Productive week

Despite being on my own again this week, it’s been a productive one.

First of all I won 2 jobs, and one of them I turned around the same day. The second one is a nice biggie, and it starts today or Monday, depending on how I get on with what I already have – probably Monday, but I’ve allowed 2 weeks for it.

I got a final revision in from a regular client and, again, I turned it around the same day. Some things just work better with the touch-it-once mentality. Had I not just turned them both around and sent them on their merry ways, they would have been thrown into the to-do basket with everything else.

I’ve been plodding through a new edit for lovely-already-boss and I hope to have that one done by the end of today or by midday Monday.

My writer’s boot camp has come into its own finally, with me completing the following:

  • 4 outlines – 3 short stories and 1 filler
  • #1 of a filler
  • #2 of a 1,402-word short story
  • #3 of a Reader’s True Experience (RTE)
  • final draft of another RTE, polished and submitted

The latter one I edited down from over 2,700 words to bang on 1,200 words. The required length? 1,200 words. 😀 The short story needed to be 1,400 words too, so I think I did quite well on those two.

NEWS JUST IN: That RTE I submitted yesterday has just been accepted. 😀

I’d like to do more boot camp today, but I’d also like to finish the current 1st hard-copy edit, so I need to decide which is more important to me.

The next job to do on the short WiP list is the first draft of one of the short stories I outlined. That’s always a hard one for me, and I like most of the story to be inside my head before I start. I think it needs to percolate a little more, but I may just get a burst of enthusiasm when I least expect it.

The next job after that one is a 2nd draft of the filler, so I might just skip to that one for now, just to keep the writing muscle exercised. Further proof that the short WiP schedule is not cast in stone.

I’ll be collecting the poet again from the station at teatime today, so I have until 5:30pm to finish today’s work.

I don’t think we’re doing anything tonight, but we’re shopping tomorrow and going to a comedy show tomorrow night. If the weather’s okay, we may also do a spot of river fishing at some point over the weekend. He’s not done that in a while, and it gives me chance to read or do more boot camp, depending on what I feel like. The dog also gets extra walks, which means I do too.

Or, we may go for a walk or just a day out.

We could also hear from son #1 again this weekend, though, wanting to move that furniture. But we’ll deal with that if and when it happens.

What are you up to this weekend? Hope it’s a goodun. 😉

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Productive week so far (lists alert)

I had a good day on Monday.

I sifted through the archives and I found 4 short stories and 1 reader’s true experience (RTE) that just needed a quick proofread before going off on their merry ways. I also:

  • found 2 1st drafts of stories
  • identified slots for 4 potential filler ideas
  • started the new WiP notebook
  • brought my fillers markets up to date with what 3 of the red-top magazines are currently looking for
  • proofed those 4 short stories
  • chased an overdue invoice
  • and pitched for 2 new editing or proofreading jobs

The poet worked from home yesterday, which was lovely – apart from him being full of cold again. He got quite a lot done, and much more than (a) he thought he would, and (b) he would have done had he been at work. He’s always said he wouldn’t have the discipline to work from home, but perhaps me sitting there working away helped. Here’s what I managed:

  • started the non-fiction manual edit, clearing 30 pages
  • pitched for 3 new editing or proofreading jobs (and have one reply to reply to already)
  • proofed the RTE
  • and did some banking work

We also took the dog for a walk and nipped to Tesco for milk and something quick for tea.

This morning I took my car in for an MOT.

The plan was to take some work down to the library for a couple of hours, but as I pulled up at the garage, they were waiting for me and they took it down straight away, telling me to wait in the office. Half an hour later they were back, having replaced 2 lightbulbs (front nearside sidelight + registration plate light) and switched off the Air Bag warning light, and clutching my shiny new MOT certificate. With a teeny tiny bill of less than £40 this time (apx $65), I was very proud of my little car and treated it to a smelly new air freshener – last of the big spenders, that’s me. 🙂

It meant the editing work I took with me didn’t really get done, but I did manage some reading. When I got back there were author revisions waiting for me on a historical novel I’ve been editing, so I shifted that and had a late dinner (lunch).

I want to have another look at the job boards this afternoon and maybe do some more of that manual editing.

This evening, though, we’re off to see Stephen Wade (aka the babe magnet) and Phil Whyman at the Doncaster Literary Festival, so we’re going to be in a bit of a rush and I’m cooking tea. It’ll be great to catch up with Stephen and his wife, Kate Walker, this evening as I haven’t seen them for a couple of years.

What a busy week. And there are still 2 days left.

