w/c 20 Jan: to do list

Well, that’s not bad, is it? Only 3 days into the new working week in the new working/living regime and I’m up to speed, back to normal.

I’m getting used to lots of things, such as sleeping in a strange place, keeping the animals happy (as the cats aren’t allowed out yet properly, although that hasn’t stopped Domino sitting on the new patio), wondering what all of these fancy gadgets are and how they work …

Hopefully, once in the swing of things, the money will start to trickle in again too, and even that has begun, with PLR due in February, Kindle royalties next week, interest on the bank account (yes, actual, proper interest, no matter how small), and ALCS due in March. I’ve also had work come in, brand new and 2nd proofs. So, all is good – so far.

I don’t think I included a link yet to the filler I had published in the Guardian on Saturday. For those who haven’t already seen it, here it is. My Playlist is the 2nd one down. And that’s the Guardian added to the CV. 🙂

Here, then, is this week’s to do list, which actually started on Monday but is now formally confirmed:

  • daily banking 
  • blog x 3 
  • daily competitions 
  • daily job search 
  • send contact details to the Guardian 
  • send bank details to the Guardian
  • walk dog daily x 3
  • query Three (mobile phone provider) about poor signal in new location 
  • collect new home signal booster box, delivered by Three 
  • diary work x 2 
  • update gig list 
  • write 1,000 words a day x 3
  • 2nd pass of client’s non-fiction book 
  • edit new non-fiction book
  • attend test drive of music desk x 2 
  • invoices (hurrah!)
  • Do Diddle Day (hurrah!)

Just look at all of those ticks already. I’ve also pitched for 9 jobs .

What’s on your to do list this week?

blog thumbnail

Happy New Year!

We didn’t do too badly. The only things I didn’t manage on the list were: make a yule log; ice the Christmas cake; Santa run to Leicester; trip to that thar London. Everything else we did. I’m very happy with that.

I’ve been having a think of what I’d like from 2014 but, once again, I’ve decided not to do a massive great list for the whole year, but to do just a smaller one each month, as things change. I don’t really feel as though I achieved much, work-wise, in 2013, and this has to change.

So, for January, my main target is to write at least 1,000 words every working day. I know I can do that because I did it in April, 30k in 30 days. At the end of the month that gives me a target of 24,000 words, which means just 24 working days. (There are fewer in February.) I’ll still have my monthly Do Diddle Day.

Other targets for January include (on every working day):

  • write 1,000 words a day
  • surf job boards
  • daily competitions
  • at least 4 hours on paid bread and butter jobs (editing and proofreading)

Weekly:

  • blog (3 times)
  • walks report
  • diary work
  • invoices
  • weekly gig list update

Monthly:

  • monthly gig list update
  • Do Diddle Day

Personally, there are daily, weekly and monthly targets too, such as:

  • walk dog
  • yoga
  • go walking
  • days/trips out
  • loads of gigs

And that’s it. That’s my list for 2014. Sorry for any disappointment, but with work coming in all the time, it’s difficult to plan too far ahead. And when work does come in, I can be booked for several weeks.

Here’s to a very happy, successful, healthy and prosperous new year.

Not a do diddle day today

02 whitby

Today would normally be a do diddle day and this would normally be the picture that accompanied the do diddle day. However, this month’s do diddle day is going to be on Friday, and we’re doing diddley squat together after having 2 quite busy weekends on the trot. But I like this picture so much I thought I’d use it today anyway. It was taken at one of my favourite places, Whitby, and it’s on the current calendar for November.

I don’t think I’m doing a calendar for next year. I don’t have enough new images, although I do have quite a few I didn’t use this year. But by the time the manufacturing costs have been totted up I think they’re too expensive. There are cheaper alternatives, but I need to spend time checking those out before utilising them. So there won’t be a calendar next year.

It doesn’t look as though I’m going to complete NaNoWriMo again. I got too far behind again too soon and the story just wasn’t working for me. I need to start something totally fresh so that I’m excited about it, and I need to put in the planning time.

In April I very successfully completed 30,000 words in 30 days and I earned an extra £325 for my efforts. I think I’m more likely to just give that a go again and be more successful.

December is going to be a very short month with almost a fortnight off over the festive period. But I have to get into the swing of writing something for me for my first work slot of the day, and I also have to discipline myself to get the paid work shifted in time too so that there’s a steady flow of income throughout the month.

Looking ahead (already) 2014 is going to be another good year for me, an exciting year with one or two changes. The last time I knew I was going to have a good year, it turned out to be an excellent year, so I’m optimistic for 2014. This means I’ll be working on my goals and targets over the next few weeks so that I can post them at the start of January.

I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown, and the summary of 2013 will also be slightly more interesting than usual. I’ll work on the review so that it can be posted at the end of December.

