w/c 13 Jan: to do list

As it’s Monday, here is this week’s to do list:

  • continue sourcing pictures for client’s book
  • format client’s book for Kindle, etc
  • edit new historical non-fiction
  • post 3 x blog 
  • surf job boards 5 x daily 
  • write walks report ×
  • submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers ×
  • 5 x daily banking 
  • surf 5 x daily competitions 
  • write 1,000 words 5 x daily ×
  • update gig list 
  • diary work
  • raise invoices
  • trip to Birmingham
  • trip to Doncaster 

Today I already pitched for 12 jobs, including several regular gigs. There are 2 or 3 of those that I’d really, really like.

For the rest of the day, once I’ve completed the other 2 daily chores, I’m writing.

What’s on your to do list this week?

w/c 6 Jan: to do list

9781846948510_The Positively Productive Writer_PB.inddI would normally have done the to do list on a Monday, but this week I decided to post the stats of 2013 instead. However, posting the list mid-week does have its advantages – mostly more ticks –  so it might become a feature.

This morning, for the first time in … years (yes, years), I actually felt like a writer again. I’ve not done a lot of writing recently, but I have felt motivated and the ideas are bustling for attention. So I’m seeing this as something positive. I’m also reading The Positively Productive Writer by Simon Whaley, however, and that could have something to do with it. I’d encourage all writers to check out this little gem.

Here, then, is this week’s to do list:

  • complete electronic edits on client’s book 
  • write walks report 
  • post 3 x blog  
  • surf job boards 5 x daily 
  • submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers 
  • 5 x daily banking 
  • source pictures for client’s book 
  • surf 5 x daily competitions 
  • write 1,000 words 5 x daily ×××
  • update gig list 
  • format client’s book for Kindle, etc
  • diary work 
  • raise invoices 

Looking at the list so far it’s clear there’s a daily job I’m still not doing. I need to start carving out the time for this. If I can finish the client’s book by Friday, though, I may be able to catch up there. The electronic edits took longer than I thought they would and yesterday, when I finished doing those, I simply crashed on the settee and burned out.

There are still plenty of ticks on there to keep me going, though.

Onwards and upwards …

What’s on your to do list this week?

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.

Okay, I’m updating the blog … (and a list alert)

020Meet our tree topper. He comes out every year, so this is an old photo, but I didn’t have anything as festive more recently, so I’ve wheeled him out again. Isn’t he great?

Well, it’s been a busy old week with me pitching for jobs quite furiously and winning quite a high return too. But then I suppose that’s the way it goes – speculate to accumulate.

I’ve been finishing off a couple of outstanding jobs, mostly electronic edits, and I’ve been doing this new work as it’s come in.

The faint-hearted may wish to look away now …

As of today I have:

  • one more set of electronic edits to complete
  • some authors to re-email
  • 2 books to send to the typesetter (I won’t wait now for author responses as there’re hardly any changes)
  • an update to send to lovely already boss
  • a new project to collate and start editing
  • the gig list to update
  • more jobs to look for and pitch for

And that’s just work. At home we have:

  • Christmas shopping (for gifts)
  • wrapping of said gifts
  • mince pies to bake
  • festive biscuits (cookies) to bake
  • a yule log to bake and ice
  • the Christmas cake to ice
  • the Santa run to Birmingham
  • Santa run to Leicester
  • a Santa run to Doncaster
  • Christmas grocery shopping to do
  • Christmas dinner to cook (and eat)

But wait, there’s more. We have a social life too:

  • yesterday we went to see Roy Wood at Holmfirth Picturedrome
  • on Saturday we go to Wolverhampton Civic Hall to see Thunder
  • (Saturday night/Sunday morning we incorporate the Santa run to the Midlands)
  • Christmas Day on our own
  • Boxing Day we go to see some friends of ours play their last ever gig in their band
  • at the end of the week we hope to nip to London

This has to be my busiest Christmas schedule in a long while. Fortunately we have 2 weeks’ holiday, although with one of the jobs I’m about to start I’ll probably have a bit of a dabble in that too, as and when.

Roy Wood was absolutely fantastic, he really was. I’ve known the man all my life but never managed to see him, and we nearly didn’t this time either, as they sold out of tickets very quickly. The poet, though, bless him, made a special trip to Holmfirth yesterday to see if any tickets had been returned – and they had. And so we did go to the ball after all.

We also wanted to see the support band, Slyde Alive, as a few of our friends are in that band. We got drenched as the average rainfall for a whole year descended on Holmfirth in the half-hour we were walking from the car to the venue. But we had a really good time, met up with some friends, and are determined to go again next year.

Thunder is a Christmas present to the 2 of us from the gig buddy and her bloke. It will give us the opportunity to also visit my family in the Midlands, and we’re staying with my parents Saturday night. Sunday morning it’s off to my sister’s before heading back.

We’ll pop over to Doncaster to see the poet’s family, but our first Christmas together is going to be a quiet time.

I probably won’t get chance to post again, so tell me what your plans are over the festive period and then make sure you have a goodun.

Happy Christmas! 🙂

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?

Catch up

This week has mostly been about catching up after having to restore the factory settings on my pc the other week. Fortunately I’d done most of the hard copy work, but some of the recent electronic work had been lost in the system restore. All of that work has now been caught up on and I’m taking new work in again and pitching for jobs.

I’ve caught up with the walks report, which was several weeks’ worth, got that written and submitted to 6 local newspapers. I also had to sort out 2 photographs with captions/credits and I’m hoping the 2 newspapers who have asked for them will both use a different picture.

