The best laid plans …

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We might get grapes this year. The vine seems to like its new home, although I think it could do with a bigger pot.

On Friday I made very grand plans in order to get ahead with my work … but then everything went pear-shaped when I tried downloading a new file to work on from my job board.

Google insisted that Chrome needed to run the “remove software” tool in order for this file to download correctly, as I kept getting a “network failure” error message. So, trusting Chrome quite implicitly – for me – I did it. It took a while, which took a chunk out of a working slot, and when complete it prompted a reboot.

Oh, how I wish I’d just settled for the chunk taken from one working slot … When I did the reboot the pc got itself into a loop, saying it was looking for an operating system … Yup, the “software removal tool” had removed all of Windows.

Now, I’ve not done a system recovery disk, mostly because it always asks for a disk and I never had a disk big enough – apparently. Instead I opted for backing up critical data, which includes any system downloads.

However, the only option I had on Friday was a full factory reset … (groan!) Although it wasn’t so bad as we only got the computer in November and I am getting into the habit of backing up that thar critical data (heap big thanks to that man who drummed this into me).

So that took several hours out of my day, which in fact was pretty much the entire afternoon in the end. Fortunately, my last critical data backup was just over a week ago too, so any files I hadn’t saved to memory stick were still in emails or on the job board.

I reported the bug to the job board owner, as it’s the third time a file has been corrupted by them now. And, of course, they blamed my virus software. But I’m quite cute with viruses now (except for dodgy Chrome software removal tools, obviously, although that will never happen again), my virus/malware/spyware software is bang up to date, and I’m anal about deleting duplicate files and running scans. I also pointed out to them that this has only happened since they recently merged with another, far inferior (in my opinion) job board site.

Thanks to the mobile phone I was able to send an apologetic email to the client and ask him to send me another version of the file, which he did immediately. And I’ve just grabbed and saved that new file now, so it’s nice and safe (and clearly nothing to do with my virus software!).

So there’s a new job added to this week that I hoped would be cleared by the end of last week, but it’s only a small file, so shouldn’t take too much time.

Friday evening we did the shopping and nipped over to deliver greetings cards to all three kids. It was the twins’ birthday on Saturday and it’s son #1’s birthday tomorrow (same day as my brother!). Then we got a takeaway for tea and chilled in front of the telly.

We had a do-diddle-day on Saturday. We got up when we liked and did pretty much what we liked all day. It was a glorious day, which meant shorts on. And we spent the entire day in the garden, playing with the dog, wearing him out, the poet painted and finished a picture, and I read. We listened to a cricket roadshow on the radio, then we had a barbecue for tea (cheeseburgers, chicken/mushroom/pepper kebabs, sweet potato wedges) and watched another film on the telly.

Sunday was a busy day as my dad had asked the poet if he’d like to take him to Alrewas again this year. It was an extra visit to Brum, and they had a nice time while I stayed with my mom (we had a larf), but it meant a total of 6 hours of driving for the poet (I did offer to drive back …), so he was shattered by the time we got home again. And we had another evening in front of the telly.

This week, then, is another full and normal week for me. I’ve already put 2 washloads through and am about to hang the second out on the line, I’ve done gig list admin, and I’ve done the daily competitions – and I’m over an hour ahead! Then I have a full 2 hours of writing and a full 2 hours of editing. Tomorrow is more of the same, but with surfing for work having 2 hours allocated to it too.

I’d best go hang that washing out so I can crack on with the writing work. 🙂

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So how am I doing? (*** list alert ***)

So on Tuesday I started a new time management routine, just to see if it worked or not. And so far, it seems to be. I’m getting more done and spending more time on things that matter and less time on things that don’t.

Let’s take today, for example. Here’s how today’s diary usually would have looked:

8:00 housework
9:00 BREAKFAST
10:00 daily competitions
11:00 blog
12:00 writing work
1:00 DINNER
2:00 study skills (edit book) (2 hours)
(2:30 dentist – boo!)
3:00 invoices, admin, pc mtce
5:00 housework
6:00 TEA

It’s still in hour-long segments and yesterday I found out I had a dentist appointment at 2:30 … yes, really. My own writing work only had one hour allocated to it, and the book that’s due to be finished today only had 2 hours allocated to it – which doesn’t allow for hiccups like power cuts or the internet falling over (as I have to submit via the job board), and I lost a day’s work on it Tuesday when lots of new furniture arrived. Also, I have no invoices to raise this week (boo!) and pc mtce can be done while I’m doing something else, as it’s backing up critical data and can be done in the background.

