Diary of a freelance writer, 18 November 2016

scriv againI’m keeping on top of my NaNoWriMo, which is the most important thing this month, although I had one short day that I’m still catching up on.

I did decide to just call it a short day too, rather than try and make it up the next day. I think if I’d done the latter, I might have given up.

This is how my Scrivener is looking for Part One. The index cards have been changed from “to do” to “first draft”.

Wednesday
On Wednesday I did some much-needed admin work that had been neglected for the whole of November so far. This was mostly my monthly spreadsheet that shows what work I have in and what work I’ve done, how many words written, how much money earned, how many jobs pitched for, etc.

The spreadsheet has been working really well since I started it a few months ago, but each of the components were on their own individual page. Now I have one of those big, massive spreadsheets that has lots of tables on the first page.

I managed to write 1,697 words for NaNoWriMo and I wrote a further 456 words on another project.

Thursday
Thursday was my short day. I’d started the day late, due to various reasons, and was behind on all the day’s work. And I’d just settled in to write my daily NaNo (already very late) when it was time to go and collect the poet’s car.

On the way back we also did the shopping and by the time we’d put that away and had tea it was too late to do any more work. So I only managed 189 words on Thursday, but at least we had the car back. 🙂

Friday
On Friday I was back in the saddle and wrote a further 1,676 words. But because they were quite a wrench, that’s when I decided to leave Thursday’s count as it was and just live with it.

I printed off the next hard-copy editing job for a client.

Weekend
We didn’t have any research trips at the weekend, although we did want to go somewhere on Sunday afternoon if we had chance. Saturday was a cooking day for the poet and I managed 1.679 words for NaNo. He had a gig Saturday night, but when we got there, everyone decided to cancel it and we all went home.

On Sunday we went to see my parents and do some jobs and errands for them, and – as I say – we were going to go somewhere on the way back. But the weather was horrible and it was already starting to get dark when we left, so we came straight home. When we got home I wrote 1,730 words and felt very smug for doing that.

Monday
By Monday, with NaNoWriMo settling into a bit of a rhythm, I found my mind straying to other freelance writing work, and I started to do my think/query/write/submit thing … well, I got as far as printing off the topical dates I’d normally need in November and slipped them into my notebook, but it’s the thought that counts, yes? 😉 I also found myself tidying the desk and office a little too, which is often a good sign.

I managed to write 1,706 words for NaNo today, and I didn’t leave them until the evening either. True, I didn’t do them in the booked 11am – 1pm time slot, but I still did them during the normal working day. Last week I’d spent a couple of evenings catching up at 9pm – 11pm, and that wasn’t doing my health much good. So on Monday I tried to pull it back to within the normal working day. I also managed to write 954 words on another project too.

Tuesday
On Tuesday, the job-pitch-itch descended and I tidied up the one remaining job board I still use and chased a couple of payments. Then I did a bit of a search on the job board and pitched for 8 new editing or proofreading jobs. I also wrote 1,792 words for NaNo.

Homework
My own homework this week is as follows:

a) continue with NaNoWriMo
b) start the new edit
c) think/query/write/submit for November (Jun/May/Apr/Mar 2016)

What’s your homework this week?

Busy day tomorrow

As I have quite a busy day coming up tomorrow, I’ve decided to do some of tomorrow’s chores and jobs today, including this blog post.

First thing in the morning I have to take the dog back to the vet. He seems to have had a nail-bed infection and all of his tablets, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic, run out today. The toe itself looks a lot better than it did, although at first it didn’t look like anything and I didn’t know why he was limping. The infection flared up a couple of days after I initially took him to the vet and we had to make sure it wasn’t a grass seed that had burrowed under his skin.

The next job tomorrow is another of those admin jobs – tax my car. If I can do it online, I will. But now the laws have changed regarding displaying a valid tax disc, it’s all going to be all different on there now, and I may end up having to go to the post office to do it.

I’ll be picking the poet up at teatime, which means my working day finishes at 3:45pm instead of 5 – 5:30pm. When we move house the railway stations we can choose from should be much closer and when I have to play taxi-driver again, it won’t take such a huge chunk out of either end of my working day.

It’s our friends’ 1st wedding anniversary on Saturday, so we’ll be delivering a greetings card. And, if the poet’s train isn’t delayed, there’s a gig we fancy going to Friday night at our most local working man’s club before it’s no longer our most local any more.

In between all of that, I also have work to do.

Today I have electronic edits to do before sending the edited Word file back to the author for him to answer queries and questions. And I have diary work to do.

Yesterday I was asked if I could do another big editing job, but that hasn’t come in yet. So the next job on the list is another Great War book, another biggie. Today or tomorrow I’ll be printing off the next editing job so it can go into my editing folder.

On Saturday I want to go to the 1st Leeds write-in for NaNoWriMo 2014, but they’ve changed the times from 1pm – 3pm (core) to 2pm – 4pm. The later start means a longer lie in, but it also means a later finish, which for me means I’ll be coming into the home railway station at 5:20pm. So the jury’s still out on that one for now, even though I’ve so far said that I’m going.

Saturday evening I quite fancy a bonfire and fireworks display. We missed Bonfire Night last year so I was promised one this year, and we have 2 to choose from. The first one is Saturday night, a paid one, but in our new closest town (after 28 November). The other one is on Bonfire Night itself, next Wednesday, and it’s free, and in our current closest town. BUT … the poet’s off to Scotland again on Monday and it depends what time he gets back Wednesday evening. I think I need to “cash in” the promise on Saturday in case he doesn’t make it for next Wednesday. 😉

Sunday, for the most part, will be chill time or packing time. NaNo will have also started, so I’ll also need to write 1,667 words for that.

