Yes, it’s been a while. The last time I posted was 22 August … the following day wasn’t a great one in our world. We’ve had a lot going on since then too, along with more shocks (more information can be found on Words Worth Writing, so I shan’t bore anyone over here with the details again), but hopefully, once again, perhaps things will finally settle for us now.
We’ve not really been out. We’ve not really done much in the kitchen. We’ve not really had chance to do anything substantial to the garden.
A few loaves of bread have been made, along with a few pots of jam. We have more foraging to do. Our garden is resplendent with apples, plums, rhubarb, but we want to go and get some blackberries, some sloe berries and some elderberries from our old lane. There are more jams to be made, and chutneys, and ketchups, and sauces … It is, after all, that time of year.
I’ve been very busy re-publishing books. (Again, more information can be found over on the writing blog.) I’ve picked up a couple of old writing courses to complete, on top of the fiction writing course I’m already studying. I have more books to write, along with a few short stories. And I have several client books to edit too.
So I am very, very busy. And if I disappear again, you’ll know why.
I was going to give Baggins Bottom a bit of a sabbatical, but I realised that as soon as I do that, I’ll suddenly have lots to write about again. Therefore, please forgive and excuse any randomness or unreliability meanwhile. Ta. 🙂
Back in the day, when I was prolific and all that, Fridays were errand days. Now I’m getting back into the swing of things, Fridays are errand days again. And today is no different.
I’ve already completed one errand this morning, a banking errand (hurrah!), and I have 2 more errands to do – one of which has been brought forward from later this afternoon, so I’m hoping it doesn’t disrupt the rest of the day too much.
It’s been a very busy week again, the first of my 5-day weeks (if you include today’s errand day, as I still have to do work around the errands) in a while. And next week is a 6-day week! That’s how much work I have in.
One of my jobs was pulled yesterday by the client – they changed their mind, which they’re entitled to do so long as I haven’t already started work. I hadn’t, and they did replace it with a different job. So that’s perfectly acceptable. I still have a good, full schedule of work, and I am struggling, again, to fit my own writing work in around it.
One of this afternoon’s errands is to deliver a heavy proofread I’ve been working on this week. I interrupted a heavy edit to do it, between hard copy edits and electronic edits, which also gave me a bit of a rest from the heavy edit. But it was still time consuming and brain draining, so I may see if I have a very easy, quick job I can complete before getting back to the heavy edit.
Of course, the invoices are nice and, usually, until the jobs are finished I can’t raise the invoices. But I’m awaiting payment for 3 jobs already, including one pre-payment (which I have before I start work), and the fresh air in the bank account is starting to be exhausted too. So I need someone to pay me, and pay me quick. But I need to raise an invoice for today’s heavy proofread, and I need to complete the heavy edit so I can raise that invoice as well.
Cash-flow can still be a very big problem.
I’ve not done much full writing work this week, but I have been doing a lot of reading and making plenty of notes, jotting down ideas and slants – more on that in the diary next Wednesday. Today I’ll do what I can between errands.
We don’t have anything planned for tomorrow, so it might be a bit of a do diddle day, although the poet will be prepping for a fishing match he’s joining on Sunday. We have a private party tomorrow night, where the poet’s band is playing. And while he’s at the fishing match on Sunday, I’ll be doing the first of my 6 days for next week.
Apart from being in the midst of another very heavy edit, yesterday I also disappeared beneath a fug of faff and almost let the entire day run away.
It all started when I tried to tidy my pictures on Facebook, and I was going so fast that FB suddenly stopped letting me update the captions, saying my “behaviour” was intolerable. (Or words to that effect.)
Well, FB, enjoy them while you have them. Because when you start to dictate to me what I can write and what I can do with MY OWN PICTURES, I start to back them up elsewhere and they start to disappear from your platform.
Anyway, once I got over my little tantrum, I left the computer (and FB) on the office desk and moved downstairs to finish the heavy manual edit. I should be doing the electronic edit on that next, but I need a rest from it so will do a quick proofread for the same client instead, and get that back to them either tonight or tomorrow night, overnight.
Last week got a bit busy as I had another 4-day week (it’s 5 days this week, I hope I can cope). All of Thursday was pretty much written off with appointments, but I did manage more editing in between at least. I just didn’t manage anything else.
