Facelift

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Blue tit. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Every year the blog gets a bit of a facelift, and the eagle-eyed may notice that it’s happened again. I hope you like it, but do welcome feedback. Please let me know what you think about the new layout, what you like about it and what you dislike about it. Ta muchly. 🙂

My normal week has been very, well, normal. And I’ve actually managed to get a good bit done. My editing output has slowed down a little, but my own writing has increased. This is going in the right direction, yes?

On Monday we did have a carpenter come to plane and rehang 6 doors, but he arrived early and was gone before dinnertime. The poet also had to drive over to Manchester and was quite surprised at the difference in weather on the “other side of hill”. On Tuesday I did have to go back and have one of my blood tests done again as they’d apparently lost it at the lab. But these are regular blood tests and they’ve not called me back yet … On Wednesday we had a terrific dump of snow, which was great for me, but the poet had to abandon another trip across the Pennines and go into the local office. There had also been an accident so he was very, very late. Yesterday he was back there again, and he’s gone again today. But apart from all of that, it’s been a relatively normal week.

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Blue tit. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve had a very productive week workwise.

On Monday I worked on Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 2 and I collated several lots of writers’ guidelines for potential pitching/submitting. On Tuesday I started to write a new book and managed almost 2,000 words and pretty much the book’s structure. On Wednesday I wrote another 1,400+ words for the new book and I electronically edited 30 pages of the current client job. On Thursday the blog had its facelift, and I also managed another 500 words (nearly) on the new book and another 15 pages on the client job. I’ve surfed the job boards as well this week, but nothing took my fancy.

Today, then, I want to finish the electronic edits and get that book sent back to the author for query responses. I’d also like to write a bit more of the book and see how close I can get to 5,000 words. At 4:15pm I have a hair appointment, so that means I finish work today at 3:30pm.

On Wednesday I received the news that we’re completing on the other house sale next Friday. That means this weekend we have to clear the garage of stuff we know is destined for either the tip or the charity shops and empty the loft over there and fetch anything back that we’re keeping. Apart from that I don’t think we have any other plans for this weekend, so we’ll, once again, suck it and see how we feel.

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Cheeky chops. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet may want to have a play with his new toy. Do you like it? It’s a dSLR camera and these wonderful blue tit shots were the first he ever took when his new zoom lens arrived.

He’s a little disappointed that they’re a bit blurred, but he’s already learned how to combat that and more examples will follow. They’re so lovely, though, I thought some of you may like to see them.

Have a great weekend.

Cosy home

This week, on the home front, we’ve had a garage door repair team out, a pair of carpet fitters in the house for a whole day, another carpet fitter delivering a room-size rug and making sure it fits, I’ve been to get routine blood tests and results (all normal), the poet has been to Stockport for one day and to Scotland for 2 days – the latter of which means taxi duties for me – the boiler packed up again so the gas man had to come and fix that – again – and we had to get 6 doors planed and rehung.

In between all of this I’ve edited 3 books and pitched for 10 new jobs. Oh yes, and we finally exchanged contracts on the other house.

Phew! It’s all go.

The weather here hasn’t been as bad as in other parts of the country, but it has been bitterly cold and incredibly windy – not good when the boiler packed up. We still had a fire and a hob, and there was hot water stored in the tank. But this is quite a draughty house (it’s its nature, being an old farm building dating back to 1628 – it’s a listed building too), so the cold nipped a bit. I had to put the fire on in the living room and work in there and, when the boiler was fixed, I left the heating on quite high overnight to warm everywhere up again.

This is a picture of His Lordship enjoying the fire.

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You can also see the rug we had made for this massive living room. We were torn between leaving the lovely stone flags exposed and in character, or covering them with a fitted carpet and making the place feel homely. So when they told us we couldn’t have our carpet of choice because the room was too big and they wouldn’t be able to join it, we asked them to make the rug instead. It’s almost 3m x 4m and still there’s lots of floor around the outside.

The picture above is also quite nice in that it represents both the poet and me. His is the guitar to the left, mine is the notebook, pencil and Kindle to the right. You can also see His Lordship’s basket. The hampers were Christmas presents that were left there during the holiday, and looked so nice we decided to keep them there.

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The picture to the left shows our 3rd landing and how we carried the carpet up the open plan stairs so that the 2 parts of the house are linked.

There’s a window to the left of Abbey Road, and we have curtains to match those in the living room too, which are the ones from the other house that the gig buddy made for me and has adapted to fit the new house for us. The spare bedroom and the bathroom are off this landing. Our bedroom and an airing cupboard are off the 2nd landing, the 1st landing is a turning point on the stairs.

The Abbey Road sign was a present to the poet from son #2 and was on the door of the office/studio at the last house.

