Statistics

ATT_1435307807443_20150626_093247
The poet hates gardening, but his hanging baskets are thriving at the moment.

So I was still feeling a bit sorry for myself when the poet started to spout statistics at me, reminding me that in order to win it, you need first to be in it. He pointed out that as I’ve been so busy editing and proofreading other people’s work I’ve not really had much time to write any new work of my own, and all the stuff I’ve been submitting is stuff that was written a while ago – in the main.

When he started to ask me for figures, I decided to check my record. And he’s right. Not only have I not been writing very much new material recently, I’ve also not really been submitting very much either.

When I checked my record of submissions, I worked out that in the past 24-month period I’ve actually had a success rate of 26.6%. Some were fillers written and submitted on the spot, and pretty much instantly accepted; some were older stories still doing the rounds, although there are also 3 brand new stories in there since January of this year. I did it over 24 months because, as he says, I’ve hardly submitted anything recently so that’s the latest I have to go on.

I suppose, then, that 27% isn’t really a very poor return. It’s more than a quarter. But I am keen to change the ratio of work in favour of my own in the coming months.

Back on the wagon, then …

We went fishing on Wednesday evening. The poet had a chance to join a match and we’d already spent several hours there on Saturday in quite pleasant surroundings so I wasn’t adverse to doing the same again. I took some work with me, and some reading, and we both actually had quite a successful time. I managed to write a 50-word flash-fiction story and almost 700 words of stream of consciousness; he just missed out on a prize by coming 5th – not bad when he was up against around a dozen anglers who regularly fish the lake.

It wasn’t a flash in the pan either, or not so far. Yesterday I ticked all of the jobs on my list and in the middle of it all managed:

  • 677 words on CATCH THE RAINBOW
  • an hour of study work (fiction writing course)
  • 21 hard copy pages edited

Today I sneak in a swift editing job – just one chapter revisited of a book I edited last week – and hope to do more work on CATCH THE RAINBOW. And all those books on the Kindle? Weeded down to:

  • 5 mystery magazines – 2 x Ellery Queen; 2 x Alfred Hitchcock; 1 x Sherlock Holmes (market study)
  • 7 how-to-write books, complete with exercises (kick up the bum + exercising the writing muscle)
  • 3 collections of short stories – Arthur Conan Doyle; Teresa Ashby; Della Galton (market study)
  • 1 non-fiction book on the IRA (research)
  • 3 novels – Peter May; Robert Tressell; Jack Higgins (R, R & R – rest, relaxation & research)

I’ve just added another freebie on habits, but I’ve not looked yet to see if it’s a keeper, a saver or a deleter. But there’s plenty for me to dip into there, and the how-to-writes and the fiction writing course are keeping the ideas coming.

What’s on your Kindle/TBR pile this weekend? Y’all have a goodun!

Famous last words ( *** list alert ***)

ahmmSo on Monday I bragged about us both shaking off our colds … and then yesterday I was hit by a relapse that completely knocked me out and back into bed. Talk about famous last words.

I’m still not right today, but the time in bed gave me lots of navel-gazing opportunity in a bid to banish those crows of doubt that have been circling recently.

I think I’ve given myself the kick up the bum I needed, but time will tell. But there’s no diary of a scaredy cat this week as, well, I’ve not done a lot …

… other than the following:

  • bought 3 new magazines (digital versions) I’ve always wanted to target with short fiction (including the one in the picture) – market study
  • loaded older versions of previously bought same magazines (all to Kindle Home) – market study
  • loaded previously bought collections of short stories by Della Galton and Teresa Ashby to Kindle Home (1 each) – market study
  • loaded a total of 18 how-to-write books to Kindle Home for browsing and dipping into
  • loaded a further book to Kindle Home on getting organised, 1 on habit-forming, and another 2 for idea-brainstorming (I do love my Kindle …)
  • researched and bookmarked 22 websites that buy short material from freelance writers
  • subscribed to Duotrope
  • submitted 2 short stories to UK markets this morning
  • submitted 3 short stories to Duotrope listings this morning

I’m also aiming at splitting the diary into:

  • am – my writing work (including market study/research)
  • pm – editing/proofreading work (including surfing job boards and other work-finding and administration activities)

More bed-based work yesterday included synchronising all the bookmarks on all of my wi-fi devices so that I don’t have to keep sending myself links. And I did a lot of reading.

I need to concentrate on my own writing again, whether that be novels, books, articles, short stories or fillers. I’m less likely to spend much time on article-writing, unless it’s a reader’s true experience (RTE) I can rattle off or something I don’t need to personally research very much.

And I need an injection of confidence.

And the opposite of a lazy pill …

How do you kick yourself up the bum to get you working again?