I’ve been asked for more lists, so during December I’ll revive those. It seems that quite a few readers are quite inspired by my lists whereas only a few feel a bit daunted by them. So, watch out for more lists and list alerts.

Last weekend was busy with a visitor and a gig on Saturday and a run to Birmingham and another gig on Sunday. This week I have 2 books to shift and I’m waiting for at least another to get started on. I’ve done this week’s walks report, I have the job boards to surf, and I have the gig list for December to upload.

It’s still a short week, though, with a do diddle day on Friday, so I’d best crack on.

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.

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.

Didn’t really do diddley squat yesterday

The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I didn’t really have a Do Diddle Day yesterday. I set the Do Diddle posts to publish automatically and it was about 11pm on Wednesday night when I remembered I hadn’t cancelled the post on the blog. It’s a nice picture, though, so I decided to leave it – and hopefully no one would try to contact me.

I had a busy week this week. I have a wonderful new business manager (who also happens to be the poet) and he worked out a proper pricing module for me. This has made it so much easier to bid for work, and quicker too, so saving time that isn’t actually paid for.

It turns out that I’ve been charging roughly half what I should be charging minimum for proofreading, and about a fifth of what I should be charging minimum for editing. This is based on the average time it takes me to edit or proofread 1,000 words or a page.

Unfortunately, people don’t seem to want to pay the going rate for anything and want to get everything as cheaply as possible, and even free. Sadly, that doesn’t pay my mortgage nor buy my groceries.

This week I bid for 14 jobs at the old rate, and now I’m hoping everyone declines me, because now I see why I seem to be working all hours yet totally skint. Yesterday I bid for 6 jobs at the new rate. Today I hope to bid for a few more. Time will tell if maybe I’m just not working fast enough.

I’ve had a new edit come in this week and another revision on an old edit. I’ve also been promised a new edit. The non-fiction edits actually come well within my new pricing module. The fiction edits, unfortunately, are coming well outside. I seem to spend more time on the fiction, yet I get paid less for it. I’ll have to think very carefully when another new edit comes in.

The non-fiction regular work is fine. I have one lot of revisions, one new book and one on the way. The fiction regular work is less fine. I have one lot of revisions in and one new book. I won’t be chasing for work there in future, but I will still have to consider it if I have nothing else in.

Because of the new pricing module, I’ve had to increase hours worked on paid stuff and decrease hours worked on my own stuff. If I want to do my own stuff, I need to get up earlier. This work will generate income at some point, but it is still speculative and I can’t guarantee how much I’ll be paid or when I’ll see it.

I still have a lot of navel gazing to do, clearly.

I also updated the gig list this week for October and I’ve done usual admin work.

I’m not sure yet if I’m going to the Leeds write-in tomorrow. I may prefer to spend the travel time actually writing now I can’t justify writing during my working week. I do have 2 gigs this weekend, though – one on Saturday and one on Sunday, both in Doncaster.

Today’s picture is of the lovely little cottage where we stayed when we went to Dent.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, have a good one.

Should’ve done this yesterday …

Look what the poet found across the River Dove ... (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Look what the poet found across the River Dove … (Picture: Diane Parkin)

It was a very busy weekend in the end starting with an emotional gig Friday night. It was emotional for several reasons, but the main one was to say farewell to someone off on a university adventure the next day. Also, someone I thought was a friend surprised me quite disappointingly … so they’ll probably be going into the next novel …

On Saturday we were at a charity boxing match helping to raise funds for several charities. That started at 11am for us, and finished close to 4pm. A quick rest and then we were off to Leeds to surprise another friend in his band. We had a good night and enjoyed dancing along to some less familiar tunes that aren’t done to death on the gig circuit.

Sunday was another day of rest.

Yesterday I started the new week with a vengeance and got quite a lot of bitty work done, admin work, diary work, planning work, those kinds of things. I also reviewed a book edit that really needs to be signed off now, but there are still tons of problems with the layout and with someone keep tinkering. If this book comes back with more work I’m going to need a new fee. I don’t mind correcting my own mistakes, but I’m not really responsible for everybody else’s too. Or a faulty system.

That job took longer than I intended, and so today I’ve done the walks report, and submitted it to 6 local newspapers, and I’m just doing the blog I should have done yesterday. Other jobs today include more admin work, surfing the job boards and starting the next historical fiction edit.

This Thursday would normally be a Do Diddle Day, but because I’ve already had quite a lot of time off this month with flu, along with a couple of unexpected, unscheduled Do Diddle Days, I’ve decided to cancel it and work. I need to catch up with some work and I need to get the invoices out.

Today’s picture was taken along part of the Dales Way long distance footpath. It’s the River Dove, just above Dent, and it’s one of mine. I love the mist in the background. Enjoy.