Because we have 3 landings on the stairs, and because 10 of the stairs are open plan, this job took the carpet fitters considerably longer than a regular staircase would take. They were here all day, but they did the bedroom too (in a different carpet). It’s a busy carpet, but a cottagey one that we think fits in nicely.

So that’s part of what we’ve been up to and the week isn’t even over yet. We have runs to do at the weekend to both Doncaster and Birmingham. And I have electronic edits to complete before then.

What are you up to this weekend?

That Friday feeling

We’ve only been back at work for a week, but already that Friday feeling was quick to swoop in this morning. It’s been a fair week, though.

I’ve done quite a lot of new writing, which includes an outline for a new non-fiction book as well as 5 new articles started and one finished and submitted.

I’ve also been plodding through an editing job, and a new one came in yesterday too from who will now be known as the Spanish client. They gave me a lot of repeat work last year and I’m delighted they came back to me again this year.

And I caught up with the job board I use and pitched for 7 jobs, one of them invited.

Almost immediately the poet had to go off to Germany, via Switzerland, for a couple of days, so that ate into the week a bit. And I’ve been having routine appointments – I have another today. He was gone from Tuesday to Thursday, so taxi duties from Yours Truly were involved as well.

So he’s come up with a list of things to do at the weekend, and they mostly consist of … nothing. We had a bit of a busy Christmas, then we were back at work, and then he was off travelling. We don’t seem to have stood still, nor do we feel as though we had any holiday, even though we were both off for 2 weeks.

It’ll be a bit of a Do Diddle Weekend – does anyone remember Do Diddle Days? Not had one of those for a while. So we’ll play it by ear, see what we feel like when we get up, if we want to get up. We might do some pottering, we might hang curtains, we might do baking, we might go walking, we might go to the pictures. Or we might not.

Have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing with yours.

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Massive kick up the bum

After writing my diary of a scaredy cat on Wednesday, I was so disappointed that I’d made hardly any progress on my own work, that I gave myself a massive kick up the bum. And, as a result, this week has been very busy.

I’ve been working on Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 2 as well as looking at the electronic file for Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 1. I’ve been upping the marketing and self-promotion as well as beavering away at the paid bread and butter work already in. And I’ve been brushing up on my ebook formatting skills.

I’ve added a new book page to the blog, and updated the existing P&S page. I’ve changed the prices on my ebooks and republished them on Smashwords, to find there are a few sales in there I’ve not received royalties for yet. Here’s my Smashwords profile page.

Yesterday too, after a nice chat with lovely already boss, I have some new work in to start as soon as the current work is finished.

Also yesterday I changed the job-board surfing to just 2 slots per week instead of 1 slot per day, I pitched for 13 editing or proofreading jobs, and I raised my minimum rate threshold.

I feel so much better for sorting all of that and finally getting my finger out.

Today I have a poorly poet at home. He ate something dodgy on the train yesterday coming home and was up for most of the night. He’s not gone into work this morning, choosing instead to work from home, and is off to the doctor this afternoon.

NaNoWriMo starts again soon, so I’ll be preparing for that over the next few days.

What are you up to this weekend?

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Finally on top?

I was going to have a right proper rant about something today, but I can’t for the life of me think what it was about. Either my memory’s going or I’m mellowing – whichever, old age probably has a lot to do with it.

So, what have I been doing all week? Well, mostly I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself. The poet’s been working away in Scotland this week, including an evening at the Edinburgh fringe. And, aside from missing him, and having to cook my own teas, I wouldn’t have minded going to the Edinburgh fringe myself. He’s back now, for the bank holiday weekend. Then he goes again on Tuesday.

The week has generally been spent plodding through the work in progress, although I seem to have lost Tuesday entirely. I’ve worked on 2 non-fiction books this week, editing and revisions, and I’ve also pegged 24 jobs to pitch for, if they’re all still available. I didn’t have time to do a walks report, and I didn’t do very much writing boot camp. But today, I’ve just finished everything I wanted to finish this week and, at 1:30pm, seem to be twiddling my thumbs. I didn’t do any blog posts because I didn’t know what to write, but maybe had I done it when the rant caught me there might have been something to read!

So, what to do now? Well, I’m about to break for dinner (aka lunch, as it’s the middle of the day, sort of), and I have a hair appointment at 4:30pm. I should have gone to that last Friday, but when I hopped into my car, the battery was flat, and I had to move the appointment to this week instead.

Ah yes, that’s some of what we did at the weekend last. Because the poet managed to flatten his car battery at the Yorkshire Rock and Bike Show, and because I also had a flat battery less than a week later, we did go shopping for jump leads last Saturday. We also wanted to spend a bit of time together as he was about to abandon me for the best part of the week, so Saturday evening we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy at the pictures, and we had a lovely meal at Pizza Express

On Sunday we went to fish, but everywhere was full or there were matches on, so Sunday turned into a bit of a scenic drive.

This weekend we’re off to Birmingham for part of it, then we’ll decide what to do with the rest of it. 

