I know I say this a lot, but we really did have a very busy weekend – and there’s another one on its way this coming weekend too.
On Thursday evening we nipped over to see the poet’s dad as it was his 80th birthday. He’d said he didn’t want anything, so we bought him a fuchsia for the garden. He’d not had it 5 minutes before he was deciding where to put it, so we think we made a good choice.
On Friday evening, at teatime, we had a mad dash over to Harrogate for the 2015 Crime Writing Festival. We were attending an event called “Yorkshire Pride” and thought a panel would be discussing crime novels in and about Yorkshire or by Yorkshire folk.
We didn’t expect to meet Peter Robinson (creator of DCI Banks) or Lee Child (creator of Jack Reacher). We thought they’d just be discussing their work. But they were there and afterwards I was able to have a book signed by Peter Robinson and the poet accosted Lee Child outside and got him to sign another. (Mr Child was supposed to be signing books the following day as he had another event he needed to be at.)
After the event we had a wander around town and decided to have tea in an American-style steakhouse. That was very nice.
Saturday morning we were back in Harrogate and struggling to park, but arrived just in time for the annual “New Blood”, chaired, as ever, by Val McDermid, who signed another book for us. (We’re turning into Val McDermid groupies!)
Because we’d left the dog on his own while we were in Harrogate, we had to hurry back. So we grabbed a sandwich and headed off. The poet wanted to go fishing that evening, but when we got home he discovered that the annual Fish-o-Mania was live on telly and he was having trouble tearing himself away. So we decided to watch that – or he watched it and I caught up on some reading.
Sunday morning we were up-and-at-’em again because the poet’s band, Monkey Dust, were playing at the Wheel of Light charity festival. This was supposed to be at another venue, but less than 2 weeks before the event, the venue pulled out, which was a bit of a disaster. However, while the organiser was on the phone cancelling the bands, Castleford Panthers ARLFC sent a text to say they’d hold it.
Unfortunately the organisers didn’t get as much time as they’d like to promote it (although Diane’s Gig List did their bit to help!), and it wasn’t as attended as it could be. They were also a bit disappointed, to say the least, when they discovered the original venue that pulled out had staged another event instead – on the same day. But the bands had a good time, lots of fun was had, and more friendships forged. Pictures (by Ian and Diane Wordsworth) can be found here on Facebook.
Castleford Panthers have offered to hold the event again next year, so the organisers are going to make more of a day of it and have already started to ask bands.
So that was our weekend. Oh yes, and Rufus came with us yesterday too …
Today sees the start of quite a busy period for me. Do you remember that Cosmic ordering I did the other week? Well, don’t anyone try to tell me it doesn’t work.
Last week I did a small job for a new client and already she is offering me repeat work. I also won a regular gig off another new client. And an existing client sent me 4 new jobs on Friday – and paid for the first one in advance. This on top of the work I already have in. I won’t be trawling for new work again any time soon.
I also have writing work to do, as ever, but not so much admin work this week. I have Thursday off, though. The poet is working in Tipton that day so I’m visiting the parents. We couldn’t see them this coming weekend as we have another 3-day festival to go to in Sheffield.
How was your weekend?
… and I got new pictures. And they say that Cosmic Ordering doesn’t work. 🙂
We had a lovely weekend. On Friday night we had a date night at the pictures. We ate out too at one of our favourite places, Pizza Express, and then bought chocolate, pop and popcorn and sat in front of JURASSIC WORLD for a couple of hours.
We both like JURASSIC PARK and the new one is very much Jurassic Park, and nods back at the originals more than once. And we were still on our way home at 9:30pm, which is actually quite good anyway as they’ve been springing a closed motorway overnight on us for the past month or so.
On Saturday we went to see the poet’s parents, and we bought a few fresh things on the way home as we were having another barbecue. At about 6pm we dawdled down to our local recreation park for a “rock on the rec” festival, but we were a little bit disappointed. It was an evening festival and there were just too many children there, and they were being allowed to kick their footballs and throw their frisbees regardless of whether they hit anyone or not, and with no apologies either.
We don’t mind kids being at festivals at all, but not when the kids outnumber the adults, and not when the adults aren’t able to control the very unruly ones. And when the lead singer of unknown-band-number-two said “Good evening Glastonbury”, we came home. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t even funny, let alone funny enough. (Bah, humbug!)
On Sunday we headed off to the RSPB centre at Old Moor in Barnsley. This is a very old favourite of mine and is fast becoming a favourite of the poet’s too. We went because (a) we haven’t been for a while, (b) I wanted new pictures for the blog, and (c) because there’s been a little bittern there all week and the centre had extended its opening hours so that people could come and see it.