What are you up to over the next few days?

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One I made earlier, in 2008, at the “current local town” bonfire and fireworks display. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

Admin, admin, admin

Admin, it has to be done. And I’ve been doing a lot of it in the past few days.

Last week I had to sort out my car insurance. I’ve gone for a straight renewal, but they hadn’t sent details of monthly repayments, and they’d added a legal expenses fee on my behalf without even checking. So I had to call them to ensure they wouldn’t take the whole premium in one go and to insist that they remove the legal expenses fee. That brought it down a little.

This week it’s the tax return. I should have done it yesterday, but I wasn’t feeling great yesterday and didn’t do any “proper” work at all beyond take the poet to the dentist. Next year’s should be easier, as I changed all of my bank accounts over at the start of 2014, which means I’ve had to collate 3 lots of statements for the 2013 – 2014 tax return. Next year, it should all be in one place. At least I’ve been able to export them all, though, and merge them together in Excel. This year, for the first time ever, I’ve not sat and painstakingly written out all of my expenses by hand.

We had a very busy weekend with a trip to Birmingham on Saturday, a gig Saturday evening and another gig Sunday afternoon. Yesterday, aside from feeling a bit pap, I was also very, very tired. We turned in at 9pm last night, and I got up at 11am today. I don’t feel so tired any more …

Next job is to get out a search party for my tax return form so I can transfer the information from Excel and get it in the post. As I do the return by hand, it has to be in by 31 October. If I did it online, I’d have until 31 January. But if I do it now, it’s done and out of the way and they can work out how much tax I owe them … which isn’t usually very much.

I also have books to edit this week, but so far no author/proofreader revisions as I shifted all of those last week. Apart from the one where we’re still waiting to hear from one of the authors.

The poet is off to Scotland again tomorrow. I thought that was it, but it seems he still has quite a few days to do up there and just forgot to mention them to me.

Right, search party …

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Hump day holler

So how’s this week going for you?

I’ve been busy getting work in again while also trying to keep on top of mundane things like washing.

I’ve pitched for 17 jobs this week, including one that was invited for and one outside of the job boards. And I won one so far. I also have revisions to do on existing work plus a new edit to start.

Writing-wise, I haven’t done much this week, as I’ve been doing other stuff, admin stuff. But I did do the walks report and get it sent off to 6 local newspapers.

The weather’s been very hit-and-miss, but I have managed to get washing dry and the dog has been walked.

And that’s it. More of the same for me this week, and probably into the weekend too.

See you Friday.

Clipped wings

Maybe the Universe couldn’t manage the nice weather I ordered for my research trip. Maybe that’s why my car broke down and I couldn’t go. It’s horrible being grounded, though, and nowhere near any rail stations. I feel as though my wings have been clipped. The weather anyway, for the midsummer weekend and super moon, was atrocious. Blustery showers and grey skies the whole time.

The diary that I ordered on Thursday was here on Friday. That’s quite good going considering they only charged me £1.50 for 3 – 5 days delivery (apx $2.30). Next day delivery would have cost me a lot more, and I got it anyway. Friday evening I had a lovely time acquainting myself with the new diary.

When the post came in on Friday and on Saturday, I touched it once, and shredded or binned it straight away. I had some money-off vouchers come from Tesco, more than £5-worth (apx $7.75), and those went straight into my purse.

When I went through the pile of post last Monday, I had to throw 3 lots of money-off vouchers away – 2 from Tesco and 1 from Boots – because they’d expired, and some only the day before. Those were probably worth about £15 (apx $23), and all for things that I buy anyway. This was one of my motivations for touching it once in future. (Although I did manage to save some coupons, £3-worth for the Co-op – apx $4.60 – and 60p-worth plus extra points for Boots.)

On Saturday I did some baking. I made a Quiche Lorraine and a plum crumble – yes, I’m hard enough to make a plum crumble … Sorry. Ahem … I walked the dog up to the Co-op to get some odds and ends, I took a rucksack so I could carry it home and still have my hands free for the dog. And I took the rest of the day off. I faffed, played games, caught up on old NCIS episodes and generally dossed, and baked.

I’ve started to do a big shop at Tesco just once sometimes twice a month, getting all the tinned, bottled and other heavy stuff, and then filling-in in between on a weekly basis, usually locally. It’s working out quite a bit cheaper, approximately £40 – £45 a month (apx $75), and I’m throwing even less food away.

On Sunday I had an idle lie-in and faffed some more. Then I knuckled down to some more baking (choc chip muffins), housework and then some writing work. I picked up 5 books on Kindle for just over £6 (apx $9.30) to read up on a potential new genre. When I wasn’t reading I was watching telly, but just for an hour. I would have liked to have gone out, but my wings had been clipped … I do miss my car.

When I get the car back I’ve discovered I can get to Leeds for the Saturday afternoon write-ins a bit quicker and a bit cheaper just by going to a different railway station. It’s not in a nice area, so I’d need to look at the car park security, etc. But if it saves me nearly £3 (apx $4.60) and about 20 minutes each way, it might be worth considering. It means the dog won’t be left so long on his own too.

This week, then, I have a new historical novel to edit, the walks report to write and submit, the daily comps to enter, job boards to surf daily, a well-woman clinic to attend, the gig list to upload for July (July already, sheesh!), a do diddle day, a book to write, diary work, invoices to raise, a trip to Birmingham, and – hopefully – a research trip to Derbyshire (weather and car permitting). Then I change to my new diary.

What are your plans for the week?

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