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)


  • blog (3 times)
  • walks report
  • diary work
  • invoices
  • weekly gig list update


  • 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! 🙂

Not a do diddle day today

02 whitby

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.

January review (list alert)

blog thumbnailIt’s been a busy week and today is the first time since Monday I’ve fired up the pc again. I meant to come on yesterday, but the day just disappeared beneath a pile of work. It’s been another week of proof-reading, and still is.

But I’ve also managed to do quite a lot of bitty things in between that usually get left, like empty the recycle bins or take the rubbish out or empty the washing basket (and, thus, fill up the ironing basket … ah well).

So, with such big expectations at the start of the year, how am I doing so far?

January started quite well, but I need to do a proper to-do list on a month-by-month basis. I was busy or suffering for most of the month, or wasting time gazing at the lovely snow. I’ve updated the blog, proof-read or edited 5 books, been to 2 gigs (including one birthday party), submitted 2 walks reports, and attended one write-in.

I’ve repaired a bird table, had 2 appointments in town, been to Birmingham twice and had a Do Diddle Day.

Apart from a few outlines and tidying up the WIP book, I’ve done NO writing.

Here’s the tick (or not) list:


  1. Surf job boards daily (x 2) 
  2. Bid for at least one job per day 
  3. Allocate 2 hours every work day to WRITING 
  4. Free-write for first 15 minutes of each writing session 
  5. Write walks report for local papers weekly √ and ×
  6. Draft walks reports for longer walks for possible submission to walking mag(s)  ×
  7. Write 2 novels at least to 1st draft by year end (ongoing)
  8. Write 1st three stories of themed 14-story anthology by year end (4,000 words each) (ongoing)
  9. Write 1 story per month for fave story market ×
  10. Write enough stories suitable for Twee Tales Two – 6 more – by year end (ongoing)
  11. Write 1 filler or reader’s letter per month ×
  12. Write 1 article or RTE (reader’s true experience) per month ×
  13. Complete interviews for non-fiction #1 by end of March (ongoing)
  14. Write non-fiction #1 by end of June (ongoing)
  15. Try and win at least 1 book per week to edit or proof-read √ and ×
  16. Write at least 1,000 words per day across all writing projects 


  1. Enter daily competitions daily 
  2. Walk dog daily – 30 minutes minimum weekdays; 1 hour minimum weekends and holidays 
  3. Update gig list weekly 
  4. Update diary weekly (FAVE activity) 
  5. Raise invoices weekly 
  6. Filing daily ×
  7. Shredding daily ×
  8. Bake weekly ×
  9. Visit parents fortnightly 
  10. Increase morning yoga to 30 minutes daily ×
  11. Build up to 2 high-energy workouts per week ×
  12. Drop at least a dress size by end of June (ongoing)
  13. Stop eating junk regularly √ and ×
  14. Walk 1 < 5-mile walk per month ×
  15. Ensure I always do diddley squat on my monthly do diddle day 
  16. Save up for a holidays and days out … 😉 ×


  1. Attend Leeds write-in at least once a fortnight √ and ×

Hmm, still needs work. Watch this space.

Writing bag

Yesterday was another busy day.

Despite reminding myself, I still almost forgot to fetch the washing in, so it was quite damp and had to go on the clothes horse. Most of that will go away today now.

I sat down with my writing WIP notebook and planned out all of the various drafts and stages for all of my short material: outline; draft 1; #2; #3; edit & submit. Then I opened a page for JANUARY and listed all of the jobs I have to do (proof-reading, writing, editing) or have already done in January along with what they’re worth. There’s space for admin work, such as meetings or invoices, and another space for research for future stories and articles or research visits for events or places of interest or walks I may want to write about in the future.

Plotting it all out like this gives me a tickable list (and we all know how much I love those), and it sets it all out so I can see exactly where I am and how much more work I need to get in for January.

Thankfully I don’t need any more work for January. 😉

I managed more than 1,300 words altogether, over all projects, and I packed a writing bag.