We didn’t see the little bittern or, in fact, the regular bittern. But we did see a little egret and an American wigeon, both of which are also quite rare. We also saw dragon- and damsel-flies. so watch out for another brilliant picture later in the week.
Incidentally, for those following the Cosmic ordering … Holly has worked out how to come IN through the cat flap now, and another potential client contacted me over the weekend with possible new big work.
This week has suddenly changed, mostly because I realised at about 10pm last night that the MOT on my car ran out in May. I’ve never, ever forgotten to MOT my car before, in all the years I’ve owned one. But the garage has said they can do it this Friday, when I was supposed to be at the dentist.
As the poet isn’t around on Friday to be my chauffeur, we’re going to have to drop it in Thursday evening and collect it Friday night (said she, hopefully). But the dental appointment has been moved along a fortnight – I couldn’t move it to next Friday as we already have something else planned.
Of course, this gives me an extra hour or so of work-time on Friday, which is good. And for those who get withdrawal symptoms, here’s my to-do list for this week:
- twice-daily housework chores
- gig list admin x 2
- daily competitions
- blog x 3
- writing work @ 2 hours daily
- edit book @ 2 hours x 4-daily
- job boards x 2 hours + any ad hoc
- 1 hour study work x 2
- diary work
- take car for MOT
- invoices, admin, pc maintenance
What’s in your WiP this week?
Less than 2 weeks ago, I gave the Cosmos a bit of a kick up the bum and ordered a little bit of good fortune. I asked for Holly to learn how to use the cat flap, and I asked for some work or some sales or a competition win.
Well, I can proudly announce that Holly, that very intelligent cat, who thinks she can blend into the background and hide anywhere, and can open very heavy doors, has finally learned how to use the cat flap … or at least one way she has. She has yet to work out that the cat flap actually flaps both ways, and if she can push a big, heavy door, she can certainly shift a bit of perspex. So, round of applause for Holly, please, and a please-try-a-little-harder to the Cosmos. Thank you.
Last week I received a teeny-tiny follow-up job from a very satisfied client of the week before. I submitted the work Wednesday evening (late, after the fishing match), and he paid me yesterday. He also left me a second 5-star feedback. I LOVE clients like that.
And then this morning, a client I thought I may have lost has contacted me with a Big One. One that may take 3 – 4 weeks. Of course, he still may find someone willing to do the work for less and has every option to go there instead. But he contacted me, and that’s the main thing. I think I’ll be having lots of conversations with the Cosmos today, though.
So, how has the week been? Well, I started a new word count challenge on Wednesday, but as I’m doing it over several projects, I asked the poet to create a spreadsheet for me so I can keep tabs on how much I’ve written per project and how much I’ve written per day/month. He did that within about 10 minutes. I could have done it, but it would have taken me half a day, so I outsourced that work to maximise and optimise.
We had a cracking storm yesterday afternoon. I knew it was coming because the dog was barking at anything, everything and nothing. The day before we’d had a proper, tropical storm, with thunderless lightning and big fat raindrops. That left us feeling very muggy. Yesterday, though, it was a decent downpour that left everywhere feeling fresh again.
I’m back into the swing of CATCH THE RAINBOW, I’ve started a new short story, and I’m still doing exercises for ideas and markets. I’ve been editing 2 jobs this week, one is almost complete the other was filed on Wednesday. Next week I may get time to do some extra work as the poet is off to Germany again for a couple of days on business. So in all, I’m feeling quite positive on the work side of things.
I pitched for another job this morning that I was invited to, another regular proofreading gig. I hope to file the second of those editing jobs this afternoon, and get it invoiced (hurrah!). And then we’re off to the pictures this evening. We’re going to see JURASSIC WORLD. Tomorrow we have a very local music festival to go to. And Sunday … I don’t know yet what we’re doing on Sunday. Perhaps we need to get out and take some new photographs, as I’m running out of older ones not already seen … but I like the Oban picture. I like how colourful it is, yet how industrial.
Have a great weekend.
I’ve been giving the Cosmos a good kick up the bum. It’s been AGES since I sold a book or had a story accepted or won a competition, and just recently it’s ignoring all requests for Holly to learn how to use the cat flap too.
The crows of doubt did start to creep in, but then I gave myself a good kick up the bum too. I need to seriously revisit the law of attraction, so if anyone has any suggestions of books to read, please do so. Ta. 🙂
On Friday I went to the dentist and I have to go again in a few weeks, to have a filling. 😦 It was followed by an early trip to the hairdresser in case they could fit me in ahead of my appointment, but they couldn’t. Friday was not the most successful of days, but at least I have a full week ahead of me this week.