And so it begins – finally

I skipped a day this week, I missed Wednesday. That’s because apart from being really, really busy this week, I was also out running errands. Just LOOK at this week’s to-do list, though. (Link here.) There’s just one whole job that’s being carried over to next week (historical non fiction #3, which will become #2 next week) and one half a job (historical non fiction #2, which will become #1). But apart from that … didn’t she do well! I also sold a filler this week …

It’s been a wonderful week anyway, as people finally (finally!) started to pay me. And with several jobs finishing this week too, I’ve probably earned a whole month’s wages this week alone. It’s a pity it’s the wages I should have earned 3 months ago, but it’s still a start. And with the amount of work (and further wages) I have coming in the next few weeks, I can finally relax and do some of my own work as well for a change.

Yesterday I had 2 separate errands to run, and I almost decided against the 2nd one. But it was a run to the pet superstore to get his lordship a new ball. I’d already been out for one beautiful drive in the sunshine, and while on the road I managed to “write” the best part of an article in my head that I’d promised someone by the end of the day.

So as I’d earned a month’s wages already, as I’d already filed quite a few jobs, and as the drive might allow me to finish “writing” the article in my head, I decided to go for it, the dog would get his new ball, and he’d also come for a ride with me too. He ended up with TWO balls and a rubber bone, so he did very well out of it. And when I got back, the article was “finished” and I was able to dash it off in minutes, give it a quick proof, and send it on its merry way.

Today, then, I’ve printed off historical non fiction #2 (which will become #1 next week) and I’ll start to edit that. I’ll also do the invoices (hurrah! – there are LOADS of them). I have to book a hair appointment (I had to cancel the last 2), and I’ll take the dog for a walk. I think we may be shopping this evening, but the poet also has 2 guitars to restring (oops – both Ds, apparently) as he has another gig tomorrow night. OR we may do the shopping tomorrow. We’re also off for a big walk, probably on Sunday.

For March I’m looking ahead to taking part in the Leeds write-ins again, hopefully on alternate Saturdays when the poet isn’t fishing. I’m also booking in a daily slot to write 1,000 words a day and we think it needs to be a novel. I picked up 4 new writing books this week (2 were free, 2 were very cheap) and I intend to do some reading too.

I feel like I deserve one of these this week …

gold star

Have a great weekend.

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?

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Ooh, tis snowing … (list alert!)

tree
Picture: Ian Wordsworth

And I don’t mean outside, I mean on the blog. I was looking for that function only last week and couldn’t find it, but it looks as though they’ve retained the setting from last year. This is nice as I’m actually starting to feel a bit like Christmas already this year. In recent years it’s taken a little while longer despite it being my favourite time of year.

We put the tree up yesterday. For the first time in years I had help and it looks lovely. We’ve stuck to just red trimmings this time and it goes with the lounge just perfectly. We also baked the cake – with one spare (for testing purposes, of course) – and I had help with that too, in the stirry bit where the mixture gets a bit too heavy. I’ll ice it a bit closer to the time when I’ll also make the Yule log, the mince pies and tarts, and any festive biscuits.

I’ve been doing a lot of catching up with work just lately, hence my absence from the blog. It’s been work away from the pc and keeping off the pc has resulted in me being more productive too. Last Thursday and Friday I started work at 8:30am both days, and both days finished well into the evening.  I also updated the gig list for December and I pitched for 13 jobs.

The other catch-up thing I did was sort out all of my current writing work in progress. I haven’t done any proper writing since my 30k in 30 days in April and I’ve been determined to get back into the swing of that. So last week I kickstarted it all by:

  • pitching a brand new article
  • outlining two brand new short stories, and
  • outlining a brand new filler, all firsts in ages.

Then I armed myself with a book I quite enjoyed reading the first time, The Positively Productive Writer by Simon Whaley, and gave myself a pep-read via the Kindle. This book will be staying by my side throughout 2014 as there’s a month-by-month guide as well.

The next jobs I did last week included:

  • emptying the hard-copy-editing folder (books)
  • turning 3 short stories around and sending them off on their merry way again
  • sending 1 book off to the client, and
  • printing 2 draft 3 articles off for editing and submission.

News just in: The book I sent back to the client on Friday has just this second been paid for. I like that kind of work.

After a busy weekend, with a gig Friday night, a visit to Birmingham on Saturday, a double gig Saturday night, a walk yesterday and all of the weekend Christmas activity,  I started the new week very well with my first Yoga workout in ages. I did a bit of this yesterday when my back started to really hurt again, and it did it the world of good quite quickly. So now I want to do something every morning again, just like I used to.

This week, then (and those of a nervous disposition may want to look away now), here is my to-do list:

9781846948510_The Positively Productive Writer_PB.indd

  • complete electronic edits on 2 books and submit for typesetting
  • complete brand new filler and submit by Wednesday
  • write walks report and submit to 6 local newspapers
  • write 3 blog posts
  • update gig list on Wednesday
  • write and submit 1 commissioned article, and source pictures
  • kickstart Devon Ellington’s 5 Stories in 10 Weeks with a short flash fiction piece
  • edit and submit 2 speculative articles (RTEs – Readers’ True Experiences)
  • write draft 1 of a new short story that’s actually a sequel to a previously successful story
  • surf the job boards daily.