I managed to keep on top of the gig list, although I didn’t update that until yesterday. Gigs are now coming in for December so that will be my big job on there next week – uploading December.

Altogether I’ve pitched for 14 editing or proofreading jobs this week and 1 writing job. I’ll also have shifted 2 books by the end of today and let lovely already boss know I’m now up to date and ready for more books to edit.

The blog only got posted on Monday (and today), but that’s mainly because I didn’t have the laptop switched on. Much of Wednesday was spent completing forms I’ve already completed but that have been lost at the other end. I hope they don’t get lost again, it takes a lot of time and I don’t get paid for that.

Today, then, I’m finalising the electronic edits on those books and getting them sent back to the respective authors and off to typesetting.

We’re having a lazy evening tonight, entertaining tomorrow afternoon, we have a gig tomorrow night, and we’re off to Brum on Sunday to see the parents.

Have a great weekend.

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Things can only get better

calke park aug 10 008
Deer at Calke Abbey park, August 2008. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

After the week I had last week, things really could only get better. And, so far, they do seem to have done just that.

I did think it would be quite simple once I’d restored factory settings to the pc and then uploaded my critical data again. But I’ve also had to install all of my programs again plus printer drivers (and other so-called plug-in-and-play hardware), and, as it happened, both internet browsers. And then my webmail wouldn’t let me in on the pc, though it would let me in on the mobile phone, so I had to sort that as well.

BUT … it’s all done now and everything seems to be running properly and quickly again – touch wood.

I’m still incredibly busy. I’ve had to catch up on all the online and electronic work I couldn’t do, and some of it I had to do again as the latest versions had simply got lost. But I have good support now, i.e. someone to cook tea and see to the animals if I’m working, so I’m getting there.

This week, then, so far, I’ve delivered 2 books, either in their entirety or bits I still had to do. The fiction is with the author, to answer questions and check copy; the non-fiction has been picked up by the client for the last few little bits, but I will see the final pdf for signing off.

I have another non-fiction I need to submit once I’ve done the author amendments and two more that I’ve already started.

I’ve also updated the gig list this week, but I’ve not been on the job boards and I’ve only managed a couple of days on NaNoWriMo. This will change today, though, as I really, really am itching to do some writing, and I’m definitely off to the NaNo write-in in Leeds on Saturday. We also have a gig on Friday night and possible visiting and walking to do over the weekend if we can fit it in.

I don’t think I’ll be on here again before the weekend, so have a good one, and hopefully all will be back on track by next Monday.

Today’s picture was taken a few years ago when I visited Calke Abbey. I think we need to go again and take the dog this time. 🙂

A mare of a week

I have had a mare of a week. Best laid plans and all of that have all been taken over by work, bureaucracy, technology.

Last Friday I should have started NaNoWriMo but instead I got embroiled in workload and ran out of time. We also had a lovely wedding to go to and that took up much of the day.

On Saturday I should have gone to the first NaNo write-in for November 2013 in Leeds, but I totally forgot about it. NaNoWriMo 2013, therefore, still has yet to start for me, mostly because I’ve been trying to do one job that should only take a few days and has actually taken all week.

On Tuesday, an eco-exhibition took out most of the day, but it gave me a chance to practice a little networking, and I got to see the poet during a school day. 😉

I’ve been on the phone to every single nincompoop on the planet who have been asking for forms I’ve already sent or asking me to do things I’ve already done or insisting I pay things I’ve already paid.

And finally, the cherry on the cake was when my internet fell over – again.

I was on the phone to my supplier faster than a fast thing having a right go at them – again. And after several hours, 2 phone calls, being cut off once, and arguing with the script-reading idiot at the other end that no, I really didn’t have the button they were insisting I press, it turned out it wasn’t them!

Oh dear.

Still, at least it gave me the chance to set up my new broadband router …

It turned out my laptop had totally lost its internet connection ability. I couldn’t work out what was wrong, and when I tried to do a system restore, a massive malware thing popped up, blocked it, and stopped me doing any further system restores.

There was nothing for it, I had to do a factory reset … (gulp!)

Cue several hours of backing up critical data – I don’t have a memory stick big enough to do a full backup, but so long as my data is there I don’t care about that – and then the major, major trauma of doing the full factory reset.

It was scary, but I made it through … and now I have a nice, shiny clean laptop again … with hardly anything on it.

I installed a new virus checker and the first thing it clanged bells over was a bagel worm instantly zapped.

Once all of that was done, I started to re-install Office and various browsers (I use Chrome but like Explorer for backup) and today my Chrome fell over and I had to re-install that!

I also had to get onto various clients to let them know that while the work has been done, or is being done, I couldn’t email anything to anyone and I couldn’t work remotely with one of them. They were very understanding and said it was okay to invoice anyway, hard copy (hurrah!), and to let them know as soon as I’m back up and running.

Well, I’m back up and running now and I’m very, very busy.

Aside from all of the above, plus the gig list that I’ve already done, I still have the following to catch up on:

  • a historical novel to complete the electronic edits on, send to the author, and upload to the FTP
  • one non-fiction to cross-check the index and add a few missing details to (dedication page, couple of picture captions)
  • author revisions on another non-fiction, then get that sent for typesetting
  • two more non-fictions to print off and start editing
  • an article to write and pictures to source
  • NaNoWriMo x 8 days to catch up on …
  • job boards to surf and jobs to bid for

I’d best crack on …

It’s Armistice Day on Sunday. Enjoy the poppies. This is a picture I’ve had on my hard drive for a very long time and I have no idea where it came from. If you recognise it, please let me know so I can contact the copyright owner. Thank you.

flanders poppy

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.