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. 🙂
This post will be my last diary entry for 2015 as I break up on Friday until the new year. All being well, there will be a regular post on Friday, but as I’m popping out, I may run out of time.
On Wednesday I did some band admin, I continued with an edit for a client, and I wrote 411 words for a writing project.
Thursday started with gig list admin and I moved on to pro-bono work. I finished the hard copy edit for the client and did the diary for the coming week.
On Friday I managed just 291 words of a writing project and spent much of the rest of the day doing the electronic edits for the client book. I also raised the invoice for this work (hurrah!) and submitted it (the work, not the invoice) to both client and author.
Friday night we had a gig in Leeds, which was … interesting to say the least. It was a work’s Christmas party and we were quite surprised at the behaviour of some of the attendees, one of whom was so drunk he fell over and broke his ankle … and people ask me if I miss corporate life …
Unfortunately, the weekend was a bit of a wipe-out for us as the poet had a relapse on the cold he’d been suffering from (due to singing the night before, we think), and he managed to pass it on to me. We did some shopping on Saturday, but cancelled everything else and wrapped presents on Sunday.
On Monday I managed to write 650 words for one project, I did some gig list admin, I won a new editing job and I started another. Well, I printed them both off …
On Tuesday I thought I’d allocate an hour and sort through some photographs, specifically on Facebook. I wanted to move lots of odds and ends into existing folders and merge a lot of the same or similar (holiday photographs, fishing photographs, days out photographs, etc).
Some of the pictures went back several years, like the one above, against which I’d noted “this will be getting a lot of use”. It hardly had any use, so I’m using it today to illustrated today’s blog. Nothing to do with writing, other than it was a writing weekend I attended. I love the colours of the houses and that backdrop.
Once I realised the time, I got to a place where I felt I could leave it (some time in 2014, I think, which was actually quite good) and moved downstairs to do some editing. I’m delighted to see that the current edit is a quick and easy one, and a nice author to work with who also mentions me in his acknowledgements. 🙂
I won’t be completely idle over the Christmas break. It’s all change at my favourite fiction market and I’d like to have something to send them each month. If I work really hard, I might manage a December submission. But I’d like to at least have something for her in January and again in February. So I’m mulling over a few story ideas.
I also hope we’ll manage a few research trips. We have just over a fortnight off and visiting the family won’t take up all of it. Plus, I’ll be looking back over the past year and what I’ve achieved, and looking forward to the coming year and what my plans and goals might include.
What are your plans for over the Christmas period?
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.