What are your plans this week?

A busy old week

It’s been a busy old week, and there’s still a way to go, but halfway along I’m feeling it.

On Monday we had thunderstorms ALL DAY, and Rufus barked at the thunder ALL DAY. I do like to have the doors and windows open at this time of year and enjoy listening to any rain showers or rumbles of thunder in the distance, but Rufus wasn’t having any of that this time. No, he wanted everyone’s full attention. EVERYONE’S.

I had a busy day anyway. I wrote and submitted 3 articles, sent one of them off to 6 local newspapers and the other 2 off to a magazine. The magazine acknowledged them straight away, and one of the newspapers acknowledged the other.

I also started editing a book, and all of that reading and writing, coupled with the dog’s constant barking, left me with a grumpy headache by teatime. So I called it a day and we had a chilled evening on the settee in front of the telly with Chinese for tea. Perfick.

Yesterday the dog was quieter. I think he had a sore throat. So I was able to crack on with some more work, which I’ve continued today. I like working on my lap downstairs, and I’ve enjoyed doing that for a couple of days.

I also had to come onto the computer – when it wasn’t thundering – to do some online stuff, checking for jobs, corresponding with clients, etc.

Today has been a day of also speaking to money people. My workload has increased significantly for August and already, with still 3 weeks to fill, I’ve broken-even income-wise, with £40 to spare (apx $60). Instead of lurching from day to day, I once again have work in for 3 weeks (including this week). If I can sustain that, then I’m back on track. But I needed to let the money people know.

I have 2 budget income figures: one is “break even”; the other is “comfortable profit”. As I say, I’m already into “break even” for August, so If I can get work in for just 2 of the remaining weeks for August, I’m in more than “comfortable profit” and am considering a very short break away from it all. I usually have the August bank holiday week off anyway, and I’m getting a yearning for Dent.

I had a holiday in Dent about 4 years ago, at Easter, but the snow kept me confined to barracks as Mountain Rescue were pleading with walkers not to go out onto the hills unless they were very experienced, knew the area well, and were not alone. As I failed on all counts, I spent the week indoors until the roads cleared, and then I did some touristy stuff.

Last night I had a quick surf to see if the cottage I stayed in was still available, and it doesn’t look as though it is. However, I have found another that has a special offer for 3 nights at the end of August. I’m now working on the basis that if it’s meant to be the offer will still be available as soon as I have the funds to spare. It’s very cheap.

There are some lovely walks around Dent, plus there are some interesting characters (the terrible knitters of Dent for a start) and some nice little places to visit. A little holiday would be very nice, but I have to prioritise.

For the rest of this week, then, I have another commissioned article to write, this book to finish editing, some fillers to resubmit, the gig list to update for August, and a couple of books to write. I’ve also seen a major short story competition I’d like to have a pop at.

But I am feeling weary …

Dent
Dent

Tight month

I don’t really have much to report, mostly because I’ve spent vast quantities of the past 7 days in bed. I’ve done hardly any work because I just haven’t had the energy. I didn’t go to the Leeds write-in on Saturday, I’ve not been to any gigs, and I didn’t go to visit my parents – mostly because we don’t want them catching whatever I’ve had.

And I’m hoping it’s the past tense now.

The over-the-counter drugs have been working hard for about 5 days, including night time tablets to help me sleep (not sleeping tablets). But yesterday, when I surfaced the first time, I was so woozy I spent several seconds staring down at the doorstep wondering why the milkman hadn’t been … (he might be good, but he doesn’t deliver on a Sunday, unless snow has been forecast the following day, and then it’s Sunday evening rather than Sunday morning).

So last night I went without the night time drugs … and when I woke up at 10am this morning, I felt as though I’d slept the sleep of the dead. The animals were all shut in the bedroom with me and I have no idea if I’d ignored any of them wanting out, but as they were all fast asleep and snoring … perhaps they have me on when they do manage to wake me and don’t want out at all.

It means, of course, that now February – an already short month – is tighter than ever. I have a good month’s-worth of work in. I just need to plod through it steadily:

  • edit historical novel #1
  • edit historical novel #2
  • proof-read historical non-fiction #1
  • proof-read auto-biography
  • pitch paranormal feature #1
  • weekly walks report
  • finish and submit short story for fave story market
  • finish and submit filler/reader’s letter
  • write and submit RTE (reader’s true experience)
  • arrange interviews for non-fiction #1
  • write press release for Feb book publication
  • write 1,000 words a day …

We didn’t get much snow this time, by the way, despite it being forecast last week and this week. It did snow, but not enough to stick. It’s nice walking the dog when it’s snowing because nobody else does. (Bunch of big girls’ blouses!)

In other news, I am reading quite a lot, World Without End by Ken Follett (and watching it on telly), and I finally finished the polo-necked aran jumper I’ve been knitting for about three years. So that’s something.

However, I’d best get on …