Diary of a freelance writer, 16 December 2015

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Fishguard – see Tuesday’s entry (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

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.

Wednesday
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
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.

Friday
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 …

Weekend
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.

Monday
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 …

Tuesday
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. 🙂

Looking ahead
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?

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.

Not a do diddle day today

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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.

Cricket

cricket 08At the weekend I popped my cricket cherry. I do like to listen to cricket with a commentary, but watching it and trying to work out what is going on … well, it’s not football (soccer) is it? So I tend to watch it on the telly or listen to it on the radio. And yes, I do think it gets quite exciting.

So when a friend offered to be my cricket buddy and my commentary, and to explain the rules, I jumped at a run out to the seaside (as well!) and we chose the best day for weather. I wore a floppy sun hat all day, but still caught the sun on my face, and quite a bit on my arms.

“Our” team didn’t win, but only by one … but it was a nice day anyway. And yes, it did get exciting.

Saturday was all about visiting the parents. I nearly went out Saturday night too, but decided to stay in with Rufus as we were leaving him behind (with a neighbour!) the next day. And Friday was all about socialising and nice music. I’ve certainly been more social just lately.

Today, then, it’s back to work. And while I’d normally do a to-do list for the month on the first of the month, I’ve decided not to this time. My diary is packed full (and has met my new weekly income target) for the next 2 weeks and I want to see what else comes in before completing the rest of the diary. I have plenty of work to do of my own, but I need to hit that income target every week first.

I had to do some admin and speak to the energy company about a new tariff. It’s dinner (lunch) time now, though, and then I’ll be editing the historical novel and writing the steampunk for CampNaNo. I also have the walks report to write and submit (I’ve had 2 lots of figures this week, plus we have a new programme to the end of the year), and the regular daily competitions and job board surf.

Tomorrow I have a meeting in town, but work-wise, it will be more of the same.

Clipped wings

Maybe the Universe couldn’t manage the nice weather I ordered for my research trip. Maybe that’s why my car broke down and I couldn’t go. It’s horrible being grounded, though, and nowhere near any rail stations. I feel as though my wings have been clipped. The weather anyway, for the midsummer weekend and super moon, was atrocious. Blustery showers and grey skies the whole time.

The diary that I ordered on Thursday was here on Friday. That’s quite good going considering they only charged me £1.50 for 3 – 5 days delivery (apx $2.30). Next day delivery would have cost me a lot more, and I got it anyway. Friday evening I had a lovely time acquainting myself with the new diary.

When the post came in on Friday and on Saturday, I touched it once, and shredded or binned it straight away. I had some money-off vouchers come from Tesco, more than £5-worth (apx $7.75), and those went straight into my purse.

When I went through the pile of post last Monday, I had to throw 3 lots of money-off vouchers away – 2 from Tesco and 1 from Boots – because they’d expired, and some only the day before. Those were probably worth about £15 (apx $23), and all for things that I buy anyway. This was one of my motivations for touching it once in future. (Although I did manage to save some coupons, £3-worth for the Co-op – apx $4.60 – and 60p-worth plus extra points for Boots.)

On Saturday I did some baking. I made a Quiche Lorraine and a plum crumble – yes, I’m hard enough to make a plum crumble … Sorry. Ahem … I walked the dog up to the Co-op to get some odds and ends, I took a rucksack so I could carry it home and still have my hands free for the dog. And I took the rest of the day off. I faffed, played games, caught up on old NCIS episodes and generally dossed, and baked.

I’ve started to do a big shop at Tesco just once sometimes twice a month, getting all the tinned, bottled and other heavy stuff, and then filling-in in between on a weekly basis, usually locally. It’s working out quite a bit cheaper, approximately £40 – £45 a month (apx $75), and I’m throwing even less food away.

On Sunday I had an idle lie-in and faffed some more. Then I knuckled down to some more baking (choc chip muffins), housework and then some writing work. I picked up 5 books on Kindle for just over £6 (apx $9.30) to read up on a potential new genre. When I wasn’t reading I was watching telly, but just for an hour. I would have liked to have gone out, but my wings had been clipped … I do miss my car.

When I get the car back I’ve discovered I can get to Leeds for the Saturday afternoon write-ins a bit quicker and a bit cheaper just by going to a different railway station. It’s not in a nice area, so I’d need to look at the car park security, etc. But if it saves me nearly £3 (apx $4.60) and about 20 minutes each way, it might be worth considering. It means the dog won’t be left so long on his own too.

This week, then, I have a new historical novel to edit, the walks report to write and submit, the daily comps to enter, job boards to surf daily, a well-woman clinic to attend, the gig list to upload for July (July already, sheesh!), a do diddle day, a book to write, diary work, invoices to raise, a trip to Birmingham, and – hopefully – a research trip to Derbyshire (weather and car permitting). Then I change to my new diary.

What are your plans for the week?

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A chat with the Universe

Oh my goodness. I know it’s been a while but this whole interface has changed. It definitely wasn’t like this on Friday. I wonder why this happens. And I wonder why they can’t leave anything alone.

Anyway, Saturday was a very busy day in that I didn’t even surface for air. I surrounded myself with my diary, with my dates dictionaries, with my folklore calendar, with article-writing textbooks, with notebooks, the lot. And I sat down and I planned for England.

I had a really productive day and I created a schedule whereby, for example, right now (June) I should be “thinking” December, “querying” November, and “writing” October.

Then I went through the diaries and the almanacs to see what’s happening in those 3 months.

I’ve identified some upcoming anniversaries that interest me and that I hope I may be able to interest a magazine editor or 3 in as well.

I’ve identified some October and November topics I can write some speculative fiction for.

And I identified some imminent annual events locally that I can attend and photograph now, research after, and query in December in time for next year when they come around again.

I also decided on which subjects to initially specialise in and honed my list to incorporate as many anniversaries and events that come under those subjects (traditions & customs and great days out).

Yes, folks, the freelancing hat is back on and I’m hoping to get back into it with a vengeance.

Then I went through all of my outstanding WiP – short stories, RTEs, fillers – to see what can be finished now and submitted, and what can be slotted in for completion to the WiP file.

I also filled the diary and noted when I have some holes in the workload. Some of those holes can be plugged immediately with some work someone has specifically been waiting for but that won’t earn me any dosh just yet, so it was a low priority. However, it should earn me a nice crust at some point and I need to invest some time in that.

For the rest, I did some Cosmic Ordering, and I had a jolly good chat with the Universe about new work and people who owe me money.

Yesterday was a day off as it was Father’s Day and I was down in Birmingham with the dog.

Today I was up and at ’em and raring to go and I started a brand new job that should only take me a couple of days.

I fielded 4 telephone calls – four! I don’t normally get that many in a whole week let alone a day, and a single morning at that. And I received 2 very nice emails. One was informing me that a payment only authorised last week has been released, that should hit my bank account tomorrow. The other was asking if I’d like another editing job …

Remember that jolly good chat with the Universe? Well, case rests, mi’lud.

This evening I have some admin to do. I have this heap big massive pile of post and I know there are at least 2 forms in there I need to complete quite urgently. I keep trying to keep on top of the post pile, but it takes over every single time. I need to learn the touch-it-once principle, I really do.

I have a book to proofread, a book to edit and a book to start writing. I also have a walks report to write and submit plus whatever other writing WiP I can fit in this week. Yup, that’s this week’s to-do list …

This week is nicely full and on Sunday, weather permitting, I’m off for a ride around some of those imminent local annual events armed with my camera and my dog. I’ve ordered nice weather too, so I can take lots of lovely pictures. Let’s hope the Universe continues to be so accommodating.

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