NaNoWriMo 2014 Day Fifteen – Sixteen

In only 11 days we move house. I’ve been doing loads and loads and loads and loads of washing which has, sort of, been killing 2 birds with 1 stone: firstly, the majority of stuff that goes with us will be clean and ready to use/wear; secondly, we’re having a right old clear out while we’re at it.

Of course, I had a bit of a clear out in January, and then another one in April. So much of my stuff is already weeded out and down. I still keep finding some things, though, that – actually – I know I’ll never use again.

We’re working our way down the freezer and through the food cupboards too, and anything past its sell-by/use-by date is going too. And anything that has just dregs in the bottom that we can only reach with a long implement. There’s not a huge amount of storage at the new house, so everything that we take needs to have a use.

At the weekend we had a proper blitz on paperwork too. There are some safety certificates the solicitor needs for the other house and we can’t for the life us find them – gas, electric and damp proof course.

So, this weekend alone we managed to fill another 2 charity bags and another 3 dustbin bags. But we didn’t find the safety certificates …

We didn’t do a lot else. On Friday evening the fog that had been lingering all day got steadily thicker and, as there wasn’t anywhere we had to be, we stayed in. On Saturday we only went out to do some shopping. And on Sunday we only went as far as the dustbins. We did cook on Sunday, though. I made the Christmas cake while the poet made bread, cream of mushroom soup, and a Sunday chicken dinner.

I didn’t do much work either. Even with NaNo, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really do resent working at the weekend. And before anyone jumps on me saying I should find time to do my writing, I do. But it is my job and I didn’t give up the rat race to work when I really don’t want to. And, unless there’s a deadline looming, I really don’t want to work at the weekends.

This revelation may have come this weekend because of the poet spending such a long time working away recently. But neither of us works at the weekends anyway, apart from when he’s playing in his band and I go along with them. The weekends are our time, and are already time-pressured with other stuff that needs doing.

So, while I was working through paperwork in the various cupboards and drawers in Abbey Road, I came across a previously written epilogue and author’s note for Catch the Rainbow. This morning, my first job (aside from doing washing …) was to have a go at rewriting these and adding them to the rest of the story. That’s been done now and the grand total of 850 words has been added to the running total.

While I was looking for electronic versions to edit on the computer (I’m such a lazy typist …), I found a number of letters and stories from friends who’d given me firsthand and eyewitness accounts of the key period and night in question. This is particularly welcome as I thought I’d lost one and didn’t even know I had 2 of them. I also found loads of previously planned scene notes and character notes that have all gone into the folder too. When I sit down to do today’s NaNo, I’m going to use some of this material to help. I’m a little behind and need a leg up catching up.

I do have several big editing jobs on the go at the moment, though, and had to turn one down Friday evening because she wanted it back “within the week”. Unfortunately, with a 103,000-word book, an 80,000-word book and a 30,000-word book all to edit before we move house (and lose internet connection temporarily), there was no way I could justify taking on any new work for the next 2 – 3 weeks. I also have snagging to do on 2 previously completed books as well.

I’m off to edit the big one, then, and then do some more NaNo later on. Oh yes, and more washing … Y’all keep nice and busy now.

w/c 3 Feb: to do list

I didn’t get as much work done as I’d like on Friday, and Friday evening was initially spent shopping at the supermarket followed by a mad rush to get out to see one of our friends in his ska covers band. We made it before the end of the first set and were able to have a chat with him as well before they got up again. It was a good night and we tried their new kitchen for the first time … the poet wasn’t keen on the chips …

Saturday was mostly spent visiting my parents in Birmingham. We had a good run down and back, and a nice visit. Then Saturday evening we went out with the gig buddy and her husband for a meal and the tail end of another gig, and another good night.

On Sunday morning the “business manager” showed his face and we discussed the several novels I already have planned and mapped out, both in my head and on paper. He’d thought they were just ideas floating around the brain matter and was surprised at how much work I’ve already done on all of them. He gave me a good talking to and, supportive as ever, convinced me to just do it, just get cracking on one of them, and switch my critical brain OFF for the duration of the first draft at least.

Later that morning we went to collect the bird table and the outdoor cat kennel. We also dismantled my mini-greenhouse and made that safe and secure after the recent winds. The bird table was reassembled (again, it was damaged in the recent winds but repairable), and then we took the dog for a brisk walk around one of our local reservoirs. It was great to blow the cobwebs away for the first time in ages. The greenhouse may be coming over on the next trip.

When we got back the poet cooked a Sunday dinner and we baked. I made a fruit cake and he produced his fourth or fifth loaf of the week. He’s making bread almost every day now, and it’s very nice.

Sunday evening we chilled and recovered from a busy but very satisfying and productive weekend, where we managed to get a lot done.

This morning has so far been mostly spent trying to pay the council tax bill, but the website was down and then the payments line didn’t work. I got through to the council tax office to let them know I couldn’t pay, and within minutes the website was back up and running again.

