Water lily

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Water lily, RSPB Old Moor (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

What a week! I don’t feel as if we’ve stopped – and we still haven’t. There’s more yet to come.

On Wednesday I worked right up to teatime editing a book that had already been paid for (although I hadn’t yet touched the money). Then it was a mad dash out to catch draw-time on a fishing match.

It wasn’t such a successful evening as before, the poet is still familiarising himself with the fishery and I didn’t start anything that can be completed other than 800-odd words of notes and writing exercises. There were also only about 5 anglers there.

On our way home we turned into our lane and were very privileged to see a roe deer and a fawn disappearing over the walls on either side (Mum went one way, offspring went the other). We walked back down after parking up to see if they were reunited, but there was no sign of them. It was lovely to see, though, and a total surprise.

Yesterday was a very busy day. The poet was in Tipton and I was in Birmingham and when we headed back together, it took us nearly 4 hours to get home. And then we had another mad dash to get the poet to band practice. Three of the 4 band members were late last night, and the drummer was on the phone when we got there making sure he had the right night.

I went off to do the shopping, then we got back and had hotdogs for supper.

Today I’m still very, very busy. I have 5 short stories to edit and a technical paper – all by the end of the day. And in the middle of it all I have a dentist appointment. (Boo!) Then it’s going to be another rushed tea as we’re off out to Sheffield to another music festival this evening, followed by 2 more days over the course of the weekend.

So, just a shorty today. Even though I keep getting distracted by a new (free) book cover creation package I’ve discovered.

The water lily was another of the pictures I “ordered” the other week. Isn’t it pretty? 🙂

What’re you up to this weekend?

Kicking the Cosmos up the bum

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The Nevis Range (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

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?

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.

Pulling our horns in?

We received an offer on the house Tuesday evening which, after some negotiation, we finally accepted. We’re moving at the end of November too, so that means we have a lot to pay out in just under 6 weeks’ time. This means we need to pull in our financial horns …

… only last week we needed a new tyre on one of the cars, then the dog needed to go to the vet with a bad paw that seems to have turned into an infected nail bed, so he had to go to the vet again, then the poet broke one of his teeth, which probably means an extraction, and the band wagon needs essential maintenance to keep it on the road, which means band money won’t go very far this weekend either. There’s also road tax due on the other car, and a motor insurance premium to renew.

So much for pulling in our horns!

It’s going to be very tight, but hopefully I’ll clear enough work that falls due for payment before Day One of the new home, which will give the poet’s proper wage a bit of a boost. We have 2 proper pay days before we move, but there’s also Christmas to consider.

Selling the house and moving also, naturally, requires packing. This house needs packing up and the other house has a loft that still needs emptying. And the house we’re moving to is slightly smaller than the one we’re in, which also has its own complications. We may be doing some furniture swapping with one of the kids …

This week I cleared a lot of editing work that’s already been paid for. I also finished one book at the end of last week, and sent the invoice, and I’ve almost finished another that should be back with the client at the beginning of next week.

I have 2 articles with publications. One has been accepted, and will be paid for once it’s been published. The other they keep telling me they hope to include and will get back to me when they can. (Both were sent on spec, but both are simply that kind of submission that I just happened to be quite confident about.)

So, over the next 2 – 3 weeks I have the “little” book I’ve already started to edit plus another “little” one and then a “big” one. We’re also hoping another “big” comes in next week, giving me 2 of each. A week tomorrow, NaNoWriMo starts too, but I’m really going to have to do that after I’ve done the paid work. One day – one day – my writing will come first.

I think we’re staying in tonight, to conserve energy as much as cash as we’re off to Birmingham quite early in the morning. We have to be back by teatime as the poet has a gig tomorrow evening. On Sunday morning, the lady buying the other house is coming to have another look, and then Sunday teatime, the poet has another gig. He’s working down here on Monday (he has his second dental appointment then) and Tuesday, and going back to Scotland Wednesday morning. The dog is due back at the vet next Friday morning, and the poet will be back Friday teatime.

Maybe we’ll get next weekend off … Have a goodun.

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Looking forward to being able to walk around this whenever we want … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

The weekend beckons

The poet has just come to the end of his third week working in Scotland, and we’re both starting to notice it now. Hard. He has at least another week to go, but he could still be up there for another month after that. We’re not getting a lot done together during the week as a result, and so we’re having to cram a lot into the weekends.

BUT, it’s part of his job and his job’s what pays the bills. Doesn’t mean we have to like it, though.

So, this week has been busy catching up with work. I’ve sent a book back to the publisher for completion, after rejecting it on Monday (I rejected it), and my writer’s boot camp has finally started to pay off. Next week I should have some new material to send off on its merry way.

Yesterday evening we dropped my car in to have the exhaust looked at (if fell off a week ago last Tuesday). And the battery, and the rear screen washer, and the air bag warning  light, and the bonnet prop catch …

The mechanic has called us with a rough ball park figure to get it all fixed, and we won’t be driving it to the scrapyard just yet. We might not get it back until Monday, though, and even then if they can fit it in between the MOTs they already have booked in. It’s a good job I’m not as reliant upon it as I used to be.

I’ve had a dentist appointment this afternoon (boo!), then we grabbed something to eat and we nipped to the supermarket afterwards, only to be evacuated by the fire alarm. Then we got stuck in traffic coming home.

This evening we may go into Doncaster, as it’s Doncaster Live this weekend, and tomorrow we either go to Birmingham to visit the parents, or we help son #1 move some furniture from the garage to his house.

If we’re still up here, we may visit Doncaster again. If we go to Birmingham tomorrow, we may go fishing on Sunday or walking or anything else we feel like doing. But it all depends on son #1 and what we end up doing tomorrow.

On Monday the poet is working from home, then he’s off up to Scotland again Tuesday morning and won’t be back until Friday night.

What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, have a good un.

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Look, no hands!

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

It’s been an interesting day so far.

The poet managed to leave both of his phones at home today, so I went out for a drive and dropped them in at work for him. It was nice to see him mid-morning, even if the gate gestapo did tell me off for parking illegally. I wasn’t even parked but I think I managed to charm him. 😉

I was able to test a hands-free kit he’s fixed up for me in the car, so I can take and make phone calls when I’m driving (so long as it’s safe to do so …). That worked.

It always delights me when things do what they’re supposed to do. It will be very useful being able to use the phone while I’m driving, especially when I’m on the way to my parents’ and stuck in traffic …

As I wasn’t far from Cannon Hall, I decided to take some work and have an hour there. The car park cost me £1, but I bought a magazine I’ve been looking for, for market study (Living North), and got that £1 knocked off the price.

And, of course, I managed that hour of work in very pleasant surroundings … along with a very nice bar of chocolate and a bottle of pop. And some jelly tot things …

When I got home I did a quick change-over with the washing machine, folded some bedding, put some crocks away, then I quickly updated the gig list for the weekend.

It was a joy to return to my desk now I have so much room. The screen is much easier to see and there’s plenty of space on the desk to do longhand and hard copy work. I don’t know how much editing and proofreading I’ll do at the desk, as I do like to change seating position and scenery, to alleviate arthritis and for variety.

I’ve been editing for much of the week and it continues today and probably tomorrow. I want to get some invoices out today so that they’re in the system and I need to clear as much work as I can to do that. It’s a do diddle day tomorrow, but I may have that on Sunday instead.

This afternoon I’m off to the dentist. I’m not looking forward to that. 😦

Today’s picture is another from our trip to Nostell Priory back in August.

Have a great weekend.