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?

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Didn’t really do diddley squat yesterday

The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
The lovely little cottage where we stayed. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I didn’t really have a Do Diddle Day yesterday. I set the Do Diddle posts to publish automatically and it was about 11pm on Wednesday night when I remembered I hadn’t cancelled the post on the blog. It’s a nice picture, though, so I decided to leave it – and hopefully no one would try to contact me.

I had a busy week this week. I have a wonderful new business manager (who also happens to be the poet) and he worked out a proper pricing module for me. This has made it so much easier to bid for work, and quicker too, so saving time that isn’t actually paid for.

It turns out that I’ve been charging roughly half what I should be charging minimum for proofreading, and about a fifth of what I should be charging minimum for editing. This is based on the average time it takes me to edit or proofread 1,000 words or a page.

Unfortunately, people don’t seem to want to pay the going rate for anything and want to get everything as cheaply as possible, and even free. Sadly, that doesn’t pay my mortgage nor buy my groceries.

This week I bid for 14 jobs at the old rate, and now I’m hoping everyone declines me, because now I see why I seem to be working all hours yet totally skint. Yesterday I bid for 6 jobs at the new rate. Today I hope to bid for a few more. Time will tell if maybe I’m just not working fast enough.

I’ve had a new edit come in this week and another revision on an old edit. I’ve also been promised a new edit. The non-fiction edits actually come well within my new pricing module. The fiction edits, unfortunately, are coming well outside. I seem to spend more time on the fiction, yet I get paid less for it. I’ll have to think very carefully when another new edit comes in.

The non-fiction regular work is fine. I have one lot of revisions, one new book and one on the way. The fiction regular work is less fine. I have one lot of revisions in and one new book. I won’t be chasing for work there in future, but I will still have to consider it if I have nothing else in.

Because of the new pricing module, I’ve had to increase hours worked on paid stuff and decrease hours worked on my own stuff. If I want to do my own stuff, I need to get up earlier. This work will generate income at some point, but it is still speculative and I can’t guarantee how much I’ll be paid or when I’ll see it.

I still have a lot of navel gazing to do, clearly.

I also updated the gig list this week for October and I’ve done usual admin work.

I’m not sure yet if I’m going to the Leeds write-in tomorrow. I may prefer to spend the travel time actually writing now I can’t justify writing during my working week. I do have 2 gigs this weekend, though – one on Saturday and one on Sunday, both in Doncaster.

Today’s picture is of the lovely little cottage where we stayed when we went to Dent.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, have a good one.

Grammar Nazi At Work

Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yes, I’m a bit of a grammar nazi. But I try not to bandy it about too much as not everyone is as bothered as I am about quality, standard or consistency – or just plain being correct. So with emails, texts and social media, I tend to just ignore mistakes, typos and general bone idleness.

However, when it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I’m slightly torn. I’m annoyed too when it’s promotional literature that a client has paid for – surely if they’re paying a professional rate, they should get a professional job. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned like that.

For example, if I see a poster on, say, Facebook, that has anything to do with a campaign or something else I have a lot of interest in, I tend to share it with everyone on my list. But if that poster has any grammatical errors on, I just like it and move on.

When it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I really do want to share it … but if there are grammatical or spelling errors … I tell them.

This happened this morning on FB, and I won’t name the organisation as they fixed it as soon as I sent them a private, friendly (I hope) message. Within minutes there was a new poster available that I felt more able to share.

So, today’s question is this: Would you tell them or would you let it go?

Navel gazing
I’ve had a bit of a navel-gazing week. I wasn’t very well on Monday still, following our little flu epidemic last week, and yesterday I just couldn’t get on with much work beyond mechanical-type stuff. I didn’t know what the problem was until I received a phone call from one of my lovely bosses, as I had plenty of work in. But the problem turned out to be, I didn’t want to do it (for various reasons I won’t go into here); I wanted to work for lovely boss.

So we had a chat and he does have plenty of work for me, and this has given me light at the end of the tunnel, if you like. Now that I know I don’t just have this work in I really don’t want to do, but I have more, more enjoyable work on the horizon, I was able to find my mojo again.

Writing bag
I started by upgrading my writing bag to one I can fit the editing/proofreading folder in as well.

I’ve added my Teeline Shorthand for Journalists course to the bag and intend to work on this for at least an hour a day.

The current novel is in the bag – The Beast Within: A Marcie Craig Mystery.

My Kindle is in there, with a few reference books for writing I have open, a collection of stories from Arthur Conan Doyle, and a novel.

I have a journalism workbook in there too, and all of the current short writing work in progress, plus all of my various notepads and a pencil tin.

Current WiP
Today I’m editing a book and tweaking another. I’ve already updated the gig list for the week. Tomorrow I’m in Birmingham to see to a few things with my parents.

Today’s picture
While we were on holiday in Dentdale, we also ventured over to the Lake District. There are osprey at Bassenthwaite, and from the RSPB viewing platform up on the hillside we had a very good view of the adult male and the two juveniles – one male, one female. The adult female had already migrated about a week or so before we arrived.

In today’s picture, taken by the poet, you can see the lake and a bar of sand where the juveniles’ favourite perch is. We also watched the male juvenile have a go at a spot of fishing.

While there we also saw a jay, some finches and a beautiful red squirrel. I’ve never seen a red squirrel before, so that was a special treat for me.

Enjoy the view. 🙂