At the weekend we had a Monkey Dust gig Saturday night, and we visited both lots of parents – one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. I also had a baking day, making a cherry fruit cake and some cherry buns (we needed to use up the cherries), and I made a strawberry trifle. And on Sunday the poet left a pork casserole in the slow cooker while we were out.
I have at least 2 books I need to clear and get back to the client this week (the 2 already mentioned), but we have a meeting Wednesday evening too for the one piece of “pro-bono” work I’ve taken on. I don’t do work for free very often, but I do like to help out a good cause where I can and this one’s to do with some friends of the band, and it is a charity thing. The band will be doing something too.
Friday is back to being an errand day this week. I usually still work in the morning, but try to arrange any appointments for late afternoon onwards. This week I had to make one appointment in the morning, at 10:30am, and I already had one late afternoon, at 4:30pm. Hopefully there’s still a big enough gap in there for me to crack on with some work.
Today’s picture is another one from our long weekend in Evesham over the bank holiday. We had a day showing the poet some of the Cotswold villages, and this one is Moreton in Marsh. Have a look at it and see if you can come up with a story – either around the memorial or about the people who live (or do they work?) in the little house immediately behind. With Remembrance Sunday less than 2 months away, some speculation – or good, honest research – around the memorial might make something interesting. But so might whoever you decide to populate the house with.
Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I experienced what I believe to be (having Googled it …) a kaleidoscopic migraine.
I’ve had migraines before. They usually start with my peripheral vision starting to recede into tunnel vision. And if I don’t get to lie down in a darkened room before the tunnel vision becomes pin-pricks, I get a terrible headache accompanied by nausea.
I was in the middle of an electronic edit yesterday when my peripheral vision started to go, and I thought, ooh eck (cos that’s how they talk oop north). But I carried on because I wanted to finish the job … until the kaleidoscope of lights and shapes started to hinder my vision so much I had to go and lie down in that darkened room anyway.
When the poet nipped home for lunch, he took one look at me and knew there was something wrong. I avoided cheese and chocolate, and went back to bed when he went back to work. And within half an hour, it was all over.
As I say, I’ve Googled it already (with apologies to those of you who hate to see that as a verb!), and I’m pretty certain it was just a migraine. Has anyone else experienced something like that?
I did manage another couple of hours on the electronic edit before taking the dog for a walk around the lake, and something from that walk must have stuck at the back of my mind. Because this morning I woke with the idea for a story almost fully formed, centred around a lake that’s tucked away and almost forgotten. I don’t know if it will be a short, 1,000-word story, or if I might be able to make it something meatier. But it’s the bones of a story and before breakfast it was in my notebook. I’ll leave that one there for now, to percolate.
This morning, also before breakfast, I already emptied the dishwasher and filled it back up again, put one wash through and sorted the next washload ready (I’m about to go and put the first on a spin before hanging it out and putting the second load through), fed the pets and emptied the kitchen bin. It’s a glorious day, but with my workload I only have time to hang two lots of washing out today, and fetch them back in again, of course.
But I didn’t get to my desk until 10am, and I still have lots to do. I have that electronic edit to finish and a hard-copy proofread to start, I want to do some more short story brainstorming work, I have invoices to raise (hurrah!), and a dog to walk. On top of that, we have to be out by 6:30pm this evening for a gig on the other side of Doncaster, so it’ll be a rush for tea too.
Tomorrow there’s another gig, in the centre of Doncaster this time, so we can’t go far tomorrow. If it’s as nice as today (and I have my shorts on today, it’s so nice), I’d like to get another two washloads on the line and maybe a short outing. Then on Sunday we’re visiting both lots of parents.
The final leg of our honeymoon started at 5am on a Sunday morning when we got up to head off to Glasgow Airport for our flight to Cyprus. We were only going for a week.
The poet had been craving sunshine – proper sunshine – and so when we got the chance we decided to take advantage of having pet sitters and off we popped.
We had an all inclusive hotel, which I’m really not used to, but it was nice for our honeymoon.
I’ve never been to Cyprus but lots of friends have raved about how beautiful it is. And it is – plus, there’s still a very heavy British influence there on things like the road signs and traffic lights. I was expecting it to be a bit more Greek, but it’s actually quite cosmopolitan. We had glorious weather on all but one day.