A write-off

IMG_2309
Falls of Falloch, Loch Lomond (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Not anything in particular, like a car or something like that. But the week. This week has pretty much been a write-off.

Well, it started very well, with me getting through lots and lots of work on Monday. I did everything on my list. Monday was a Very Good day.

So was Tuesday. On Tuesday I had my first jolly-day in a long, long time. And it was good and interesting and inspiring and motivating, and all the things a jolly-day should be. However, I was exhausted Tuesday evening, following some slightly stressy driving on 2 new motorways I’m not used to at fairly busy times, but it was another good day.

On Wednesday, the entire morning was spent changing contact details with a lot of finance people – and there are still a few left (tax office, pension company) – the DVLA, and other bitty places, like loyalty card details in stores. I also changed the name from Parkin to Wordsworth with Microsoft as my tracked changes were still coming up by Diane Parkin. And I sorted out my Outlook to receive emails from the new email address. I’m getting far too much spam on the new address and I don’t know (a) how that happened so quickly, and (b) why the spam filters aren’t picking them up and spitting them out. That’s something I still need to look into.

Wednesday afternoon it all started to go downhill. I’d had nagging “shivers” since Sunday, I’d been shattered Tuesday evening, and now a nagging “bit of a throat” was starting to creep in. And with the poet already fending off tonsillitis, what’s the betting he’d shared his germs with me – as ever? (He’s so generous.) I packed up work early and went to the garden centre to get bedding plants, canes, a nozzle for the hose, compost, a new toy for the dog and some herbs. When the poet got home he planted everything up (he hates gardening …) while I made tea.

When I woke up on Thursday I was ordered to stay in bed – I must have looked awful. So I did. And that was Thursday, pretty much, apart from a FB conversation with a friend helping her to pop her Kindle cherry. After a day’s work, the poet came home and did all of my chores before doing some of his own. He emptied the dishwasher and filled it up again, fetched washing in from the line and put it all away, and he did the poo patrol. Then he cut the grass, watered the plants, and made tea. (Did I mention he hates gardening?) He also did the gig list. By the end of the evening he was exhausted too!

But there went pretty much the rest of this week’s best-laid plans. I have time this morning to catch up on a few computer-related things, and the diary (hurrah!), but this afternoon I’m at the dentist (boo!), at the hairdresser, and then we have this week’s shopping to do as we didn’t go last night.

I am feeling better, though, so maybe the rest did me some good. We’ve both still got niggles, but we’re better than we were.

Over the weekend we have Barnsley Live that we’re thinking of tomorrow, or we may get bundled up and I’ll sit in the car while he sits on a water bank fishing. But there’s rain forecast, so we haven’t decided yet. Sunday is Father’s Day, so we’re off to see both of our fathers.

Hopefully next week will be better. Have a great weekend.

Lovely flowers

20150112_110815The weekend wasn’t totally diddly squat, but it was nice and re-energising all the same.

On Friday we did nothing. I’d popped out and bought some goodies for tea and for snacking and we caught up on the first series of Broadchurch (the poet hadn’t seen it) and watched the first episode of the new series. Then while I finished off a hard-copy editing job I’d been unable to do as I’d been running around, the poet caught up on last week’s Silent Witness (he’d been in Germany).

On Saturday we had a lazy lie-in but while we were making a late breakfast, a phone call came in from son #2 asking if he and his girlfriend could come and see us. Of course they could, and they got here mid-afternoon after we had a mad tidying frenzy. We hadn’t been able to see them on Christmas Day so they brought us our Christmas pressies, and some lovely flowers with a house-warming card.

They loved the place and can’t wait to come and visit again, and it was nice to see them. When they went we continued with our chilling and had another lazy evening in front of the television.

Much of Sunday was spent reading. I was reading on my Kindle, the poet was reading how to use his new camera. He’s learning it all in manual first so he knows and appreciates what auto does for him. He’s practising taking pictures too and can hardly wait for his telephoto lens to arrive. Before he gets any photography software for manipulation, he’s also going to learn how to take great pictures before learning how to tweak things that aren’t quite right.

We did pop out to do some shopping – pet shop (dog food and garden bird food) and supermarket – and he made us a gorgeous pork dinner. Then he put up another shelf, and we spent another evening in front of the telly. We’re so bone idle.

But it was a lovely weekend of nothingness (apart from our visitors) and I think it did us good. He’s off to Scotland again at the end of this week, but it shouldn’t be so tiring as flying to Germany and coming home via security-heightened railway stations in England.

Today, then, I have the electronic edits to do on the book I finished Friday evening, and the next job is that one from the Spanish client. I’d like to shift a lot of work today as we have carpet fitters coming tomorrow and I have another appointment on Wednesday. I’ll also be taxi-driver for the poet on Thursday and Friday, and it all eats into the working week.

What are you up to this week?