog daily x 3
  • query Three (mobile phone provider) about poor signal in new location 
  • collect new home signal booster box, delivered by Three 
  • diary work x 2 
  • update gig list 
  • write 1,000 words a day x 3
  • 2nd pass of client’s non-fiction book 
  • edit new non-fiction book
  • attend test drive of music desk x 2 
  • invoices (hurrah!)
  • Do Diddle Day (hurrah!)

Just look at all of those ticks already. I’ve also pitched for 9 jobs .

What’s on your to do list this week?

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An awfully big adventure

This week’s to do list will appear on Wednesday. This is mostly because I haven’t done it yet – which is mostly due to the fact that over the weekend I moved house and office.

We’re all settled now, although it probably will just be temporary until we find somewhere more suitable. Holly is the only one who’s still a bit nervous. The cats can’t go out yet … well, I say that, but Domino has already been out several times, explored the back garden, and come back in again. But generally, the cats should be kept in for 3 weeks.

I can’t see Holly standing for that for 3 weeks. She’s always been an outdoor cat, so I’ve been buttering her paws for when she can’t stand being cooped up inside any longer. And not just cheap margarine either. No, she’s been getting proper posh butter.

Rufus has been to visit loads of time and he’s just happy to settle in whichever basket or on whatever comfy seat is the closest. He also thinks that the garden, a real, actual, proper garden with grass and stuff, is the best thing ever.

And Domino has just taken it in her stride.

The garden has birds in as well, so the cats have enjoyed squeaking at them from the other side of windows while the dog has had the best fun ever chasing them away.

I’m finding my way around too, but the office is temporarily up and running on the kitchen table. I’ll be sharing a room eventually with the poet, who has a music room, but we have to rearrange the furniture and get all of mine in there too.

Normal service should resume very quickly.

Good news

Yesterday I received some good news. I sold my first piece to a new market, which was actually submitted on spec and acknowledged before Christmas but formally accepted yesterday. I’ll have a filler in tomorrow’s Guardian, but it’ll also be available online. I’ll supply the link next week.

I also heard from the newest client, who is “very happy” with the work I’ve done. I have some more to do on that today.

I was invited to bid on several jobs, but I declined all of them as they don’t really fit my experience or skills.

And today I received payment for a job completed 2 weeks ago. Fourteen days isn’t a bad settlement period, but this particular work I usually get paid for within 3 – 5 days of completion.

This morning I pitched for another 7 jobs, and that brings this week’s tally to more than 30.

The to-do list has been fair again, with just 3 items not done. Everything else should be completed by the end of Sunday, as one is a visit to Brum.

I think I’m also moving this weekend. What are you up to? Hope it’s a goodun. 😉

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Waiting …

And so I find myself waiting again.

Waiting for a client to approve milestone 1 of 3 so I can continue with the next part of the job.

Waiting for a new non-fiction to arrive so I can start editing it (and invoice it …).

Waiting for 4 books to come back from 1st proofs so I can crack on with the next stage.

Waiting for potential clients to respond to emails and messages.

Waiting for promised work to materialise from regular client.

Last week I offered to write a short article for an ebook. I’ve been given the go ahead on that and if no other work comes in that’ll be next on the list.

Last week I was approached to see if I’d like a regular writing gig. I’m now waiting to see if she was happy with the cuttings pack I sent.

This week I’ve pitched for about 24 jobs so far. So far, 2 have been declined, 1 has asked if we can Skype, and 1 has said she’ll respond when she’s trawled through the 60-odd other bidders.

This week I’ve had 1 fiction book come back from the proofreader but I’m waiting for the author to supply his corrections too.

This week I’ve caught up on banking, admin, job hunting, competitions. I now need to catch up with some writing – but I also need some money.

What are you waiting for this week?

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w/c 13 Jan: to do list

As it’s Monday, here is this week’s to do list:

  • continue sourcing pictures for client’s book
  • format client’s book for Kindle, etc
  • edit new historical non-fiction
  • post 3 x blog 
  • surf job boards 5 x daily 
  • write walks report ×
  • submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers ×
  • 5 x daily banking 
  • surf 5 x daily competitions 
  • write 1,000 words 5 x daily ×
  • update gig list 
  • diary work
  • raise invoices
  • trip to Birmingham
  • trip to Doncaster 

Today I already pitched for 12 jobs, including several regular gigs. There are 2 or 3 of those that I’d really, really like.

For the rest of the day, once I’ve completed the other 2 daily chores, I’m writing.

What’s on your to do list this week?

A fair week

Just look at my to do list from Wednesday. (Link here.) I’ve done quite well this week, apart from that pesky daily wordcount. But I have started it and I do itch to do it.

I even have a few things to add to the list:

  • negotiated unsolicited request to edit a non-fiction book 
  • negotiated unsolicited request for possible regular writing gig, i.e. 2 – 5 articles per month 
  • responded to call for submissions for new writing ebook 

The non-fiction book’s definitely on, we just have to wait for it to arrive at the office. I sent my CV off and some cuttings for the regular writing job, and hopefully she’ll like what she sees. I’m currently negotiating the second writing job. Please keep everything crossed for me.

I did quite well in the end on the previous client’s book. I’m still looking for pictures, and I’m brushing up on my formatting skills, but I’m awaiting some feedback before continuing.

I’ve been fairly busy on the job hunting front, but while I have 16 jobs on my watch list, I’ve not bid for any yet. I’ll do that today. I’ll also tackle the personal writing work today.

Tomorrow I may be on my own for the day, or I may be off to Leeds for the first (for me) write-in of the year. Then Sunday, or the ‘other’ day will be R&R.

Have a great weekend. What are you planning on doing?

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