So here are some “snapshots” of our first and last days there. The more touristy pictures will follow in the next few posts.
I’m suddenly very busy again. Not only did I already have one job waiting for me when we got back off holiday, but another arrived on my first day back at work.
Two days later another arrived.
And I think there may be another 2 editing or proofreading jobs in the pipeline too, but one of them needs me to get a pdf editor. I’m not sure I want a free one as I need one that will do the job properly and not drop out or expire when I least expect it.
Aside from the editing work, I’ve also come back from both Scotland and Cyprus with loads and loads of ideas for articles and fillers.
I’ve been frantically making notes and doing some market research and, once the current edit is done (due in tomorrow), I’ll probably look at getting some pitches out. I’d like to send at least a pitch a day, or maybe 5 per week. (I did say there were loads of ideas.)
Last week too was spent redrafting the outline for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I’m trying to write scene-by-scene this time, rather than chapter-by-chapter and I’m hoping that helps me to flit from one era or viewpoint to another. I now have 75 scenes, including a prologue and plus an afterword. So I’m chomping at the bit to be getting on with that as well.
Then I have 2 books in for proofreading that I’ve already edited. I usually leave those until the proofreader/author revisions come in. But I’d like to build in proper proofreading time to my schedule if I can, so I know they’ve picked up everything that I would.
And the promise of more to come … It’s very nice to be so busy. On the job boards I get so many invitations to pitch now that I don’t even trawl the wanted pages any more. So yes, lots to do on the writing and editing side of things.
There’s stuff I need to do around the house too, and I’ve only just today hit the bottom of the laundry basket following our holiday. It’s only taken 2 weeks …
I want to bake more as well, though, making full use of the fresh ingredients we’re getting once a fortnight. I think the poet is using pak choi for tea this evening … I have no idea what that is or what to do with it. But hopefully he does.
The poet has one more band practice this week before other band members start their summer holidays. The next gig is in August, so it will be nice to have the summer off.
We have plans to go to a few summer festivals over the break and not having to be back on a Saturday in time for a gig will mean we don’t have to dash around.
And I think that’s it for today. I have work due in tomorrow and another job starting tomorrow, so I really need to be getting on with that now. The heating has packed up too, so I’m also hanging around waiting for the gas man.
We didn’t do a lot at the weekend in the end. The weather forecast was a bit mixed so we couldn’t really plan anything ahead.
On Saturday, we did nip out to collect a regular prescription, get some fish bait in case he decided to go fishing, and buy our first holiday clothes and a beach towel each. Then he spent the rest of the afternoon prepping while I spent it reading.
On Sunday he decided not to go fishing in the end, so the bait is saved for later in the week. We went to the farmers’ market at Wentworth, but it had already blown away in the gales by the time we got there. So we went, instead, around the garden centre and bought a few exciting things … watering can, weed killer, path clear … And on the way home we visited his parents.
So, pretty much a do-diddle weekend. We got up, thought about what we wanted to do (or not) and then did it.
This week I have one big editing job to get on with and another smaller one to start if the big one is finished. I’ve already fielded some invitations to pitch for work, and accepted just one, but with more than 2 weeks holiday looming, I’m now telling folk I’m available for work from w/c 18 May.
I’ll also be doing more work on CATCH THE RAINBOW and I’ll be studying my next module on the fiction writing course.
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.
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. 🙂
Every year the blog gets a bit of a facelift, and the eagle-eyed may notice that it’s happened again. I hope you like it, but do welcome feedback. Please let me know what you think about the new layout, what you like about it and what you dislike about it. Ta muchly. 🙂
My normal week has been very, well, normal. And I’ve actually managed to get a good bit done. My editing output has slowed down a little, but my own writing has increased. This is going in the right direction, yes?
On Monday we did have a carpenter come to plane and rehang 6 doors, but he arrived early and was gone before dinnertime. The poet also had to drive over to Manchester and was quite surprised at the difference in weather on the “other side of hill”. On Tuesday I did have to go back and have one of my blood tests done again as they’d apparently lost it at the lab. But these are regular blood tests and they’ve not called me back yet … On Wednesday we had a terrific dump of snow, which was great for me, but the poet had to abandon another trip across the Pennines and go into the local office. There had also been an accident so he was very, very late. Yesterday he was back there again, and he’s gone again today. But apart from all of that, it’s been a relatively normal week.