Saturday morning we went to the supermarket to do our weekly shop. We/I normally go on a Thursday, but neither of us really felt like it last Thursday, so we went on Saturday instead. When we got back, we packed the car and went to a local fishery for the afternoon. We were toying with going to one of the local music festivals, but we both wanted to sit quiet. So he did on the water bank, fishing, and I did in the warm, comfy car, reading.
Sunday was a very busy day. It was Father’s Day, so off we toddled in the morning to see the poet’s dad, and then we drove down to Birmingham to see my dad. We saw our mothers too! 🙂 Then, when we left, it was back up the motorway to see both sons, as they wanted to see their dad on Father’s Day too, and it gave us the chance to see son #2’s new house too.
By the time we got home, at gone 7pm, we were ready to drop. But, fortunately, the poet had left a beef casserole in the slow cooker, and we ate that in front of the telly.
This morning we’re both still shaking off last week’s colds, but I’m delighted to say the time management is still working. I’ve already ticked off several jobs this morning before starting the blog, which I was due to start at 11am and I was 10 minutes early. 😀
For the rest of today I have 2 hours of writing time and 2 hours of editing time. But the way this post is going, I’ll get extra writing time. Result.
I’m not sure yet what I’ll be working on, writing-wise. As I said, the crows of doubt have been circling and I think I need to do something that’s likely to sell, just to give myself a bit of a boost. But I’ll let you know.
For the rest of the week it’s pretty much more of the same, but with a couple of hours study time thrown in for good measure.
What’s in your schedule this week?
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?
Oh my goodness. I know it’s been a while but this whole interface has changed. It definitely wasn’t like this on Friday. I wonder why this happens. And I wonder why they can’t leave anything alone.
Anyway, Saturday was a very busy day in that I didn’t even surface for air. I surrounded myself with my diary, with my dates dictionaries, with my folklore calendar, with article-writing textbooks, with notebooks, the lot. And I sat down and I planned for England.
I had a really productive day and I created a schedule whereby, for example, right now (June) I should be “thinking” December, “querying” November, and “writing” October.
Then I went through the diaries and the almanacs to see what’s happening in those 3 months.
I’ve identified some upcoming anniversaries that interest me and that I hope I may be able to interest a magazine editor or 3 in as well.
I’ve identified some October and November topics I can write some speculative fiction for.
And I identified some imminent annual events locally that I can attend and photograph now, research after, and query in December in time for next year when they come around again.
I also decided on which subjects to initially specialise in and honed my list to incorporate as many anniversaries and events that come under those subjects (traditions & customs and great days out).
Yes, folks, the freelancing hat is back on and I’m hoping to get back into it with a vengeance.
Then I went through all of my outstanding WiP – short stories, RTEs, fillers – to see what can be finished now and submitted, and what can be slotted in for completion to the WiP file.
I also filled the diary and noted when I have some holes in the workload. Some of those holes can be plugged immediately with some work someone has specifically been waiting for but that won’t earn me any dosh just yet, so it was a low priority. However, it should earn me a nice crust at some point and I need to invest some time in that.
For the rest, I did some Cosmic Ordering, and I had a jolly good chat with the Universe about new work and people who owe me money.
Yesterday was a day off as it was Father’s Day and I was down in Birmingham with the dog.
Today I was up and at ’em and raring to go and I started a brand new job that should only take me a couple of days.
I fielded 4 telephone calls – four! I don’t normally get that many in a whole week let alone a day, and a single morning at that. And I received 2 very nice emails. One was informing me that a payment only authorised last week has been released, that should hit my bank account tomorrow. The other was asking if I’d like another editing job …
Remember that jolly good chat with the Universe? Well, case rests, mi’lud.
This evening I have some admin to do. I have this heap big massive pile of post and I know there are at least 2 forms in there I need to complete quite urgently. I keep trying to keep on top of the post pile, but it takes over every single time. I need to learn the touch-it-once principle, I really do.
I have a book to proofread, a book to edit and a book to start writing. I also have a walks report to write and submit plus whatever other writing WiP I can fit in this week. Yup, that’s this week’s to-do list …
This week is nicely full and on Sunday, weather permitting, I’m off for a ride around some of those imminent local annual events armed with my camera and my dog. I’ve ordered nice weather too, so I can take lots of lovely pictures. Let’s hope the Universe continues to be so accommodating.