So, what to do this afternoon? I think I’ll do some writing boot camp. What are you up to this weekend?

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Hey you! Yes, you at the back! Say hello!

I have no idea why, but Wednesday’s post seems to have been more popular than some of the previous ones as it was possibly shared and re-tweeted much more than any of my posts have ever been shared before. So, all you people at the back, before you read any further, nip on down to the bottom and say hi. No need to be shy, we’re very friendly here.

Have you done it? Go on, I’ll wait …

# tum ti tum ti tum ti tum …

Done it? There now, that didn’t hurt, did it?

So, what have I been up to this week?

Well, so far, without counting today, I’ve pitched for 24 new proofreading or editing jobs, including several regular gigs. I’ve also caught up a bit on the non-fiction editing – I’ve done author and proofreader revisions on a non-fiction book, I’ve edited an essay and I’ve been reviewing another non-fiction book that needed additional work doing to it.

I’ve written the walks report and submitted it to 6 local newspapers, and liaised with a couple of said newspapers, and I’ve caught up on the daily competitions. I’ve also been doing my own writer’s boot camp. I’m working on 5 short stories and have a couple of 1st drafts I want to have a look at.

And a big job I did yesterday was my first critical data backup in 9 months … I’ve done a lot of work in that 9 months, it would be awful if the computer crashed and I lost it all. That took a little longer than intended as it involved tidying up the hard drive anyway to make sure I wasn’t copying any duplicates or anything that really isn’t needed any more.

As part of that backup I found a load of old ebooks that I’ve not been able to read anywhere due to the archaic format. But I think I’ve managed to transfer the majority of those to my new Kindle Paperwhite. They’re all saved on there as “personal”, and if I delete them from the home page they also go from the collection(s) I put them in. But I think I can at least read them.

There are a couple of old magazines on there I’d like to read, Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen. I might try those first.

I still have today’s chores to do – daily competitions, surf for more work and pitch if necessary, invoices to raise (hurrah!), the notes section of a non-fiction to read through, today’s boot camp. And I think I have a hair appointment at 5pm-ish.

We’re having a bit of personal upheaval over the coming 4 weeks, so this weekend the poet and I are having some quality time together. I think we’re going fishing tomorrow, and we may go to the pictures on Sunday. We also have to head over to the other house to inspect it for new tenants and change the locks, but we may do that this evening.

So, y’all have a great weekend – tell us what you’re up to – and I’ll see you on Monday. 🙂

Camp NaNo Day 4

The sharp-eyed will, once again, notice that Baggins Bottom has had another bit of a facelift. Do let me know what you think of it in the comments below. I love the replies because they’re on crinkly paper.

It’s a bit of a flying visit for me today as my workload for the rest of the month just doubled, and we have a week away in the midst of it.

Camp NaNo has been going well for both of us. I haven’t done today’s yet, as I’ve been hanging washing out, emptying/filling the dishwasher, fetching the bins in, running errands – bit of shopping, paying rent money into bank, buying the biggest lemon on the planet – and I have another to go to at 4pm. So work’s being squeezed in between and NaNo will be done this evening again. (Little man will be updated then.)

I’ve been doing credit control this week, and one payment just arrived. Another is still late and has just had another reminder email sent back. The accounts clerk was on holiday until Tuesday, and that gives me 2 reasons to be concerned: 1. It’s a good job she hadn’t gone on holiday for a month; and 2. If she’s been back since Tuesday you’d think I might have had the courtesy of a reply …

Anyway, another invoice is about to go off to the same firm but, with plenty of work also coming in, I may not be able to do any more for them until they’ve paid what they owe. I really am starting to tire of people thinking I don’t need paying for the time and work I put in.

I pitched for a job last week, and apparently narrowly lost out to someone they awarded it to just as my pitch came in. However, that freelance has now taken quite seriously ill (I wish him a speedy recovery, but little wax dolls have come a very long way … 😉 ), how was my schedule fixed, and did I still want it? Naturally I said yes.

With this, a full-length book, and another that came in this week, plus one that came in last week, plus several author/proofreader revisions I need to check, I think that’s just about me done now for the month. Let’s hope they pay me, eh. 🙂

Here’s some feedback I also received: “Great work and fantastic communication. Highly recommended for editing and book writing assistance.” Five stars. 😀

Late this afternoon, then, I’m off for a hair appointment and the poet is helping a work colleague move house this evening, and we have NaNo. Tomorrow I’m not sure what we’re doing, but think it depends on weather and funds. Tomorrow evening we have a gig in Doncaster. And Sunday we’re off to the Tour de France, to watch from a hillside somewhere near Holmfirth. Apparently the roads are expected to be murder, but we have a friend’s drive to leave the car on within walking distance. But if the traffic is too bad, we may just go to the seaside instead.

Y’all have a great weekend.