Here are the rest of this week’s jobs so far:

  • 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
  • tackle debt management plan daily x 5
  • daily banking x 5 
  • edit non-fiction history book …
  • … send non-fiction history book back to author via publisher
  • proofread YA book  …
  • … send  YA book back to author
  • gig list weekly update
  • continue to explore gig list Facebook page
  • diary work
  • edit new non-fiction history book …
  • … send new non-fiction history book back to author
  • invoices (hurrah!)

What’s on your to do list this week?

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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Now taking bookings for November …

The lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve had a busy few weeks but everything now seems to be sorting itself out. I’ve been full for the rest of October for some time but I wanted to make sure that everything was running smoothly. As it is, I’m now taking editing and proofreading bookings for November.

We had another great weekend of doing just weekend stuff, but it included a really good gig Saturday night at a venue that bodes well for a fantastic New Year’s Eve …

See, now, in the past 7 or 8 years I’ve hardly ever done anything for New Year’s Eve, and not really for a lot of years before that. But now I’m already booked, and have been for several weeks. And I’m looking forward to it. I’m usually sat there watching the telly waiting for someone to fetch me a lump of coal.

I’m even contemplating the festive baking schedule starting in November. This is something else I’ve not done in a long time. A very long time. Or I’ve thought about it and that’s all. This year I intend to do something about it.

Anyway, I digress.

The work is coming in thick and fast and this week I have 3 jobs to finish and invoice  (hurrah!). There’s one non-fiction to do the electronic edits on and send back to the author and off to the typesetter. There’s a new fiction to edit from scratch, send the edits back to the author and upload the book to the server. And then there’s another non-fiction to start and finish editing.

In between I also have the walks report to write (today), the blog (3 times this week), the gig list (on Wednesday), the job board to surf (daily), the diary to update (on Thursday), and invoices to raise (hurrah! – on Friday).

Thankfully I have a 5-day week and I may work on Saturday. It’s a Do Diddle Day, but that means I can do what I please and if working (and earning money) pleases me, I’ll do it. I may also do my NaNoWriMo planning, or I may do just that instead. I worked Saturday just gone and it really made a difference.

So that’s me sorted for the week. What are you doing?

I worked out part of what was causing the neck ache  working at the laptop … I’ve been sat on a cushion that’s raised me quite a lot higher than the laptop (on its riser). I’ve taken the cushion away, but as I may use it again I’ve raised the riser itself up on a pile of 3 books. Let’s see if that works.

Today’s picture is an arty shot taken at Nostell Priory near Wakefield.

Oh, and while I think about it, here’s my LinkedIn link – I finally found it.

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.

A cup of tea made for me! Twice!

In my defence … I’ve been very busy. Again. I’m still very busy, but I’ve shifted a lot of work and now the battle for wages begins again. It’s a vicious circle – feast and famine … but this is my first post for August and it’s already the glorious 12th. I have been working solidly and I do have solid weeks of work in front of me. This is good.

I’ve edited a few books already this month and I’ve written a few articles. I’ve also booked a week off at the end of the month and a few days in Dent. This is all also very good.

Last week and the week before were both solid work. Last Monday I spent the day at my parents’ in Birmingham, and that, in turn, shortened the working week. I’ve done a lot of personal writing work, a lot of reading, and I started a brand new short story in a genre I usually avoid like the plague. I’d like to get back to that one as soon as I can so I can see how it pans out.

Over the weekend I had company. On Friday night we chilled and relaxed, and on Saturday morning I had a cup of tea made for me! 😮 I can’t remember the last time I had a cup of tea made for me. It was so novel, I let him make me another! And then we went out walking around Langsett Reservoir, thinking it would be a gentle 3 miles or so.

I’d forgotten there were a couple of hilly bits, but the weather was kind, we both did well, and Rufus was almost quite well-behaved – if we discount him chucking his water all over me, pinching one of the poet’s cheese and onion sandwiches, and then upsetting his water bowl again …

We saw tree creepers, coal tits, Canada geese, mallards, red grouse – did I mention  the glorious 12th? In only a couple more days (ie by today) part of the moors will be closed for the grouse-shooting. And “we” took lots of pictures – the one below is one of mine. I’ll share a few more over the next few posts.

By the time we got home we were quite shattered, all that fresh air and exercise no doubt. So we had another chilled evening and on Sunday we headed out for a shorter more gentle walk around a place called Newmillerdam, which is on the way to Wakefield. There are fewer pictures from there and I don’t have them on my laptop yet, but here we saw a heron fishing, a bedraggled robin, probably a youngster, more Canada geese, more ducks and a ruddy duck (with a blue beak – pic is in the West Midlands bird club picture gallery).

When we got back from that walk we had a rest and then we did some baking. “I” made some pastry, and then “we” made a quiche lorraine and some cheese muffins. It was fun having someone to cook with.

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A walk around Langsett Reservoir

After tea, it was time to get my house back. I’ve always been very territorial about this particular house, probably because it was my escape house. But I have enjoyed having the company and can’t wait to have another cup of tea made for me for him to stay again.

Two days of walking and an hour of standing and baking have left my hips, buttocks and glutes in bits, but it’s been a fun and relaxing weekend, and it made a change not having to dash anywhere.

Today I have to crack on. I’m editing a book and a standalone chapter and I have 2 articles to write.

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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