I’ve had a very productive week workwise.
On Monday I worked on Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 2 and I collated several lots of writers’ guidelines for potential pitching/submitting. On Tuesday I started to write a new book and managed almost 2,000 words and pretty much the book’s structure. On Wednesday I wrote another 1,400+ words for the new book and I electronically edited 30 pages of the current client job. On Thursday the blog had its facelift, and I also managed another 500 words (nearly) on the new book and another 15 pages on the client job. I’ve surfed the job boards as well this week, but nothing took my fancy.
Today, then, I want to finish the electronic edits and get that book sent back to the author for query responses. I’d also like to write a bit more of the book and see how close I can get to 5,000 words. At 4:15pm I have a hair appointment, so that means I finish work today at 3:30pm.
On Wednesday I received the news that we’re completing on the other house sale next Friday. That means this weekend we have to clear the garage of stuff we know is destined for either the tip or the charity shops and empty the loft over there and fetch anything back that we’re keeping. Apart from that I don’t think we have any other plans for this weekend, so we’ll, once again, suck it and see how we feel.
The poet may want to have a play with his new toy. Do you like it? It’s a dSLR camera and these wonderful blue tit shots were the first he ever took when his new zoom lens arrived.
He’s a little disappointed that they’re a bit blurred, but he’s already learned how to combat that and more examples will follow. They’re so lovely, though, I thought some of you may like to see them.
This week, on the home front, we’ve had a garage door repair team out, a pair of carpet fitters in the house for a whole day, another carpet fitter delivering a room-size rug and making sure it fits, I’ve been to get routine blood tests and results (all normal), the poet has been to Stockport for one day and to Scotland for 2 days – the latter of which means taxi duties for me – the boiler packed up again so the gas man had to come and fix that – again – and we had to get 6 doors planed and rehung.
In between all of this I’ve edited 3 books and pitched for 10 new jobs. Oh yes, and we finally exchanged contracts on the other house.
Phew! It’s all go.
The weather here hasn’t been as bad as in other parts of the country, but it has been bitterly cold and incredibly windy – not good when the boiler packed up. We still had a fire and a hob, and there was hot water stored in the tank. But this is quite a draughty house (it’s its nature, being an old farm building dating back to 1628 – it’s a listed building too), so the cold nipped a bit. I had to put the fire on in the living room and work in there and, when the boiler was fixed, I left the heating on quite high overnight to warm everywhere up again.
This is a picture of His Lordship enjoying the fire.
You can also see the rug we had made for this massive living room. We were torn between leaving the lovely stone flags exposed and in character, or covering them with a fitted carpet and making the place feel homely. So when they told us we couldn’t have our carpet of choice because the room was too big and they wouldn’t be able to join it, we asked them to make the rug instead. It’s almost 3m x 4m and still there’s lots of floor around the outside.
The picture above is also quite nice in that it represents both the poet and me. His is the guitar to the left, mine is the notebook, pencil and Kindle to the right. You can also see His Lordship’s basket. The hampers were Christmas presents that were left there during the holiday, and looked so nice we decided to keep them there.
The picture to the left shows our 3rd landing and how we carried the carpet up the open plan stairs so that the 2 parts of the house are linked.
There’s a window to the left of Abbey Road, and we have curtains to match those in the living room too, which are the ones from the other house that the gig buddy made for me and has adapted to fit the new house for us. The spare bedroom and the bathroom are off this landing. Our bedroom and an airing cupboard are off the 2nd landing, the 1st landing is a turning point on the stairs.
The Abbey Road sign was a present to the poet from son #2 and was on the door of the office/studio at the last house.
Because we have 3 landings on the stairs, and because 10 of the stairs are open plan, this job took the carpet fitters considerably longer than a regular staircase would take. They were here all day, but they did the bedroom too (in a different carpet). It’s a busy carpet, but a cottagey one that we think fits in nicely.
So that’s part of what we’ve been up to and the week isn’t even over yet. We have runs to do at the weekend to both Doncaster and Birmingham. And I have electronic edits to complete before then.