So I had a think, and prioritised a bit, and postponed the dentist to next Friday. And here’s how it looks now:

8:30 housework – washing (laundry)
9:00 BREAKFAST
9:30 daily competitions
10:00 blog
11:00 writing work (2 hours!)
1:00 DINNER
2:00 study skills (edit book) (3½ hours) PLUS pc mtce
5:30 TEA

Not only does my day start 30 minutes later, by the way. It also finishes 30 minutes earlier. Yet I’ve managed to schedule in 2 hours for my own writing work, which could be cut down to 1 hour if I feel the book needs more time – but at least I still have a writing session booked in – and the book job that’s due in today has 3½ hours allocated to it. If that job gets finished early, then I can do any outstanding admin (aka filing …) or housework. But it can also run over and the poet will sort tea if necessary.

Oh yes, and I didn’t get the rubber (eraser) out once this week, once I’d settled on the schedule.

With this new system, which I’m still testing, I’ve managed to give myself 2 hours of writing time every day next week*. Plus client work gets 2 hours every day Monday to Thursday*. AND I’ve managed to fit in an hour of study (aka personal development) on Wednesday and on Thursday. So there are 2 hours I wouldn’t normally be spending on my own work. Friday afternoon will consist of errands next week (dentist + hair appointment), otherwise I’d still have 2 hours of client time then too.

I have yet to see where yoga and dog walking will fit in, although walking the dog isn’t such a necessity these days as we have such a big garden. But I think we do need to fit it in somewhere, and not just at weekends and on holidays. And we do walk the dog to the lake after the poet has finished work whenever we feel like it.

The old first 30 minutes of the day (8:00 – 8:30) are the poet getting ready for work, so I’ve knocked that off my diary. I’m still having 60 minutes for dinner at the moment, because he comes home for his dinner now and he has 45 minutes. Maybe that’s where the dog walk will come in.

BUT I’m very pleased with it and, more importantly, I’ve been able to work on CATCH THE RAINBOW every day, which is a habit I really want to get into. And you can see what I have planned for today without me having to repeat it. 😉 (Although, I may swap the writing time and client time around to ensure I meet the deadline, but I’ll still have and take my writing time, even if it is only an hour.)

So, that aside, I still need to apply it to weekends as we have another very busy one coming up.

This evening, if we feel like it (the poet has tonsillitis threatening), we might go to see a band. Tomorrow, son #1 is bringing his girlfriend to meet us and we’re going to Holmfirth too, for something to eat and to take in a comedy show. Sunday morning there’s a farmers’ market in Wentworth, but that depends on what time we have to take son #1 + g/f back to the station.

I still have a very busy day, and so I’m going to clear orf now. Y’all have a good weekend. 😀

* Apart from Tuesday. I think I have a day off on Tuesday.

Back on track

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Packhorse bridge over the River Rye. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed trying to keep on top of various things. But I think I’m back on track again now. I don’t know how this metamorphosis happened, other than sitting down and giving it some thought without trying to do a million other things at the same time.

This week I’ve completed the electronic edit on one book, sent it back to the author, completed revisions back from him, and sent it to print. (Hurrah!) This means an invoice in today’s run. (Double hurrah!) I’ve also completed the manual edit on the new book sent this week from the Spanish client and will do the electronic edit on that today – and that means another invoice in today’s run. (Triple hurrah!) I think completing these 2 short books has given me something mechanical to do while the subconscious mulls over everything else.