Posting weekly

DSCF0582
Wordsworth’s garden – come on in … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Isn’t this a lovely picture? Makes me want to wander in, settle down and daydream. It was taken at Grasmere, at William Wordsworth’s house, and it’s one of the poet’s.

Last week just got busier and stressier. I took my car in Thursday morning, which took a chunk out of my day. I had intended to do some work at the library, but lovely mechanic man said they wouldn’t get around to it for hours, so he took me home instead.

The car wasn’t ready until midday on Friday, but I had a lift there and was glad to get it back. It’s running a lot more smoothly, but I just can’t rely on it any more. This is a massive problem, as I can’t afford a new one either.

I started a new non-fiction but revisions came in for a fiction and it seems I have to drop everything when that happens, regardless of workload or work queue. If I don’t act on them immediately, I get nagging emails. Some clients do need to know that they’re not the only ones I have, but obviously I make them feel very special …

The revisions were done but by about 3:30pm on Friday I’d had enough of last week and called it a day. Then it was a really busy weekend, with a gig over in Doncaster Friday night to see a favourite band, then a long session at Doncaster Live on Saturday, culminating in the Buzzcocks – free of charge! – at the end of the night. And on Sunday we were back again to see another friend’s band I’d not seen until then – and they were really good.

This week has been busy again, with that non-fiction edit to finish. I did the manual edits on Monday and started the electronic edits on Tuesday, and I wrote the walks report and sent it on its merry way. But I’m not really very well at the moment. Neither of us is. I don’t know if we picked something up in Dent and it’s been incubating or if it’s something else, but we’re both very fluey and feeling very sorry for ourselves.

Despite this, while I worked yesterday, I did have cups of coffee appear, as if by magic, on my desk, and I did have dinner (lunch) cooked for me. The poet was having a Do Diddle Day! But by teatime we were both really flagging and today I think we’re worse.

This doesn’t get the work done, though. And no work means no invoices and that means no money. So I have to shift that edit, get it invoiced. Then I have to do another revision. Then I have a new edit to start, a novel this time. I also have an article to write.

I seem to be posting weekly at the moment, but that will change again – just as soon as I get back into a swing of things.

I’d best crack on – enjoy the pic. 🙂

Back on track

One of those article pitches I wanted to send? I sent it yesterday. She just commissioned it. I’m very happy about that – I need to scratch that freelance itch. 🙂

I’m hoping I’m back on track now. I spent some considerable time planning the diary for the next couple of weeks and a lot of time pitching for work. Two editing jobs have already come in from there, one for this week and one for a week in August, and one of those will lead to at least one other job. I also have another book to edit this week and I have loose ends to tie up on a previous novel.

On Monday I was very smug because I completed my expenditure for 2012 – 2013 and I submitted my tax return. I also pitched for 2 editing jobs, and I got my walks report written and off to 6 local newspapers. On Tuesday I pitched for another 3 editing jobs and spent much of the day finalising terms on those already mentioned.

I’ve filled in all the necessary bureaucratic forms I need to at the moment, which will free up time. I still have one phone call to make and one batch of information to send off, and then that’s me done with other people’s guff for the timebeing.

And then I can concentrate on my own work and the work I already have in.

I’m a day short this week due to a Do Diddle Day on Friday. For those new to Baggins Bottom, this is a day off every month where the diary stays empty. Nothing is planned, nothing is booked. I just get up in the morning – if I feel like it – and do whatever the hell I please. This could be absolutely nothing or it could be catching up on DVDs. It could be reading, or writing, or thinking. It can be a trip to the seaside or to the country. Or it could be work if I want. It can be an unscheduled trip to see the parents or it can be a day shopping. The thing is, you don’t plan …

… only this time there is a bit of a plan, and this was mostly due to timing than anything else. This Friday evening I’m off to Birmingham to support one of my favourite Yorkshire bands and to see some of my Brummie friends. I’ll also pop in to see Mom and Dad, make sure they’re all right. And it’s a belated birthday treat for one of said Brummie friends. I’m coming back afterwards, but because it’s a Do Diddle Day, I’ll probably have a long lie-in to compensate for the late night.

Rufus is also off for a big adventure. The poet’s coming to collect him and they’re going to have some quality time together. 😀 If the dog settles, he’s staying out all night; if he doesn’t, he’s coming back home. I’m not sure which of them is more excited!

27 julyOn Saturday we’re off to the Coalfields festival in Barnsley. There are a couple of bands on I’d like to see, but this festival happens every year and it’s the first time I’ll have made it. We won’t be there all day, but it’ll be nice to show our faces.

Then on Sunday … nothing. I have absolutely nothing planned for Sunday. Perhaps a run to the seaside or the country, perhaps the rest of my Do Diddle Day. But Sunday, this week, is an actual real day of rest. For now.

See you on the other side of the weekend.