This writing bag is a gorgeous red soft leather shoulder briefcase I bought for work a long time ago. I decided that it’s too extravagant to hide away in the bottom of a wardrobe. So now it has all of my current writing projects in:

  • Catch the Rainbow
  • We Also Served
  • fave market current guidelines and current story
  • current long short story (Ace of Wands)
  • daily freewriting exercises (A Writer’s Book of Days + notebook)

It also contains:

  • Devon’s 5 (Stories) in 10 (Weeks)
  • A5 desk diary day-to-a-page
  • A5 writing journal (day-to-a-page diary)
  • WIP notebook
  • 2 x WIP shorthand notebooks (1 for outlines; 1 for 1st drafts)
  • ideas notebook
  • A4 notebook (for 2nd drafts)
  • daily food and exercise trackers
  • pencil tin
  • 12″ wooden ruler
  • handypack of tissues
  • chapstick
  • Kindle

The bag’s quite packed and a little heavy, but it’s a shoulder bag so easy to carry around and it stays with me for pretty much all of the time. Yes, it even comes to bed with me (in case I wake in the night with something burning to be written). I’ve used a few bags in my time, but this is the only one I can fit everything in. I need another for the proof-reading and editing projects …

What would you keep in your writing bag?

Rufus woke me at 4:30am coughing (he was fine) and I gave up trying to go back to sleep at about 8am. So I got up, did my yoga, had breakfast, managed a couple of hours work … and went back to bed again … The joys of working from home.

Today I’ve checked the jobs boards, entered the daily competitions and put another washload through. It was far too cold to hang any out this morning. It’s bitter out there. So once the clothes horse has been emptied, I’ll be filling it again.

I have a proof-reading job I want to shift today, I still have some of my daily writing to do and there’s a dog to walk. And a bonus email arrived saying another proof-reading job was in the post.

Happy days. 🙂

Back on target

My daily target, writing-wise, is at least 1,000 words per day over all projects. Last week was quite up and down but looked like this:

  • Tuesday = 977 words
  • Wednesday = 1,127 words
  • Thursday = 1,041 words
  • Friday = 321 words
  • Saturday = 325 words
  • Sunday = 1,067 words

For my first week of the year, of a potential 6,000 words, I managed 4,858. I suppose that’s not too bad considering I spent 3 days in bed. Even so …

This week is going a lot better with 1,107 words on Monday, 1,650 words on Tuesday and 606 words so far today. As this week is a 7-day week, my target this time is 7,000 words.

We shall see.

I finished the proof-corrections for Baggins Bottom Best Bits and ordered a new version. As soon as that comes and I’ve checked it, off it’ll go to Jackie.

The dog also got his first proper walk in a few days yesterday, and I did the shopping on the way back as I’ve not done a proper shop since before Christmas.

When I got home I settled in front of the telly for the next 5 hours, a real slobfest, but was disturbed twice during the night, first with a nightmare and then Rufus wanting out at stupid o’clock. If I have just one more nightmare, the dreamcatcher’s coming out of the spare room and into my room.

Despite then sleeping in, however, I managed to hang some washing out this morning before settling down to a few hours of work. (Note to self: Go and fetch it in …)

I still have lots to do today, but was happy to spend some time with Ace of Wands earlier. I’ve been doing some character work for this long short story and they’re starting to come to life.

There are a few jobs on my watch list at the moment, but I’m not bidding for any because they all want them doing now and I’m busy just now, and for the next 2 weeks at least. If newly promised work continues to come in, I’ll also be busy until mid-February. But I’ve learned, the hard way, not to rely on promised work. I’ll clear the current decks and then see what’s still going before applying for any. I’ve also learned not to have a too-full in-tray, although an empty in-tray is to be avoided at all costs.

Here’s what I already have in or am already working on:

  • crime novel to proof-read
  • non-fiction to proof-read
  • historical novel to edit
  • historical novel to proof-read

And here’s what’s promised:

  • 7 fan-fictions to proof-read

My own job list for the month of January also consists of:

  • write 13,834 words for Catch the Rainbow (3,336 words per week)
  • write 1,400-word short story for fave market
  • write 4,000-word story Ace of Wands
  • arrange interviews for We Also Served
  • write sample first chapter for We Also Served

That’s a total monthly word count of 19,234.