The first full-length writing project I’m going to work on is CATCH THE RAINBOW, which is a sort of historical/Marcie Craig hybrid. I’ve lost everything I’d done on that to date, electronically, and need to get another full version (so far) completed and backed up. Fortunately I do have much of it printed out, but I can’t decide if I want a hand-written full copy or risk getting it all only on the computer again, but back it up at the end of each day’s work. I quite like sometimes sitting at the desk and sometimes sitting downstairs on a comfy settee, which is another reason why I mix computer work with hard copy work.

As the weather is getting warmer, and because we live in such a beautiful spot, I’m chomping to be working (writing, reading, editing – not gardening) in the garden again. But I do need shade in which to do that. I can proofread on my paperwhite Kindle in sunlight if I want to see how something looks on screen, and I can handwrite into a notebook or pad. But I need good shade and a comfy seat.

Today, it’s only April and already I’m in shorts, vest-T and sandals. The office/studio (Abbey Road) is already one of the warmest rooms in the house, so I don’t know how I’ll manage when summer actually arrives. It’s much, much cooler in the living room (on that comfy settee), but working in there needs me to change into a warmer tee and yoga pants or summer trousers. If only we could squeeze a reading chair into Abbey Road, eh? I could wander round half-dressed all the time then. 😉

Today, then, I have that electronic edit to complete and those invoices to raise. I also have “pc maintenance” scheduled in, which is really backing up critical data and checking the health of the computer. I want to do some rewriting/retyping of the novel too, and/or maybe make a few more notes. I’ve started to write in “scenes” rather than chapters, which is a concept I’ve never tried before but seems to be working.

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Another image from our walk around Rievaulx at the weekend. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We don’t have anything planned for the weekend, which is nice, but I do think we’ll do plenty still. There’s a farmers’ market in Wentworth on Sunday, so we may go there and, if we do, we may do the short walk that was abandoned last time. We might go to the pictures. We might do something in the garden or something in the house.

BUT … we’re not planning anything. Whatever you’re doing, have a goodun. 🙂

Hey you! Yes, you at the back! Say hello!

I have no idea why, but Wednesday’s post seems to have been more popular than some of the previous ones as it was possibly shared and re-tweeted much more than any of my posts have ever been shared before. So, all you people at the back, before you read any further, nip on down to the bottom and say hi. No need to be shy, we’re very friendly here.

Have you done it? Go on, I’ll wait …

# tum ti tum ti tum ti tum …

Done it? There now, that didn’t hurt, did it?

So, what have I been up to this week?

Well, so far, without counting today, I’ve pitched for 24 new proofreading or editing jobs, including several regular gigs. I’ve also caught up a bit on the non-fiction editing – I’ve done author and proofreader revisions on a non-fiction book, I’ve edited an essay and I’ve been reviewing another non-fiction book that needed additional work doing to it.

I’ve written the walks report and submitted it to 6 local newspapers, and liaised with a couple of said newspapers, and I’ve caught up on the daily competitions. I’ve also been doing my own writer’s boot camp. I’m working on 5 short stories and have a couple of 1st drafts I want to have a look at.

And a big job I did yesterday was my first critical data backup in 9 months … I’ve done a lot of work in that 9 months, it would be awful if the computer crashed and I lost it all. That took a little longer than intended as it involved tidying up the hard drive anyway to make sure I wasn’t copying any duplicates or anything that really isn’t needed any more.

As part of that backup I found a load of old ebooks that I’ve not been able to read anywhere due to the archaic format. But I think I’ve managed to transfer the majority of those to my new Kindle Paperwhite. They’re all saved on there as “personal”, and if I delete them from the home page they also go from the collection(s) I put them in. But I think I can at least read them.

There are a couple of old magazines on there I’d like to read, Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen. I might try those first.

I still have today’s chores to do – daily competitions, surf for more work and pitch if necessary, invoices to raise (hurrah!), the notes section of a non-fiction to read through, today’s boot camp. And I think I have a hair appointment at 5pm-ish.

We’re having a bit of personal upheaval over the coming 4 weeks, so this weekend the poet and I are having some quality time together. I think we’re going fishing tomorrow, and we may go to the pictures on Sunday. We also have to head over to the other house to inspect it for new tenants and change the locks, but we may do that this evening.

So, y’all have a great weekend – tell us what you’re up to – and I’ll see you on Monday. 🙂